Recently ended conflict (updated: February 2011)
After a decade of armed violence, in 2006 peace talks between the Seven Party Alliance and the Maoists led to the ousting of the country’s monarchy and a Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). The Maoists, who had been the primary rebel force during the conflict, were subsequently incorporated into the government. Since the signing of the CPA, the number of conflict-related deaths has steadily declined, with most reported deaths due to rebel activity in the Terai region. Although there continue to be reports of violence and human-rights abuses by the state or political actors, the majority of violence in Nepal is occurring in the Terai region and lacks a coherent political agenda. Nepal was removed from the ACR in 2010, when the number of deaths with an explicit political agenda fell well below 25.
Type of Conflict
Parties to the Conflict
Status of the Fighting
Number of Deaths
Economic and Social Factors
2010 Political deadlock continued to threaten the viability of the government throughout the year, but despite continued tension politically motivated incidents of violence continued to decline. After months of pressure from the Maoist opposition, Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal, of the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML), resigned in June; without a successor in place, the political deadlock confronting the government persisted for much of the year as 16 unsuccessful elections were held between July and November. This political stalemate had negative fiscal repercussions; the government had to operate on emergency funding for much of the year, which further threatened the government’s stability. Lingering concerns over previously unresolved disappearances, persistent torture crimes and lack of government accountability for prior human-rights abuses continued to fuel unrest. A major development in Nepal this year was the release of remaining combatants from rehabilitation. This final group of 3,000 child soldiers, former members of Maoist guerrilla forces, underwent rehabilitation and were released Feb. 8.
2009 The year started off with continued debate between the Maoist government and the Nepalese Army (NA) over the integration of former Maoist rebels into Nepal’s Army. Unable to reach an agreement, escalating tensions eventually led to the resignation of Maoist Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, alias Prachanda, on May 4th after a power struggle with President Ram Baran Yadav of the National Congress Party, over the firing of the NA’s chief. After Prachanda’s resignation, a 22-party coalition government headed by President Ram Baran Yadav and new Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal, of the Communist Party of Nepal – Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML), was formed. The rest of the year proved to be very unstable as relations between the new government and the Maoists continued to worsen. The end of the year brought about attempts by the Maoists to declare thirteen regions within Nepal independent states. Other rebel factions fighting for autonomy, mainly in the Terai region, continued to be active as well. Despite the country’s political instability, the number of conflict-related fatalities declined again this year, with 49 deaths having been reported. Progress was also made with an agreement signed by the UN and Maoists concerning the discharge of former Maoist child soldiers. Unfortunately these positive directions are threatened by escalating tensions between the government and the Maoists.
2008 The election for a constituent assembly in April 2008 was carried out in relative peace despite fears of extensive violence. The Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-M) received a vast majority of the votes in a surprise victory followed by Nepali Congress Party and the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist). Power sharing negotiations continued for months following the elections until July when Nepal’s governing assembly elected Ram Baran Yadav as the first president since abolishing its 239-year-old monarchy. Pushpa Kamal Dahal was named Nepal’s first Maoist Prime Minister and took office in August 2008. The government claimed to be tackling the issue of enforced disappearances, which remain a continuous problem within the country. Sporadic violence continues in Nepal although the estimated violence-related deaths in the country have decreased from the previous year. A heavily debated issue in 2008 was the future of the approximately 19,000 former Maoist combatants and their integration into the national army. The Maoist party supports their integration while all other parties reject such a process.
2007 Elections originally scheduled for June 2007 were postponed until April 2008 after the Maoists quit the coalition government over disputes surrounding the method through which King Gyanendra’s power should be eliminated. Insecurity is on the rise despite the 2006 peace accords after Madhesi peoples in the Tarai region clashed with Maosits in March, leaving around 130 dead. Although the death toll has declined since 2006, deaths that occurred in 2007 are the result of new hostilities as Madhesi supporters vie for an autonomous state. International analysts and human rights organizations have warned that a failure to diffuse the Madhesi insurgency may result in renewed destabilization and continued violence in the country.
2006 Co-operation between the Maoist rebels and the House of Representatives led to King Gyanendra’s power being stripped, and power being returned to the elected parliament. A cease-fire beginning in April lasted throughout the year, and allowed for peace negotiations to take place between the Maoists and the parliament, leading to an official end to the war in November and a return to democratic practices, which will include the Maoists. Before the implementation of the ceasefire, approximately 480 were killed.
