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FES Nepal in the Press 2013


Leaders rue as ideology takes a backseat <Top>

By A Staff Reporter
Kathmandu, Dec 24: Political leaders Tuesday lamented the lack of internal democracy in the Nepalese political parties, which they said, caused intra-party conflict and slowed down democratization process of the society.

They were unanimous that ideology had taken a backseat as the elements of globalization, identity politics and juggernaut of mass media weakened the parties' traditional role.

"The leadership development is key to promoting inner party democracy and constant dialogue among the parties is necessary to minimize inter and intra-party contradictions," they said at a seminar entitled ' Building Inner Party Democracy in Nepal' jointly organized by Centre for Legal Consultancy and Research (CeLCAR) and FES, Nepal office.

CPN-UML leader K P Sharma Oli said that there could not be proper leadership development because of a tendency to promote leaders on the factional line.

"The politics of equation that a handful of leaders resorted to within the party since the establishment of Communist Party of Nepal has scuttled the leadership development," said Oli, adding that the founding general secretary of CPN Pushpa Lal was the victim of this tendency. "Those believing in conspiracy were always up in arms to sideline Pushpa Lal."

"Now, it is idea, not ideology that has taken precedence. The political parties should prove their mettle in the management of diverse social interests. The intra-party conflicts need to be resolved within the broader interests of the people and the nation," said Oli.

The influential UML leader said that the recent Constituent Assembly election had rejected the politics of ethnicity and gave a thumping victory to the mainstream parties that run on the basis of ideology.

Another UML leader Pradeep Gyawali said that the parties were formed on the basis of class. He noted that Nepalese parties were born on the basis of ideology, not on the real social and economic grounds.

"The parties' role has been shrunk with blow of the wind of postmodernism that seeks to deconstruct centre, and with the rise of culture of consumerism and utilitarianism," he said.

FES, head Dev Raj Dahal said that the consciousness of Nepalese citizens about their democratic rights was disproportionately higher than the public duties they perform.

"Ego-inflation has generated the possibility of conflict at leadership level than healing this post-conflict society and exposed the leaders to quarrel over defining consensus over geopolitical, public interest, power equation and broader societal terms. "In order to promote inner democracy, the social base of politics must be bolstered and party structures at all levels must be democratized and made effective in performing key political functions."

Political scientist Lal Babu Yadav, who chaired the first session of the seminar, called for promoting national identity of the country. Yadav said that the mini identities, demanded by Madhesi, women and Dalits, would subvert the national identity.

Political analyst Purshotam Dahal said that the beauty of democracy was that embraced the voices of opponents.

CeLCAR chairman Hikmat Karki said that the interactions on inner democracy had positive impacts on the political parties.

Nepali Congress leader N P Saud and Bhesh Raj Adhikari also presented their working papers. UML leader Yogesh Bhattarai and former president of Nepal Student Association Guru Raj Ghimire commented their papers.

Source: The Rising Nepal (25 December 2013)


End Prolonged transition: Leaders <Top>

By A Staff Reporter
Kathmandu, Dec 23: Leaders from different political parties Monday said that the prolonged transition should be ended as early as possible in order to pave the way for the political stability and economic revolution.

Speaking at a national seminar, they were for respecting the recent people's mandate and writing the new statute on the basis of consensus and collaboration.

NC senior leader Sher Bhadur Deuba said that the transition period needed to be concluded at the earliest.

"We need a permanent constitution. Liberty is the heart of democracy that ensures people's sovereignty and the rights of the marginalized people," said Deuba.

He said that the new statute should be drafted on the basis of consensus, and all parties should be represented in the new Constituent Assembly. "The statute cannot be written by keeping some parties out of the CA."

Deuba said that it had become urgent to stop the flight of youth towards foreign countries for employment.

Recent study has shown that around 100,000 megawatt of electricity could be generated in Nepal, he said and added that the country could see prosperity by harnessing its immense hydro power potential.

NC leader Dr Narayan Khadka said that there should be interactions between the applied and theoretical sides of democracy.

"Nepal has been a fertile land for the political experiments for many years. If we fail to change our mindset and culture, the transition is unlikely to be over even after writing the new statute," he added.

CPN-UML leader Bhim Rawal said that the nature of loktantra varied according to the social-economic conditions of the countries.

He said that the parties had no right to prolong transition, and the federal set-up should be carved out in a way that would ensure the national identity of the country. "The UCPN-M should respect the people's verdict. If the parties fail to submit the list of the proportional representation candidates by deadline, it will be tantamount to a disregard for the people's mandate."

UCPN-M politburo member Devendra Poudel said that the people had asked the political parties to move ahead as per consensus and collaboration.

"We need to develop culture of running the country based on consensus. We must be able to find middle path to end transition and bring about economic revolution so that the opportunities of education and employment could be created for the youth," said Poudel.

Dev Raj Dahal, Head, FES Nepal, said that Nepal's transition was multiple and complex and it would continue as long as leaders did not invent a system to stabilize the behavioral expectations of the state and its citizens.

Calling for striking balance between universal interests of democracy and particular interests of parties, he said, "Nepal's urgent need is to build an efficient state capable to subdue chaos. The constitution, without a sovereign state commanding general will, simply becomes unenforceable."

On the role of youths, he said that they needed to construct a political project and build discursive bridges between different life-worlds of gender, ethnic, caste, religion and region, and integrate the diverse sub-cultures into national political system through reformist means."

Chairman of School of Democracy Nain Singh Mahar said that there would have been right application of ideologies if their propounders themselves had implemented them.

"A whole generation wasted their life in political transition and conflict. If the transition continues, the new generation will not be able to see the country in stability and peace," he said, and urged the politicians to rise above petty interests.

Guru Raj Ghimire, Thakur Gaire and Dr Uddhav Raj Pyakurel had presented their working papers at the seminar entitled 'Transitional Politics, the Youth and the CA' jointly organized by the School of Democracy and Friedrick Ebert Stiftung, Nepal office.

Source: The Rising Nepal (24 December 2013)


Political will a must to implement administrative reforms <Top>


By A Staff Reporter
Kathmandu, Dec 22: The Administrative Reform Recommendation Committee (ADRC) has reached a final stage to prepare its report to be submitted to the government.

The committee coordinator Kashi Raj Dahal Sunday said that it was working to give a finishing touch on the report that will recommend the government for making bureaucracy effective, efficient and accountable to the public.

Dahal said that the report would contain 23 chapters with modest suggestions to reform the administrative sector.

"The constitution should clearly spell out about the norms of bureaucracy and contents of democracy. It must have provisions specifying the foreign and security policy, local government and the number of the ministries," he said at an interaction organized by the committee to solicit the views of senior ex and incumbent bureaucrats.

They put forth their opinions on the management of civil servants under the new federal set-up, the role of Office of Prime Minister and implementation of the reports prepared so far for the administrative reform.