2005 Fighting continued between Maoist rebels and the Royal Nepalese Army killing over 1,500 people. Meanwhile civil disobedience and general strikes repeatedly paralysed the country following King Gyanendra’s dismissal of the elected government. In September, opposition parties and Maoist rebels agreed on a common alliance in opposition to the monarchy.
2004 Mass strikes, riots, kidnappings, blockades, terrorist bombings and major clashes between Maoist rebels and government security forces contributed to the conflict this year resulting in thousands of deaths. Thousands more were injured and hundreds of thousands remain displaced. The King of Nepal controlled the government while opposition parties and donor agencies pushed for the restoration of democracy.
2003 A ceasefire between the government and Maoist rebels held for the first eight months of the year, leading to a decline in conflict-related deaths in 2003. However, due in part to the continued suspension of the democratically-elected government, the rebels withdrew from the ceasefire in August and both sides resumed fighting, resulting in the death of approximately 1,000 soldiers, rebels and civilians in less than five months.
2002 Fighting escalated dramatically as government and rebel forces launched frequent attacks which killed over 4,600 people, many of them civilians.
2001 Following the June massacre of the royal family Maoist rebels increased attacks, killing over 50 people, mostly police, in July. The new round of violence prompted the use of the army against the rebels for the first time. In late July, the newly-elected Prime Minister ordered an army ceasefire and called for dialogue with the rebels. The rebels agreed to peace talks in August but, by November, had broken the ceasefire and walked out on the talks.
2000 Insurgency spread to at least 35 of Nepal’s 75 districts in 2000 and grave human rights violations continued, committed both by the Nepalese police force and the Communist Party of Nepal (CPN). Over 1,000 people have been killed since the beginning of the conflict, 300 of them in 1999.
1. The Government of Nepal: Nepal is currently governed by a 22-party coalition government that came to power in May 2009, after the resignation of Maoist Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal (Prachanda). The coalition government is led by the centrist Community Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninism, CPN-UML). In June 2010, Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal (CPN-UML) resigned, leaving the government in crisis and political deadlock as 16 elections to find a new majority government failed. Throughout this crisis, President Ram Baran Yadav, supported by the National Congress Party (NC) remained in power. In February 2010, Jhalnath Khanal of the CPN-UML came into power as Prime Minister. The CPN-UML party follows the ideals of Marxist ideology.
2. Opposition Parties: Communist Party of Nepal – Maoist (CPN-M). The Maoist party held nearly 40% of seats in Nepal’s Parliament and fought to count that as a majority after 16 failed elections in 2010. It has yet to receive that recognition. Previously Nepal’s main armed rebel opposition, following the 2006 comprehensive peace agreement in 2008 the Maoists won a surprising election victory and took power as the government. The Maoists lost their position of power in May of 2009 when Prime Minister Prachanda abruptly resigned from his post. The Maoist’s soon, however, wanted to return to power and as a result of not being granted this request, they have begun declaring various regions within Nepal, autonomous states. Their aim is to set up a parallel government within these independent states.
3. Terai Armed Groups: A number of armed, extremist groups in the Madhesh region of Nepal continue to be active and responsible for violence. The principal Terai rebel group is the Janatantrik Terai Mukti Morcha (JTMM), which split from the CPN-M in 2004 under the leadership of Jay Krishna Goit. The Jwala Singh faction (JTMM-J) formed in 2006 when Nagendra Kumar Paswan (also known as Jwala Singh) split from the Goit-led group. The JTMM movements seek autonomy for the Terai region. Since 2007, dozens of other armed groups and factions have developed in Terai, and change with such frequency that it is difficult to track them. Most of the violence committed in the Terai region is done in the name of these groups; however, this violence lacks a coherent, overarching political agenda.
4. UN Mission in Nepal (UNMIN): UNMIN was established in 2007 to assist in monitoring the ceasefire agreement of 2006, as well as to assist with the election process. Their original term expired in January 2010, but was extended until May 15 2010, and yet once more when the deadlock began after Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Napel stepped down. UNMIN has now been extended till January 15, 2011 in order to ensure proper election procedure occurs.
2010 Overt political conflict in Nepal was extremely minimal during the year. Only one major political confrontation occurred in January with an assassination attempt on several Maoist officials. Three UCPN representatives where shot and killed and two injured as they left a dinner party. In response, further shutdowns of southern districts occurred through state of emergency decrees.
2009 Although overall violence decreased during 2009, Nepal’s political instability and inability to address security issues has culminated in the continuation of a culture of lawlessness. In 2009, most of the violence occurred in the Terai region where rebel groups are fighting for more rights and autonomy. However, various forms of violence were prevalent throughout Nepal’s other regions as well. The security of civilians was threatened by road blockades, violent armed attacks, killings, abductions and bombings. This violence was being perpetrated by several different rebel groups as well as groups with ties to existing political parties. The groups’ motives vary from fighting for their ethnic group’s autonomy, to fighting for political power. January of 2009 witnessed several bombings in different public places. One of these bombings took the life of one civilian. A group fighting for the autonomy of the Terai region in southern Nepal called the Terai Army, claimed responsibility for the attack as well as another string of bomb attacks that took place that month. Other bomb blasts that month, claimed by a previously unknown group; the Mahan Madhesh Janakantu Party, killed two more civilians. Between March 10th and April 10th, the country endured another ten deaths which, were caused by political violence perpetrated by various ethnic political groups as well as Maoist-affiliated groups. September proved to be another month of fatal violence with three more deaths occurring due to bomb attacks.
2008 Sporadic violence occurred, particularly in the Terai region of Nepal, which resulted some 81 deaths and an increased number of Internally Displaced Persons. During the April election, however, the anticipated violence was largely absent. Approximately 800 international observers participated in the elections which fostered a peaceful electoral process.
2007 Despite the signing of a comprehensive peace agreement in November 2006 and the arrival of United Nations disarmament observers, violence within Nepal has continued throughout the year. New outbreaks of fighting between the Madhesi peoples of the Tarai plains and Maoist supporters in March near the town of Guar left over 100 dead. The international community continues to condemn Maoist rebels who have reportedly reinstituted their recruitment of child soldiers. A United Nations demobilization program entered its second phase, with the collection of over 3500 weapons from the Maoist rebels. However, for the third time in less than a year the Maoists blocked UN inspections of their camps, fuelling reports of their involvement in increased abduction and enrolment of child soldiers. Further, villagers in rural areas continue to report intimidation and coercion from Maoist supporters that has in some cases escalated into cases of arbitrary beatings and forced abduction. In early 2008, Madhesi insurgents constructed a road block in the capital of Kathmandu, effectively eliminating the import of necessary commodities to the country’s capital.
2006 January saw the end of a three month cease-fire, with the Maoists aggressively attacking government targets. Intense fighting occurred between the rebels and the security forces from January to April. In March, the rebels imposed road blocks, inhibiting any traffic into the capital, Kathmandu. In April, the Maoists suspended the road block, and called a three month ceasefire, which the government agreed to. The cease-fire was extended for another three months in July, and yet again in October, resulting in a relatively peaceful year compared with those in the recent past. During the cease-fire, peace talks took place between the rebels and the government, resulting in a formal end to the decade-long war on November 21, 2006. The UN is to launch an arms monitoring operation in Nepal beginning on January 7, 2007.
2005 Intense fighting between Maoist rebels and government troops throughout the year resulted in hundreds of deaths on both sides. Human rights violations and the use of child soldiers by the rebels and the government continued. Thousands of people were arrested in a year-long crackdown by the government. Large pro-democracy demonstrations, general strikes and rebel blockades shut down the capital Kathmandu on multiple occasions. Violent vigilante groups armed by the government were also more active. Fighting decreased following a four month unilateral ceasefire declaration by the rebels in September.
2004 Intense fighting continued with major clashes between government security forces and Maoist rebels, as well as Maoist attacks on civilian targets. A government ambush of Maoists in March involved thousands of soldiers and resulted in hundreds of deaths. Rebels blockaded the capital of Kathmandu several times including a major blockade that almost entirely halted the flow of goods and people in and out of the city for several days. Maoist attacks on development and infrastructure projects resulted in millions of dollars in damages. The frequency of clashes increased during December.