Dahal, also chairman of Administrative Court, said that the executive parliament should have the right to decide the number of the ministries. "The report will not recommend ambitious agenda but the modest ones that can be implemented to make our administrative procedures pragmatic and efficient."

Chief Secretary Lila Mani Poudel said that reform measures could be implemented at any time and any place. "It is naivety that the administrative measures could be applied only if there is a stable government in the country. We should not hunt for ideal bureaucracy. Even small changes send a positive message to the public," he said.

Poudel said that there should be the assessment of the performance of secretaries so that the bureaucracy would be result-oriented and responsive to the service seekers.

He said that the job guarantee of the civil servants had also affected their efficiency.

Former chief commissioner of the Commission of the Investigation of Abuse of Authority Surya Nath Upadhyay said that the PM office should focus on devising the foreign and security policies. It should appoint specialists for the purpose.

"The new statute should mention the federal structure of the administration so that it will be easily implemented in the future. A powerful mechanism needs to be formed to address the problems that are likely to arise during the transition," he said.

Former chairman of Public Service Commission Tirtha Man Shakya said that transfer and promotion of the employees had been a key problem in the administration. Shakya suggested that the concerned ministries should be authorized to deal with the matters relating to the transfer and promotion.

Former chief Election Commissioner Surya Prasad Shrestha said that political will, stability and strong leadership were prerequisites to carry out administrative reforms. We should also evaluate the implementation of the past reports on the administrative reforms.

Dev Raj Dahal, Head of Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Nepal Office, said that the centre must be strong enough for the effective service delivery. "When the centrifugal forces become active, it becomes difficult to ensure law and order."

Dahal said that now the onus of strengthening democracy and nationality lay with bureaucracy. "If democracy is lost, it can be regained. But, when we lose our nationality, we can not take it back."

He suggested that the PM office should mediate between bureaucracy and the politicians.


A host of former bureaucrats Bimal Wagle, Umesh Mainali, Govinda Kushum Shrestha, Madhuraman Acharya, Tana Gautam, Bal Krishna Prasai and Bharat Thapa also expressed their views at the function.

Source: The Rising Nepal (23 December 2013)


Call for structural changes to end GBV <Top>


By A Staff Reporter
Kathmandu, Dec 19: Experts and women rights activist Thursday called for structural changes to bring an end to widespread violence and discrimination against women.

They underlined the need for decentralizing power and increasing access to resources to ensure women's equal position in the society.

They expressed their views at a national consultative workshop on 'Gender Based Violence (GBV) in Nepal,' organised by Friedrick Ebert Stiftung (FES) office here.

Chairman of the Administrative Court Kashi Raj Dahal underlined the need of changing the existing social structure and implementing the prevalent laws and regulations to end violence against women.

"We have to promote civic education. We should teach children to be good citizens that will help create an equitable and fair society," he added.

FES office, Nepal head Dev Raj Dahal said that women needed to increase their reflective capacity to secure their rights. "We should maximise our indigenous knowledge and promote the Vedic culture that provides intellectual insights and power to grant equal right to women. The state needs to be strengthened and the laws rationalized to ensure justice to the victims."

Nepal Police spokesman Ganesh KC said that his organisation was sensitive and committed to responding to cases of gender violence. He stressed on women's access to the economy and education to lessen violence against them.

UML woman leader Binda Pandey said that the question of woman identity had become a burning issue now. "Women are not in a position to grant identity to her children. As a result, they have to face myriad discriminations in the society."

Pandey said that women, who were active in politics, suffered from political violence, too.

"For example, the major political parties did not field 33 per cent women candidates in the recent first-past-the-post Constituent Assembly polls although there is a constitutional provision to do so. This resulted in a few of women being elected to the new CA. When we asked the party leaders to pick more women under the proportional representation (PR) system to make up for the loss in the direct polls, the male leaders accuse us of trying to snatch their PR share. Now it seems that all - the government, the political parties and the Election Commission - are in league to stop women from reaching rhe decision-making level."

Woman activist Bandana Rana shared her personal feelings with regard to gender disparity and her involvement in the women rights campaign.

"When I went though through menstruation and I had to live in isolation during the period. I had to face discrimination. This developed in me an inferiority complex. The very practice impels girls to regard men to be stronger and women weaker," she said.

Another women rights activist Babita Basnet urged journalists not to romanticize violence against women. "Women's tears are not for sale." On the increasing number of cases of rape and physical violence against women that have found space in the media, she said that it did not mean that incidents of gender violence had risen but that more and more victims were coming out of the woodwork.

Citing a recent report, journalist Arati Chataut said that domestic violence had been a prime cause behind the death of women aged 19-44 in the world.

"One out of three women suffers from violence. Every female faces one or another form of violence in her life," she said and called for decentralisation of power to end gender violence.

Dhana Bahadur Oli of the SAARC Secretariat and advocate Rup Narayan Shrestha also expressed their views at the function. The Gender Department head at the FES Samira Paudel highlighted the objective of the programme that drew different stakeholders to the function.

Source: The Rising Nepal (20 December 2013)


Strengthen state institutions for effective delivery: Experts <Top>

By A Staff Reporter
Kathmandu, Dec 4: Political scientists and experts Wednesday called for strengthening the state institutions in order to deliver the goods to the people effectively and save the nation from sliding into a failed state.

They concurred that the prolonged transition had put the state in the receiving end with the non-state actors adding burden on the already ramshackle system. They were, however, optimistic that the recent Constituent Assembly polls that gave a thumping victory to the moderate forces would help the county chart out the right political and economic courses.

They shared their views at a seminar 'Strategy for strengthening state institutions in Nepal' organised by Nepal Foundation for Advanced Studies (NEFAS) in collaboration with the FES, Nepal in the capital.

The speakers in the podium and the participants from floor lamented that neo-liberal market economy that the past governments followed blindly destroyed the public institutions and concept of the welfare state.

"It has been already late to assert the role of the state and revamp its institutions. The politicians, academics, private sector and civil society should work together to reinvent the state and awaken the citizens for the broader cause of the nation," they said.

FES, Nepal head Dev Raj Dahal said that Nepal's successive government since 1991 pursued neo-liberal ideology to delink the public economy and civil society from the state's institutions, abandoned the role of national parliament as an arbiter of public policy and weakened the power of Nepali peasants and workers by cutting subsidies to them.

"It marked the decline of Nepali state' autonomy from the dominant interest groups of society, control over population and policy sovereignty. In clear policy term, it was a deviation from the historically defined 'golden mean' between the welfare politics and the capacity of the Nepali state to produce and distributes public goods."

NEFAS Executive Director Ananda Shrestha said that the Nepali voters in no uncertain terms had demonstrated their political maturity and they would no longer be taken for granted.

"But, as has been the general practice, this is not the time for winners to rest content on their laurels, neither is it the time for the losers to bicker, complain and doubt the polls results," he said, adding that the people had been desperately waiting for the new statute and the conclusion of the peace process and the parties should jointly complete these historic tasks.

Political scientist Ananda Aditya said that with the onslaught of privatization, liberalization and globalization, the state lost its vitality. "The spoilers have hijacked the agenda from the state while the politicians put it in their captivity," he said.

At the seminar, Dr Ram Kumar Dahal and Dr Ved Raj Acharya presented their working papers 'strategy for strengthening state institution in Nepal: Political perspective' and 'Strategy for strengthening state institution in Nepal: Economic perspective' respectively.

Experts, university teachers, students, entrepreneurs, political leaders, media persons and professionals had participated in the seminar.

Source: The Rising Nepal (5 December 2013)


Civil society should watchdog parties <Top>

By A Staff Reporter

Kathmandu, Dec 2: Experts and civil society members Monday underlined the need to draw a boundary line between the civil society and the political parties.

While emphasizing their interface between thee civil society and the parties for the broader cause, they were unanimous to state that the civil society should constantly watchdog the political parties to check their possible deviation from common goals. They also stressed not letting the dark shadow of politics fall on the domain of civil society.

They were sharing their views at a seminar entitled 'the interface between civil society and political parties in Nepal' jointly organized by Tanka Prasad Acharya Memorial Academy and FES, Nepal here on the occasion of the birth anniversary of late Tanka Prasad Acharya.

The participants said that the synergic relation between the civil society and parties had brought greater changes in Nepal. They appreciated late Tanka Prasad Acharya for his pioneering role to spearhead the civil and political movement in Nepal.

Former chairman of Constitutional Committee in the erstwhile Constituent Assembly Nilambar Acharya said that the civil society should play its greater role when the society was deprived of basic freedom and other democratic rights. "Late Tanka Prasad Acharya led civic and political campaign when the Nepali society was virtually in dark period."

He said that civil society came to the scene when the society faced crisis. "There is no reason to be pessimistic about the role of civil society. It is going strong with each passing year."

Acharya said that civil society should reflect diversity and see the things with a broader perspective.

Human rights activist Sushil Pyakurel was a bit critical about the role of civil society. He said that it failed to intervene as the first CA was dissolved without writing the new constitution.
"The political parties are obsessed with power game but the civil society works for people's empowerment and creates a base for the parties," he said.

He reminded that late Tanka Prasad Acharya played a role to provide a space for the parties to come together in the run-up to the people's movement in 1990.

FES, Nepal head Dev Raj Dahal said that civil society as an embodiment of reason, faith and feeling must instill historical awareness among the party leaders to respond to the changing aspirations of Nepali citizens and reform the tendency of politics to confine to personal, family, private and privileged interests. "This helps political parties to strengthen the social base of the politics and avert the inclination of extra-constitutional participation of non-state armed actors and extra-parliamentary formation of caucus politics."

Dahal emphasized that the civil society should broaden the binary code of politics steered by friend and foe and aim for a new social contract, a workable constitution owned by all citizens.

Tanka Prasad Acharya Memorial Academy chairman professor Som Prasad Gauchan said that the civil society in Nepal failed to contribute to the socio-economic changes. "We did not witness the effective role of civil society in the recent second CA poll when the CPN-M enforced banda and caused disruptions to foil the polls. Rather, it is the people, who acted the role of civil society with their higher turnout on the polling day and wiser decision of choosing the moderate forces through ballot."

Naresh Rimal, Roshan Pokharel and Laxmi Karki had presented their working on the half-day seminar.

Source: The Rising Nepal (4 December 2013)


Capacity Building of Economy Needed <Top>

Bodhini, Siddarthnagar

In the neighboring town Krishna Nagar at Muslim Community Center Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung organized a two-day national seminar on the "Role of Civic Education in Building Modern State," in which Nepal's senior journalists, sociologists, educationists and lawyers were engaged. In the first day of the two-day seminar constitutional expert and chairman of Administrative Reform Commission of Nepal Kashi Raj Dahal presenting his paper said that to transform democratic theory into practice civic education and knowledge about democratic institutions and constitution is essential. Since democracy is a responsive rule, it rejects the tyranny of majority. He said that since consciousness has been circulated among the people despite non-promulgation of constitution there is no instability, turmoil and the spread of violence. Changing the theme he said that the mandate of drafting constitution was only two years in the past but political parties without caring national sentiments extended its tenure. They should have based their verdict on the decision of public opinion. We have to protect the system from the parties' such tendency. There was speculation that there will be 60 to 70 political parties in the country but now there are 130 political parties contesting the election with Swastika symbol marking the ballot paper in the next CA election. Constitution alone is insufficient until economy remains weak. Explaining the figure he said that the contribution of tax to GDP is only 12 percent. 30 percent contribution to GDP comes from the remittance sent by 3.2million workers abroad. We have also to think about the food security of those other 30 percent below poverty line.

Senior journalist Yubaraj Ghimire said, "Nepal is one of the oldest sovereign nation-state of the world. But it became weak because power is monopolized by ruling classes creating excessive corruption, poverty and neo-patrimonial political culture. There is competition in violence which is eroding policy sovereignty of the nation. Absence of constitutionalism marks an atrophy of civic political culture. We have to solve these problems through the concept of active citizenship." Mr. Ghimire said that social state and people-centered politics can lead the country to development. In the seminar Professor of Tribhuvan University, Chief Custom Officer Narayan Prasad Sapkota, Shankar Prasad Pokhrel, Abhaya Pratap Shah also shared their views. They seriously discussed about citizens' role in family, society, the nation as well as their international obligation, education and empowerment.

In the seminar Resham Lal Gaire, Dinesh Chandra Gupta, Sushil Srivastava, Bhramananda Upahayaya, Dr. Anwar Ahmad, Kifayatullah, Jyotirmaya Srivastava, Shailendra Srivastava, Jaya Prakash Chaudhary, Bishhu Kanchal, Sharashwoti Garga, Bina Agrawal, Nirupama Giri and Kalpana where huge number of intellectuals took part.

Source: National Sahara- Hindi (29 September 2013) Gorakhpur, India


Civic Education is essential to restrain political distortion-says Constitutional Expert Dahal <Top>

Dashrath Ghimire

Deukhuri, September 27

Personalities engaged in politics since long time, newly entrants in politics, women rights' activists and civil society of Deukhuri for the first time gathered in one place. They were gathered not to listen the speeches or electoral campaign of political leaders. They were gathered to discuss about the role of civic education in building modern state.

"Every citizens has a vision of modern state and dreams of it. I am here to discuss and explore its possibility and challenges," said Gangaram Bhattarai of Rastriya Janamorcha Party. "Every citizen should know what they can do for the country." In the program over 150 participants appeared. During the inauguration function Constitutional expert Kashi Raj Dahal said that due to political distortion it has become difficult to build modern state based on constitutional principles. In order to control the ongoing political atrophy civic education is a must. Speaking on the occasion of two-day seminar he said that the country's backwardness can be attributed to politicization of crime and criminalization of politics. So long as such problems persist it would be difficult to modernize our society. He said, "There is an erosion of every aspects of lives along with politics. Administration, politics, society and economy are not immune from this disease. Reforms are needed in these sectors and active citizenship should be promoted through civic education who can serve as watchdog of society. He said that those engages in these realms should imbibe public morality, not pursue selfish interests only. In the program organized by Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) Dahal said reforms are needed in all sectors of public life in Nepal.