2003 The intensity of fighting between Maoist rebels and government forces was low early in the year following a January ceasefire but a breakdown in negotiations in August led to a return of violence. The rebels continued the use of guerrilla tactics such as ambushes and bombing and antipersonnel mines were used by both sides. Both the rebels and security forces targeted civilians; the rebels attacking those deemed “enemies of the people”, including politicians and teachers, and government forces targeting those perceived to be supportive of the Maoist cause. A government initiative to create civil defence groups to fight the Maoists threatened to further draw the civilian population into the conflict. Aside from civilian casualties, the conflict also produced a significant number of both internally and externally displaced persons.
2002 Rebels and government forces clashed in frequent skirmishes with the most intense fighting related to proposed elections. Both sides were accused of destroying property, and killing and torturing civilians.
2001 Maoist rebels increased attacks after the June 1 massacre of the Nepalese royal family, most against remote police stations. The government response was to deploy the Nepalese army against the rebels for the first time since the uprising began in 1996.
2000 Armed insurgents continued to commit kidnappings, torture and killings. The police force took retaliatory measures (extrajudicial executions, torture, arbitrary arrests and detention). In response to the rise in insurgent attacks, the government of Nepal has increased the powers of the police to arrest and detain suspects and to deal with the insurgents.
Total: An estimated 13,000 to 14,000 people have died since the conflict erupted in 1996.
2010 Three people were reported killed this year.
2009 The death toll continued to decline, with a total of 49 conflict-related deaths reported during the year. The majority of victims have been civilian, with a reported 35 killed. One Security Force trooper and thirteen insurgents, including cadres from CPN-M and also rebels of different groups in the Terai region, lost their lives as well. Most of the deaths were caused by bomb blasts or targeted killings by rebel groups.
2008 The number of conflict-related deaths decreased in 2008 with at least 81 violence-related deaths reported. Despite the comprehensive peace agreement signed in 2006, violence continues to be a reality as civilian and militant deaths result from bombings and shootings within the country. Enforced disappearances remain a problem and the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist confirmed it was responsible for deaths related to a number of the enforced disappearances in 2008.
2007 More than 130 deaths were reported in 2007. The majority of these deaths involved civilians and Maoist rebels and occurred as the result of clashes with Madhesi protestors in the Tarai plains. Although this represents a decline from 2006, it also demonstrates a new source of unrest in the country.
2006 South Asia Terrorism Portal estimates there were approximately 480 deaths this year, the bulk of them occurring between January and April, before the cease-fire was declared. The majority of deaths were Maoist rebels (238), followed by a significant number or security forces (181), and a much smaller number of civilians (61).
2005 According to the Nepal-based Informal Sector Service Centre (INSEC) which carries out extensive investigations throughout Nepal, more than 1,500 people have been killed this year with roughly two-thirds of those killed by government troops and the rest by rebels.
2004 More than 2,700 people were killed in 2004. Conflicting reports about casualty numbers and the absence of reports on casualties from government assaults make an estimate of casualties difficult. The majority of the reported casualties were rebels, but a significant number of civilians and members of security forces were also killed.
2003 According to independent media reports, more than 1,800 rebels, government fighters and civilians were killed in 2003, with the vast majority of these deaths occurring following the August 27 collapse of the ceasefire agreement. Approximately 80 percent of all reported casualties occurred among rebel forces; however, due to the style of warfare being conducted and to the conflicting casualty reports, it is impossible to confirm the exact number of casualties.
2002 More than 4,500 people were killed in the conflict throughout 2002.
2001 According to media reports, more than 600 people were killed in rebel offensives in July. The majority of the dead were police officers stationed in remote outposts.
2000 According to a number of sources, approximately 400 people were killed in fighting during 2000.
2010 The tenuous political situation in Nepal had far-reaching effects on government administration. After months of pressure from the Maoist opposition, Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal of the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) resigned in June. President Ram Baran Yadav of the Nepali Congress (NC) remained in power. Without a successor in place, the political deadlock persisted for much of the year as 16 unsuccessful elections were held between July and November. With no party able to achieve a clear majority, the Maoists, with 40 per cent of the house, argued they should be put in charge. Former Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal’s attempts to resolve the political impasse failed, forcing the government to operate on emergency financial funding until November. Despite a fiscal year-end of July, a new budget was not passed until November. Further compounding governmental woes were concerns over constitutional obligations resulting from the 2006 peace agreement. While the May 2010 deadline was extended until May 2011, apprehension that this extension date would not be met lingered. The number of ex-rebel Maoist guerrilla forces requiring rehabilitation increased to 22,000, with approximately 3,000 of these being child soldiers, and as of February 2010, all had completed the rehabilitation process and were being released. Prime Minister Jhalnath Khanal of the (CPN-UML) was elected in February 2011.