Presenting his paper Prof. Dev raj Dahal said that due to passiveness of citizens towards the state we have not been able to create a modern state. He said civic spirit is declining and weakening citizens' attachment to the state. As a result, non-state actors, inter alia, become stronger than the state which is creating an impediment to building modern state in Nepal based on civic spirit of reciprocity.

Source: Yugbod National Daily (27 September 2013)


Seminar on Civic Education <Top>

Palpa, September 15

Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung has begun two-day seminar at Tansen, Palpa on "The Role of Civic Education on Building Modern State." Head of FES Dev Raj Dahal highlighted the importance of the program, diversity of Nepali society undergoing change and the need for social development. Chief Guest Shiva Raj Joshi, Chief District Officer of Palpa, said that citizens have to be informed and honest in building the Nepali state through democratic process. Senior Constitutional Expert and former Secretary of Law and Justice Kashi raj Dahal said that there is erosion of morality in the public and therefore the concept of good governance has become weak recently. He narrated the duty of citizens to the state.

The participants in the programs lodged many questions about the internal and external causes that impinge on state building. They asked what sources of foreign meddling and intervention are and suggested the need for death penalty, identification of the nation's geography, economic resources, 33 percent reservation for women, etc. Dr. Savana Sharma of United Mission Hospital chaired the session while intellectual Normal Shrestha moderated the programs.

Participants also identified the need to spread civic education in rural areas of the country.

Source: Janachetana Daily (15 September 2013)


Civic Journalism Training Kicks Off Pokhara <Top>

Pokhara

Two-day civic journalism training has began in Pokhara. The training was designed to build the capacity of working journalists of Gandaki and Dhaulagiri engaged in print and electronic fields so that they can report about civic issues faced by citizens. The program was jointly organized by Gandaki branch of Nepal Federation of Journalists and National Media Development Center and supported by Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES). 20 journalists from Kaski, Tanahu, Baglung and Parvat attended the meeting.

The training focused on civic journalism, civic education, working national and international condition of journalists, code of conduct, media and laws, etc. In the training that will run until Saturday resource persons such as constitutional expert Kashi Raj Dahal, former secretary-general of Nepal Federation of Jouranlist Mahendra Bisht, Prof. of Thribhuvan University Dev Raj Dahal, former representative of Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Dr. Erfried Adam facilitated the training. In the inaugural functions speakers stated that civic journalism in the media is important to educate and empower citizens.

As citizens are demanding only rights and not performing duties in the present context, the journalists should seek a balance between the two by informing the citizens. “Rights and duties are the two parts of the same coin,” said Narayan Karki, former president of Federation of Nepalese Journalists (FNJ) of Kaski district . Those who seek rights must be reminded of duties as well. Kashi Raj Dahal said that erosion of the accountability system of the state has bred a culture of impunity. In this context media should steer the society in direction. Former Vice-President of FNJ Kusum Keshav Parajuli stated that in the current context the importance of civic education has increased for strengthening democracy. Dr. Erfried Adam argued that the role of media is very important to build the civic competence of citizens.

Source: Awaj Daily (10 August 2013)


Parties should be clear about political system before writing statute <Top>

By A Staff Reporter
Kathmandu, Aug 4: Constitution experts and political scientists Sunday suggested that the parties should be clear about the political system before they sat for writing the new constitution.

"The politicians must be clear under which system they want to write the constitution," they said

They urged the parties to forge a minimum consensus and promote constitutional culture so that the new statute could be implemented effectively following its promulgation.


They were sharing their views at a national seminar 'Reflection on Nepal's Constitutional Process' jointly organized by Tribhuvan University Law Faculty and FES, Nepal.

Former attorney general Badri Bahadur Karki said that the failure of constitution writing was the collective failure of the country.

"The constitution is the document of trust and faith. But, a sense of mistrust runs high when it comes to drafting the statute. The history shows that if there were no democratic culture, the constitution fails to work no matter how best it is."

Karki said that the political parties must be clear about the political system before they sat for writing the constitution. "They must be clear what kind of statute they want to write: democratic and communist."

Nepal Bar Association chairman Hari Krishna Karki said that the political leaders should take lesson from the past

"There is no alternative to Constituent Assembly election in order to rid the country of constitutionlessness and bring back it on constitutional track. An environment conducive to the poll should be built so that all legitimate forces can participate in the election," he said.

He urged the leaders to strike agreement amidst the disagreements but not try to pick holes in agreement

FES, Nepal head Dev Raj Dahal said that the challenges before the upcoming fresh CA election to draft a new constitution lie in the creation of election-friendly environment for the renewal of legal-rational legitimacy of law making process, building bridges across the gaps between the state and citizens, institutions and aspirations of the individual.

"This requires a self-reflective learning of the leadership about the wisdom of ordinary folk, public opinions and cultural heritage of the nation's tolerance of diversity nurtured by its sages, statesmen and citizens," said Dahal. "Ironically, Nepal's political parties are locked in their own frames and are in the loops of self-interested impulse lacking systemic awareness for cooperative action and the necessity of middle path for political and constitutional stability."

Constitution expert Krishna Belbase said that the political parties never showed their sincerity to the constitution writing process and its implementation. "As a result, the country is almost in the constitution-less condition now."

He suggested that the parties should form an all-party commission and draft a brief constitution within a short span of time, and then get it approved from the referendum or a legislature-parliament.

Constitution expert and Nepal Law campus Associate professor Ganesh Dutta Bhatta attributed the failure of constitutional system to the external forces that wanted Nepal to move as per their will.

Bhatta suggested drafting a constitution by a team of experts and then endorsing it by two-thirds of majority of Constituent Assembly. "The national forces should move ahead for the constitution making process by forging consensus, trust and commitment and keeping national interest at the centre.

Senior journalist Yuva Raj Ghimire said that the parties should shed a politics of negation and learn from the failures of statute writing from other countries. "They should try to forge a minimum consensus and not go for writing a conditional constitution."

Source: The Rising Nepal (5 August 2013)


SAMSN meet highlights Journos' plight in region <Top>

Kathmandu, July 23: A three-day long South Asia Media Solidarity Network (SAMSN) conference concluded here on Tuesday after deliberating and adopting different measures aimed at safeguarding and promoting the rights of working journalists of South Asia member nations.

The network meeting, participated around 30 participants for eight nations of South Asia- Nepal, India, Bhutan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka the Maldives and Pakistan, discussed extensively on the measures to be followed to protect journalists' rights, promoting professional ethics among journalists and giving highest priority to the physical safety of working journalists.

From Nepal, representatives of Federation of Nepalese Journalists, National Union of Journalists and Nepal Press Union took part in the regional meeting. The representatives also put forth their views and presented paper on the working journalists' condition in the nation.

The three day Kathmandu meeting also adopted gender declaration which threw light on the problems being faced by female journalists in the region. Likewise, the meeting also came up with the idea of establishing a media-hub in the South Asia so that the member journalists would remain in constant touch with each other

Various participants, while presenting their country papers on the situation of journalists, deeply delved into the problems being faced by the journalists of their respective nations. The participants also thrashed out solutions to rectify the prevailing unfavourable situation being confronted by the media people in these countries.

The SAMSN meeting was moderated by Jacqui Park, International Federation of Journalists Asia-Pacific Director. The FES, Nepal head Devraj Dahal addressed the inaugural meeting. Sukumar Muralidaran of IFJ dealt on the various aspects of problems that the journalists of the South Asia have been facing.

Source: The Rising Nepal (24 July 2013)


SAARC journos in City <Top>

HNS

KATHMANDU: Thirty South Asian journalists are participating in a three-day conclave on journalists’ security, women’s participation in media, their wages and working environment, which kicked off in the Capital on Sunday. They will assess reports of representative countries on the said themes during the assembly, according to the organisers, South Asia Media Solidarity Network (SAMSN), International Federation of Journalists and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung. Journalists from Nepal, India, Pakistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh, the Maldives and Afghanistan presented papers on journalism in their respective countries so far. They are scheduled to discuss the measures to resolve the problems on Tuesday.


Source: The Himalayan Times (22 July 2013)


Foreign Policy should go along with mational interests: Experts <Top>

By A Staff Reporter

Lalitpur, July 18: Politicians and foreign policy experts Thursday emphasized that the national interests should be the basis for the foreign policy of the country.

They underlined the need of addressing the security concerns of the neighbouring nations while formulating the foreign policy.

"Internal unity and strong economy are key to the effective and independent execution of foreign policy," they said at a seminar on 'Nepal's nationality, and foreign and economic policy' organized by BP Chintan Pratisthan and FES, Nepal in Lalitpur.

Nepali Congress senior leader and former prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba said that the national interest should guide the country's foreign policy.

"The foreign policy should not be swayed by anti-Indian or anti-Chinese rhetoric. We should develop cordial ties with India, China and the western countries," said Deuba.

He noted that Nepal should be sensitive about the security concerns of the neghbouring countries.

Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum Nepal chairman Upendra Yadav said that geopolitical reality should be taken into account as the country devised and executed its foreign policy.

Nepal should assure its neghbours that its land would not be used against any neighbour.

"The political players should prove their mettle in managing the domestic problems at the micro level," he said. He admitted that the nation's foreign policy became weak following the establishment of republican system.


CPN-ML general secretary CP Mainali said that Nepali nationalism was now in serious crisis as the domestic players capitulated to the design of the foreigners.

Mainali said that the ethnic states were not in the national interests. "They will be also the matter of security concerns for the neighbouring countries," he added.

Former minister Dr. Prakash Chandra Lohani said that the parties should promote citizen-centric nationalism that should be nourished by basic democratic values and principles.

He urged the parties to rise above the partisan interest while pursuing a balance foreign policy.

CPN-UML leader Ghanshyam Bhusal noted that the country could not witness economic prosperity until the national sovereignty was protected.

"Our relations with India are characterized by the elements of cooperation, conflict and competition. However, the competitive dimensions became weak owing to the unequal relations with India," he said, adding that the relations with India should be improved.

He said that it was the state, not any individual that should take initiatives to balance the ties with the neighbours.

FES, Programme officer CD Bhatta said that the country survived only when its culture and language were well preserved.

"Nepal is one of the oldest nations in the world but it is today aping the ideas of foreign nations in almost every domain," he said and added that the country's national sovereignty was really in peril because the leaders forgot the judicious foreign policy guidelines suggested by the unifier of Nepal Prithvi Narayan Shah.

He also pointed out the need of contextualizing the thoughts of BP Koirala in the changed context.

Narayan Koirala of BP Chintan Pratistha said that nationalism was facing a grave crisis as the parties failed to abide by the value-based politics.

Dr Jaya Raj Acharya and Dr Ram Prasad Gyawali presented their working papers 'Nepal's nationality and foreign policy' and 'democratic nationalism' respectively.

Source: The Rising Nepal (19 July 2013)


No Democratic Process <Top>

EDITORIAL: No grain of doubt remains that Nepal's democratic process has gone awry. An FES funded AWAKE seminar in collaboration with this weekly concluded that, everything remaining the same, another election to another constituent assembly will again not yield the desired results. Indeed, the very actors who crashed previous constitutions have insured in government that the elections will take place under their set designs and the very issues that they have raised as a reason why the previous constituent assembly failed remain as issues in the forthcoming elections as well. Moreover, the carrot being dangled before the people for their participation in the elections is that the composition in the coming polls should be made to be such that individual parties predominate to be able to determine their agenda in the constitution. This is even more dangerous. Predomination of any individual party in the constituent assembly would mean the predominance of a single agenda not favorable to the rest which would begin the process of scuttling the new constitution if not the new constituent assembly all over again. While our democratic friends can do little other than to welcome the decision to go ahead for another election to yet another constituent assembly, the Nepali people at large are aware that what is promised as change will either be no change or an even more dangerous change at the expense of us the people.

Of course, there are advantages to the mainstream parties by harping on the election theme. By and large the political population can be diverted with the promise of change. They can be occupied to direct the current disgruntlements with the promise of change. Political cadre who compose the largest section of the political population will be mobilized to garner votes with this promise of change. Money, muscle and media can be directed towards electoral campaigning with the promise of change. The lay man can be made to occupy themselves to seek suitable candidates that can be backed for personal gains diverting them from the current spate of woes. Elections seem the ready anathema for the supposed set-backs of all in all fields. The catchy solution is elections surely and even those who oppose it outright do so on conditional grounds seeking advantage in election itself. Reality, however, is different. Discussions should have been centered on the constitutionality of the change sought. The fact is that our constitutional process has been so tampered with that justifying another round for elections on the plea of just another constitution no longer suffices. For corrections to be made, any sincere attempt would mean restoring democracy at the grass roots in the very first place. Government must first begin discussions on how the local self-governments can be staffed by popularly elected people in the very first place and how constitutionality can be restored to the people of Nepal by reactivating real commitments to the democratic process through democratic behavior of all concerned. Elections alone no longer suffice in the Nepali case as elsewhere too.