2009 Political instability during the year focused on the disagreement between the Communist Party of Nepal – Maoist (CPN-M) and the other political parties, concerning the fate of the 19,000 ex-Maoist fighters of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), who have spent the past three years in UN-monitored camps. The CPN (M) wanted to have the ex-rebel fighters integrated into the Nepalese Army (NA), however, the NA resisted such actions, arguing that they have a policy to not recruit people with known political leanings and that the size of the army is already sufficient. On Jan. 15, a special committee was created to deal with these issues. The work of this special committee, which is comprised of members of the CPN (M), the Communist Party of Nepal- Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML), the Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (MJF) and the Nepali Congress (NC), is of high importance as Nepali’s peace process cannot be completed until the NA is democratized and the fighters of the PLA have been reintegrated in some capacity, into society. Uncooperative actions by both the Maoist government and the NA, led to increased tensions between the government, and the army and opposition parties. These actions ultimately resulted in the resignation of the Maoist Prime Minister, Pushpa Karmal Dahal, on May 4, after a power struggle with President Ram Baran Yadav of the National Congress Party, concerning the firing of the NA chief. Consequently, Madhav Kumar Nepal, of the CPN (UML), took over as Prime Minister on May 25, and is the incumbent leader of Nepal’s twenty-two party coalition. December brought with it positive progress in that the CPN (M) and the UN signed an action plan for the discharge of Maoist child rebels who had been kept in the UN-monitored camps since 2006. However, at the same time, as a result of not having been put back in power, the Maoists were aiming to set up a parallel government in Nepal with plans of declaring thirteen autonomous states. The hardening of positions by parties on both sides as a result of ongoing mistrust and frustration, will make reaching an agreement on different vital aspects of the peace accord even more difficult. Not surprisingly, the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN), which renewed its term in January and June of 2009, has extended its term in Nepal for another four months, and will thus be in the country during this crucial period leading up to the promulgation of Nepal’s new constitution on May 28, 2010.
2008 In the April 10 elections, which domestic and international observers accepted as being legitimate, the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-M or Maoists) won a majority of seats in the Constituent Assembly (CA). Soon after being sworn in on May 27, the CA abolished monarchy and proclaimed the country a federal democratic republic; on June 11, King Gyanendra moved out of the Narayanhiti Palace. On July 23, Ram Baran Yadav became president and Pramananda Jha vice president. Earlier in the year, the government had moved towards allowing an autonomous Terai region and in October it proposed peace talks with rebel groups in the region but few groups responded and at year’s end, the armed struggle for control in Terai continued.
2007 Following the November 2006 peace agreement, on Jan. 15, 2007 an interim constitution came into force, paving the way for Maoists to join the country’s Interim Parliament and to officially become part of the Government. However, elections that were originally scheduled for June 2007 were postponed to April 2008 after the ruling coalition government failed to break political deadlock with Maoist rebels. Maoists quit the coalition government in September after the other parties did not agree to abolish the monarchy without a vote. On a separate political front, the Madhesi people continued their struggle for a federalist Nepal and asserted their demand for an autonomous Madhesi state. A 22-point peace agreement was signed in August between the Madhesi Janadhikar Forum and the government that promised a federalist system with autonomous states. However, the agreement has failed to stop unrest as Madhesi protests continued along with violent clashes with other activist groups, Maoists and government forces. The government has embarked on establishing a truth and reconciliation commission modeled after that of South Africa, while the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, has asserted that a truth and reconciliation commission should not serve as a substation for prosecution of those involved in atrocities. International analysts warn that a disregard for Madhesi demands could jeopardize the 2008 elections and may further inhibit the peace process, ultimately forcing the country into renewed violence and destabilization.
2006 King Gyanendra called municipal elections for February 8 which were boycotted by the Maoist rebels. Voter turn-out was only twenty percent and the results were eventually revoked by the House of Representatives. In April, the Seven Party Alliance (SPA) and the rebels reached an agreement to work together to oust the King. Following a three week road block into the capital city and a four day general strike that shut down the entire country, Gyanendra announced he would hand political power back to the SPA and the House of Representatives. The House passed a proposal depriving the King of his power to veto laws in the legislature, removing his legal immunity from paying taxes, and stripping him of his position of Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Nepalese Army. Peace talks between the SPA and the Maoists resulted in a formal end to the war in November. The agreement included plans to convert the existing House of Representatives to a larger interim parliament that would include seventy-three Maoist members, with plans to hold official elections that would include the Maoists in June 2007. An interim constitution was drawn up and will come into affect January 15, 2007.
2005 In February Nepal’s King Gyanendra led a coup d’etat to create an absolute monarchy backed by his 78,000 strong Royal Nepalese Army and launched a violent crackdown on opponents. In response, opposition parties organized several massive pro-democracy demonstrations and nation-wide general strikes. Towards the end of the year, the Seven Party Alliance (SPA) representing Nepal’s ousted political parties and the Maoist rebels agreed to a common front against the monarchy. The Maoist rebels agreed to support multi-party democracy putting aside their demand for a communist republic and in September announced a three-month unilateral ceasefire. All parties agreed to boycott local and parliamentary elections announced by King Gyanendra for February 2006 and April 2007 respectively.
2004 The rebels offered to hold talks with the king under international oversight but the government indicated that only the Prime Minister would negotiate based on guarantees of success. In addition to the violence, thousands of Nepali citizens were kidnapped by the Maoists. Most were released after attending “re-education” programs or Maoist celebrations but some as young as 15 were forced to work or serve with the Maoists. The Nepalese Prime Minister’s talks in India led to an Indian pledge to train and support the Nepali security forces in their fight against the Maoist rebels. Meanwhile, donors failed to agree on an aid package for Nepal, citing the violence and the King’s reluctance to hold elections as reasons, and several hundred thousand Nepali citizens remained displaced.
2003 A ceasefire agreement signed by the government and the Maoist rebels in January endured until August, in spite of occasional outbreaks of violence. The commencement of the ceasefire coincided with the government’s decision to remove the terrorist label from the rebel group, which was reapplied following its collapse. The rebels cited the government forces’ continued activity and a lack of political reform as justification for their formal resumption of hostilities. In June, King Gyanendra appointed Surya Bahadur Thapa as Prime Minister following the resignation of Lokendra Bahadur Chand. The main political opposition to the government came from five parties that formed a common front. The five parties – Nepali Congress (NC), Unified Marxist Leninist (UML), Nepal Workers and Peasants Party (NWPP), People’s Front (PF) and Nepal Sadbhavana Party (NSP-Anandi Devi) – opposed the monarchy’s interference with parliament and refused to participate in talks between the rebels and the government, due to their allegation that the appointed government was unconstitutional. In May the US State Department added the Nepalese Maoist Party to its terrorist watch list.
2002 In October, due to escalating fighting, King Gyanendra dismissed the prime minister, assumed full executive powers and indefinitely postponed elections. In November, the King appointed Lokendra Bahadur Chand as leader of the interim government. The state of emergency called in August was allowed to lapse although the government continued to employ the army to counteract rebel attacks. A rebel call for peace in October was ineffectual, failing to put an end to the violence or the food grain shortages caused by rebel and army blockades.
2001 In July the Nepalese Prime Minister deployed army units against the rebels for the first time
although soon after the newly-elected Nepalese Prime Minister ordered a government ceasefire and called for dialogue. The rebels responded in kind and in August they agreed to meet with government officials for peace talks. However, by November, the rebels had decided to walk out on peace talks and to break the ceasefire.
2000 In March, prime minister Girja Koirala regained power, replacing Krishna Prasad Bhattarai. Since his return, Koirala has advocated a hardline approach and an armed solution to the conflict.
After two-centuries of hereditary rule by a small elite at the top of Nepal’s complex ethnic and caste-based social hierarchy, the establishment of a multiparty democracy in Nepal in 1990 as well as a new constitution, brought expectations of increased human rights protections, stability and development. Despite some improvements, however, there was little progress in bringing existing legal and administrative provisions fully in line with international standards and principles enshrined in the constitution which set up a parliamentary constitutional monarchy.