Source: People's Review (20-26 June 2013)


Finally, Election Mode <Top>

BY SHASHI PBB MALLA AND CHANDRA BAHADUR PARBATE

VIEWPOINT
Most Nepalese had given up hope that there would be elections any time soon. However, the current caretaker 'election' government true to their word, finally announced November 19 as the date for elections to the new Constituent Assembly CA)/parliament. The participating parties now have five months to prepare and mobilize their supporters. Besides having to govern in day to day affairs, the government will also have to start preparations so that the elections are truly free and fair and on a level playing field. It will have to ensure that from now on, the path to the elections is smooth and not paved with stumbling blocks. This also means that it can no longer tolerate general strikes or bandhs manipulated by political parties and organizations to vent their ire. It must devise ways and means to nip such bandhs in the bud, otherwise bandhs will be rule and not the exception until the run-up to the elections. Moreover the bandhs themselves have the potential to compromise the elections. Bandhs have long ceased to be legitimate forms of protest and turned into one-sided, vociferous and tyrannical means of imposing the will of a minority on the overwhelming and silent majority. Unless the government acts resolutely, its standing in the populace will start shrinking.

Unfortunately the government has already shown its weak side by allowing the general strike (bandh) on Sunday protesting the announcement/holding of CA/parliamentary elections. These have been long overdue and it is the prerogative of the sovereign people to exercise their fundamental rights to elect their representatives and to speak, act and legislate on their behalf. The present disposition was merely temporary, but necessary to get on with the job of democratization. All those opposed to the elections should realize that they are fundamentally opposed to the functioning of democracy as such. Democracy is not only the rule of the people in the collective -- as opposed to that dictatorship (of a single person or group: Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, Mussolini), totalitarianism of a party (North Korea), oligarchy of a group or family (Ranas). Although the UCPN-Maoist has paid lip service to the holding of elections, they and their breakaway comrades the CPN-Maoist are fundamentally opposed to the functioning of democracy as such, as they have not eschewed their so-called 'dictatorship of the proletariat' which is merely an euphemism for the totalitarian rule of the Maoists.

Thus, Mohan Baidya's faction, the CPN-Maoist is ideologically opposed to the holding of elections - a truly basic democratic exercise. Democracy is not only 'rule by the people', but is synonymous with 'majority rule', and this can only be established via elections. Baidya's Maoist faction has given all sorts of spurious reasons for opposing the elections. Last Friday in a symposium: "Constitutionalism & Democracy Building in Nepal" (jointly organized by the Association of Editors and Writers, The People's Review and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation), the party spokesperson, Pampha Bhusal was full of negative vibes. She had the audacity to claim that her party opposed the election purely to preserve national interests! The country had reached such a stage of 'unconstitutionalism' that it was ruled by crooks and thugs, and thus the elections were a farce! Bhusal, of course, did not mention - or more likely conveniently forgot - that it was her own party that was involved in various extortion schemes and the occupation of private land and property. Moreover, the trade union affiliated with her party has been causing havoc in trade and industry and hampering production.

Bhusal further alleged that the current government was merely a marionette under the thumb of the 'Four Party Syndicate' which itself had no legitimacy and was directed from external forces. She did not directly mention the country/ies involved, but contended that the whole process was a grand design from outside. Such a reading is actually too much to stomach, especially when she characterized the whole electoral process as a farce. She further made the prediction that even if elections were held, no constitution would be drafted and no single party would receive a majority. In any case, these are no valid arguments for not holding elections, which is a fundamental right of the sovereign people. The CPN-M wants to hijack this fundamental right in the very name of the people by threatening to declare a constitution "from the streets". This is all very irregular to say the least. The country cannot be held to ransom by a spurious political party following its own bizarre agenda and without any positive ideas or vision. It seems that this party has not even heard of coalition governments in many democratic polities (Germany, India, UK).

The CPN-M questions the very process of drafting the constitution through the CA. On that Bhusal made the outlandish statement that the whole electoral process was an attempt to "sikkimize" the country. This of course displays her lack of a s sense of history, as India did not integrate that Himalayan Kingdom into the Indian Union through the electoral process, but through outright annexation. India's attempt to repeat the performance with Nepal would be a very, very difficult bone to swallow, especially since our northern neighbor China and superpower in the making would definitely not remain a passive onlooker! The CPM-M's disgust of democratic elections for the CA was reflected in the statement that not all good constitutions have been drafted by CAs and that it would be better for an expert commission to undertake such a task and present the finished product to the President, who would approve it and thus make it a valid basic law. With such a simplistic approach, the CPN-M and those opposing the elections will have little support, even if they propagate that the forthcoming elections will destroy 'loktantra' and Nepalese national interests. It is also not a question of bowing down to foreign diktat, but joining the mainstream on the path of democratization.

The 42 agitating parties opposing the CA/parliamentary elections, including the CPN-Maoist, that enforced the nation-wide bandh last Sunday can take pride in the fact that they deprived the majority of the population of their fundamental rights, the nation had to incur a financial loss of a whopping NPR 4.38 billion and vandalism was encouraged. Hopefully the government has learnt its lesson and no longer remains passive but takes on an energetic role to pave the path for a proactive electoral process. It is no longer necessary to woo the parties opposing elections. The scrapping of the threshold condition was a major concession, but still these small/fringe parties did not respond. You can take a horse to the water, but you can't make it drink. These parties fundamentally do not trust the electorate, because they have a bad conscience and are full aware that the electorate has a long memory. Moreover, they have little funds to contest the elections and little hope of winning. However, in spite of them, or because of them, the show must go on. Elections are after all the manifestation of the people's will.

The writers can be reached at: shashipbmalla@hotmail.com

Source: People's Review (20-26 June 2013)


Amend constitutional process first: Bhusal <Top>

HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE

KATHMANDU: Pampha Bhusal, Spokesperson for the CPN-Maoist, today said political parties should first amend the constitutional process to bring agitating parties on board. “We are not against the election if it fulfills all the due constitutional procedures,” said Bhusal at a workshop on ‘Constitutionalism and Democracy Building in Nepal’ in the Capital today.

The programme was jointly organised by Association of Editors and Writers Kathmandu and People’s Review weekly in cooperation with Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Nepal.

Stating that Nepali parties were incapable of taking decisions, she doubted if they could deliver a new constitution even through a new Constituent Assembly.

Bhusal said no party can acquire majority of votes in this existing election system and that parties have already announced that they would not hold the election until they were sure about securing majoring votes.

She added that top leaders of High Level Political Committee had accepted Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi as the government head because of compulsion.

Source: The Himalayan Times (16 June 2013)


Reorient diplomacy: Expers <Top>

Himalayan News service

Kathmandu, June 14: Experts speaking at a brainstorming program today said Nepal needs to reorient diplomatic dealings to protect national interest in a competitive and globalised new world order.

The state can do this by revamping the government setup, especially the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, they said, adding that every diplomatic endeavour will be futile unless and until we keep our house in order.

Presenting his paper, former UN under-secretary general Kul Chandra Gautam suggested recruiting additional staff at the Foreign Ministry, giving them necessary training, deputing them in Nepali missions abroad, providing communication and IT skills and upgrading the missions.

Our foreign policy mandarins should focus more on our neighbours in view of the changed global and regional context, he said, stressing the need to project national success stories in international forums.