On Feb. 13, 1996, the “People’s war” was declared by the Communist Party of Nepal –Maoist (CPN-M) against the Nepalese government with the main goal of establishing a republican state. Human rights violations by both the government security forces and CPN members were reported on a daily basis. After the mid-2001 massacre of the royal family, violence escalated and the government brought in the army in addition to national police forces to fight the rebels.
In late 2002, King Gyanendra dissolved Nepal’s elected government—purportedly in order to bring about stability—postponed elections indefinitely and assumed de facto control of the state. These actions and the lack of political reform further alienated the Maoist rebels and the political opposition from the Nepalese government. Power was returned to the House of Representatives in 2003, but once again removed in 2005, when Gyanendra claimed the elected parliament had been proven unable to deal with the Maoist insurgency.
In 2006, Gyanendra announced he would hand political power back to the Seven Party Alliance (SPA) and the House of Representatives. The House passed a proposal depriving the King of his power to veto laws in the legislature, removing his legal immunity from paying taxes, and stripping him of his position of Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Nepalese Army. Peace talks between the SPA and the Maoists resulted in a formal end to the war in November 2006 and opened the way for the United Nations to establish the UN Mission in Nepal (UNMIN), which assisted in monitoring the ceasefire agreement and support the election process. Elections were scheduled for June 2007 but were delayed until 2008 after political parties and Maoist rebels failed to reach an agreement over a new electoral system and the fate of the monarchy. In addition, throughout 2007m Madhesi protestors in the Tarai region repeatedly clashed with government and Maoist forces and are asserting their right to an autonomous state. Analysts have warned that a failure to acknowledge and diffuse this issue could effectively undermine the 2006 peace accords.
Elections were held April 11, 2008. The Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-M) received a vast majority of the votes in a surprise victory followed by Nepali Congress Party and the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist). Power-sharing negotiations continued for months after the elections until July when Nepal’s governing assembly elected Ram Baran Yadav as the first president since abolishing its 239-year-old monarchy. Pushpa Kamal Dahal was named Nepal’s first Maoist Prime Minister and took office in August 2008. In 2009, a 22-party coalition government was formed by, at the time, Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal and President Ram Baran Yadav. Concerns continued surrounding the unresolved disappearances, persistent torture crimes and lack of government accountability for prior human rights violations. Although political conflict has ended there is still a great deal of unrest among the citizens.
India, the United States and the United Kingdom have supplied military equipment to the Royal Nepalese Army and the Armed Police Force, as well as training to Nepalese soldiers in counter-insurgency measures. China, Israel, Belgium, South Africa, Poland, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and France also supply military support to the government. In 2005, following King Gyanendra’s coup, both India and the UK suspended military aid to Nepal for a brief period of time but later both countries resumed arms shipments. The United States also postponed the shipment of “lethal arms” to Nepal. By the end of the year U.S. shipments had not resumed.
The rebel groups use homemade weapons and explosives or steal weapons from the police and the army. Kashmiri rebels and other Indian rebel groups and illegal arms dealers have also been accused of supplying the Maoists with arms. Although both the Nepalese government forces and the rebels have been using antipersonnel landmines for several years, the government has confirmed that it is now a producer of such mines.
Economic and social factors have played a significant role in fuelling the conflict. Nepal is a country marked by extreme poverty and socioeconomic inequality. Power and wealth remains concentrated in the hands of a ruling minority at the top of a social hierarchy determined by ethnicity and caste. The population has become frustrated with the harsh realities of poverty and limited economic reform by the government. Overall, the lack of political and socioeconomic progress since democracy replaced the absolute monarchy in 1990 has fed popular discontent. Most observers see the emergence of the Maoist rebels as a consequence of extreme poverty combined with government oppression.
Political instability in Nepal in 2010 negatively impacted fiscal matters. The resignation of the prime minister in June delayed the July preparation of a new budget, leaving the country operating with emergency funds of NRS 8-9 billion in treasury until November 19 when the budget was finally passed by Nepal’s President Ram Baran Yadav, who remained in power. Concerns over the length of time and overall effect this had on Nepal prevailed until November.
Lack of social and socioeconomic progress has also promoted discontent amongst the Madhesi people, leading to ongoing outbreaks of violence in the Terai region.
map: CIA Factbook