Presenting his paper on Nepal's regional policy, former foreign secretary Madhu Raman Acharya said Nepal needs to switch to multilater diplomatic engagements with regional countries from bilateral ones.

Source: The Himalayan Times (15 June 2013)


Take dissenting forces in confidence:Leaders <Top>

By A Staff Reporter

Kathmandu, June 14: Political leaders and experts Friday underlined the need of creating election-friendly atmosphere by taking dissenting forces into confidence.

However, they were firm that there should not be any compromise on election under any pretext as it was the only means to restore constitutionalism and take democracy to the grassroots.

They were sharing a forum at a seminar entitled 'Constitutionalism and Democracy Building in Nepal' in the capital.

The function was jointly organized by the Association of Writers and Editors of Kathmandu (AWAKE) and Friedrick Ebert Stiftung Nepal.


CPN-UML publicity department head Pradeep Gyawali said that the country had been bristled with multiple anomalies because of the wide gap between the spirit of constitutionalism and the behaviour of the political actors.

Gyawali noted that the political stalemate could continue to linger if the dissenting political parties, including CPN-M and MJF-N, dug their toes in participating in the upcoming election.

"However, we could not compromise on the CA poll that is the only democratic process to manage conflict and end the prolonged transition," he said.

Gyawali said that external forces had become dominant in the domestic affairs by trying to penetrate even into the various organs of the states.

He was of the view that there should be synthesis between the national and local identities. "It has been misconstrued that federalism means only identity-based federalism. Such a wrong conception had diverted the real issue."

CPN-M spokesperson Pampha Bhusal said that her party was not against the election but until the constitutional process was brought on track by scrapping the 11-point and 25-point agreements, which, she said, were struck at the behest of foreign forces and put the country on the path of regression, the party would not join the poll fray.

"There should be right procedure for conducting the poll. The election held by government, formed through the undemocratic means, could not bring the right outcome," she said.

She said that even the second CA could not write the new statute because the first CA failed to promulgate it although it had already prepared the draft.

"There are other means to write the statute and the CA is not the only apparatus to draft it," she said and claimed that upcoming election was going to be held at the expense of national independence and democracy.


Nepali Congress leader Dr. Minendra Rijal said that nationalism would be strong only when the people become economically independence.

Rijal said that all parties including the CPN-M should participate in the election and added that there was still the scope for dialogue among the parties to make sure that all could take part in the election.

"Seeking the solution of the problem through peaceful and constitutional means is the constitutionalism," he added.

He called on the dissenting parties to respect people's right to cast their votes in fearless atmosphere.

Dev Raj Dahal, head of FES, Nepal, said that the big political task for Nepal now was to create an election-friendly environment by building political trust among all political parties including opposition, promulgating necessary election laws and creating adequate security environment.

"Restoration of the constitutional tradition of politics requires the promulgation of a popularly-owned constitution which can heal the Nepali society. The election provides an opportunity to demand an accountability of leaders, reassess the relationship between citizens and government and spurn those who deceived them while constitutional awareness of leaders and citizens helps to convert their partial perspectives into a larger national vision," said Dahal.


The AWAKE vice-chairman Tej Prakash Pandit said that the seminar mulled over the measures to find way out to the constitutional crisis. "The country could not roll ahead without a democratic election that ensures the legitimacy of the political parties."

At the one-day seminar, professor Ram Kumar Dahal and associate professor Ganesh Dutta Bhatta presented their working papers.

Source: The Rising Nepal (15 June 2013)


Keep bureaucracy away from politics <Top>

By A Staff Reporter

Kathmandu, June 7: Political leaders, experts and bureaucrats Friday said that political and legal reform was the key to administrative reform for the better service delivery to the people.

They called for reshaping bureaucracy to make it efficient, inclusive and democratic.

"The bureaucracy should be kept away from the political intervention and overbearing influence of the trade unions," they said in unison at a national seminar on 'Constitutional Accountability and Administrative Reform in the Context' jointly organized by Administration Reform Recommendation Committee (ARRC) and FES, Nepal.

Former prime minister Madhav Kumar Nepal said the leaders and the bureaucrats should learn to manage time, which he said, was the precondition for the administrative reforms.

"The practices of promoting favoritism and greasing the palm in the administration sector should be ended," he said and called for developing bureaucracy as an apolitical body.

He said that the political stability, non-corrupt government and law-abiding leadership were necessary to ensure good governance in the
country.

"Meritocracy and capability should be given priority and age and seniority should not be dominant factor when it comes to the promotion of the civil servants," he added.

Chief election Commissioner Nilkantha Upreti said that administrative reforms were possible only when political and legal reforms were
successfully carried out.

"Elements impartiality and morality must be imbued to make the administration responsible towards the people," he said.

"However, political reform is impossible without electoral reform. So, we decided to keep one per cent threshold provision for the political parties to get sears under the proportional representation system.

Likewise, the candidates should submit the details of their expenditures made during the poll, he said. He said that the date to the Constituent Assembly would be announced next week.

Chief Secretary Lila Mani Poudel said that there was the need of promoting modern culture of bureaucracy, which put emphasis on transparency, accountability and result-oriented performance.

He was critical of political leadership and the 'highhandedness' of trade unions.

"There is vicious nexus between the police, smugglers and politicians, and this must be broken," he added.

He said that the administration has been in tight spot - on one hand it has not institutional capacity to deliver, on the other, there is soaring
public demand to provide services to them.

Nepali Congress leader Dr. Narayan Khadka said that dynamic, capable and efficient bureaucracy was the need of the time.

The political parties must forge consensus on the number of ministries, hydropower development, education policy and land reform.

Head of Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Nepal Dev Raj Dahal said that good governance called for a judicious balance in the demands of citizens and the supply of the production and provision of public goods and service by the state, private sectors and civil society across the social classes and geographic regions.

"Governance-effectiveness rests on fostering the centripetal forces of society and establishing state-society coherence through national
self-determination of politics, constitutional laws and development policies," he added.

ARRC coordinator Kashi Raj Dahal said that there was the need to instill a sense of professionalism in bureaucracy and moral values in the politics.

"Value-based politics is dwindling resulting into the rise of mass disenchantment in the public about the political system," he said.

He sought the opinions of participants on the number of ministries, the role of trade unions, inclusiveness and civil service acts during the
seminar.

Source: The Rising Nepal (8 June 2013)


Security cannot be guaranteed when divided <Top>

Gorkhapatra Correspondant

Kathmandu, May 3

Journalists revealed that in the absence of public security in society not only ordinary citizens and the media persons but the entire national security is affected. This is revealed by journalists in a national seminar organized by Nepal Press Union (NPU)on “Nepalese Media and Public Security” in the World Press Freedom Day. They expressed anxiety over the difficulty of journalists in attaining physical and economic security and unconcern of the state, political parties and civil society towards their plight.

The speakers attributed that because of political parties, ethnic and regional groups, increasing criminalization, parochial culture of society, culture of impunity and unprofessional character of journalists attacks on them have not reduced.

They also criticized the media owners for not paying remuneration to journalists for month and the government showing apathy towards the implementation of Working Journalists Act. They started the need for the resignation of the chairman of council of ministers Khil Raj Regmi for its undesirable effect on legal sector for being one person head of executive and judiciary.

In the program supported by Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung journalists Yubaraj Ghimire and Dhirendra Jha presented their papers. Leader of Nepali Congress Shekhar Koirala said that unless democracy and nationalism are consolidated freedom of expression remains curtailed. So long as journalists are ideologically divided their physical and economic security cannot be ensured.

Another leader of Nepali Congress N. P. Saud said that press freedom cannot be expected if political parties themselves set up media. Journalists should think themselves what they can do together than expect from the state can do to them. Head of FES Nepal office Dev Raj Dahal said that violence has been decentralized because of the weakness of the state. He said that the role of media lies in connecting the society, not dividing them.

Journalist Yubaraj Ghimire argued that so long as citizens are insecure journalists con not be secured. Citizens should have ownership on democracy to ensure press freedom and freedom of expression.

President of Nepal Press Union Kiran Pokhrel asserted that NPU, Press Chautari and Nepal Revolutionary Journalists Union will set a new trade union of journalist if Federation of Journalists does not convert itself into a trade union.

In the program Journalists Tara Nath Dahal, Bishnu Nisturi, Kabir Rana, Dharemndra Jha, Kul Chandra Wagle, Jagat Nepal, Badri Sigdel, etc spoke about public security and press freedom,

Source: Gorkhapatra Daily (3 May 2013)


Nationalism has become weak: Koirala <Top>

Annapurna Correspondant

Kathmandu May 3:

Central Committee Member of Nepali Congress Shekhar Koirala has said without the resignation of Chairman of electoral Cabinet Khil Raj Regmi from his post of Chief Justice election for CA cannot be held. He said it in the context of World Press Freedom day organized by Nepal Press Union, “Political parties like CPN-Maoist led by Mohan Baidya are in the street, they need to be brought into consensus. For this Regmi should resign to create conducive environment. Other Central Committee N. P. Saud accused the leaders of four mainstream parties as satellite of foreign powers. In the program former chairman of Federation of Nepalese Journalists Dharmendra Jha and senior Journalist Yuba raj Ghimire spoke on public security and the media. Analyzing the current condition Jha asked the journalists to become responsible and revealed the collusion of journalists with security agencies and become victim. Yubaraj Ghimire said that journalists while analyzing event should also be tolerant of the criticism. In the program head of Friedrich--Ebert-Stiftung Dev Raj Dahal, Former FNJ Presidents Tara Nath Dahal and Bishnu Nisthuri, Secretary Jagat Nepal, Chairman of Press Union Kiran POkhrel, senior vice-president Badri Sigdel, Hemant Kafle, and journalist Kabir Rana spoke on public security.

Source: Annapurna Post (3 May 2013)


Effective Implementation Of Laws Stressed <Top>

Kathmandu, May 1: Political leaders and journalists stressed on effective implementation of laws enacted for guaranteeing the professional security of working journalists in different media houses. At an interaction programme “Role of Nepal Press Union on Burning Issues of Working Journalists” organized by Nepal Press Union (NPU) here today on the occasion of the International Labour Day, they stressed on strengthening security of media persons as it is becoming serious day by day.They said though the government has formulated required laws for the rights of journalists, numerous challenges have piled up before the working journalists and that they were facing growing physical and professional insecurity due to lack of effective implementation of laws. On the occasion, leader of the Nepali Congress, Dr. Ram Sharan Mahat said that the state was weak in protecting the media persons when they are becoming the victims of attacks from all sides due to their political ideology and conviction. He stated that the Janakpur incident on Monday was the latest example of state’s weakness. Mahat complained that Nepali media houses have been neglecting social responsibility though the media houses were becoming result-oriented and qualitative. Similarly, the UCPN-Maoist leader, Narayan Sharma pointed out that the media persons should play the main role for institutionalizing the achievements of the democratic movement.

He added that all unions should be united against attacks on media persons. Leader of the CPN (UML), Pradip Gyawali stressed ensuring security to all the citizens at a time when the political system needs to be made stable, democratic and responsible to people, adding that state restructuring was necessary for maintaining harmony among the people in the country. Leader of the Nepali Congress and founder of the Nepal Press Union, Shobhakhar Parajuli, said that the Nepalese journalism should discourage all kinds of malpractices in the country by adopting a more responsive approach and respectable form of journalism establishing democratic norms and values.

Senior journalist Taranath Dahal presented a paper on ‘Contemporary Problems in Nepali Media and Role of Press Union’ and stressed on making the state and the management at the media houses serious on practical implementation of the Labour Act and the Working Journalists Act.Similarly, former President of the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ), Dharmendra Jha, presented a paper on ‘Challenges of Working Journalists’ and stressed on running a campaign for the structural reforms in the media policy and laws to ensure press freedom and pluralism in the media world.

Nepal Chief of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Devraj Dahal, journalists Kulchandra Wagle, Gagan Bista, Bishnu Nisthuri, Khil Bahadur Bhandari, Samirjung Shah, Anil Yogi, Ekraj Pathak among others said the bodies concerned should be serious for the security of Nepali media, professional security and implementation of the Media Act

Source: Nepal Matribhumi Khabar (2 May 2013)


Domestic helps earn less than Rs 3,500 <Top>

HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: Domestic helps in Kathmandu earn less than Rs 3,500, which is significantly lower than the minimum wage of the country.

The government had set Rs 6,200 as minimum wage in March 2011.

The average earning of domestic workers is just Rs 3,400, a study commissioned by the Centre for Labour and Social Studies said. According to the study, domestic workers who live in the same house where they work earn less than those who live outside.

The average salary of domestic workers who stay in the house where they work is Rs 1,700, said team leader of the study Bishal Bhardwaj.

The study has also revealed the pathetic conditions in which domestic workers live. Live-in domestic workers usually get stale food and old clothes. They have been exploited at all fronts. All family members tend to misbehave with domestic workers and exploit them, he said, explaining the situation.

According to the study, the average working period of domestic workers who live with the family and who live outside is 48 months and 14 months, respectively. Some major work that they do are wash clothes, clean the house and cook, which covers around 50 per cent of their time.

There is no record of domestic workers in the country. However, labour authorities believe that there are around 60,000 domestic helps in the country.

The absence of a law that includes domestic helps and lack of ratification of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention 189 have weakened the rights of domestic workers. Therefore, we are lobbying for the rights of domestic workers, said general secretary of the organisation Tilak Jung Khadka.

Protecting domestic workers at home and abroad should be a key issue for the country because around 200,000 Nepalis are working as domestic helps in Gulf countries — Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman. Their condition is also miserable because of abuse and exploitation by employers.

The job destinations do not have labour laws that ensure labour rights for domestic workers. Human Rights Watch has termed the Kafala system — known as sponsorship system — as modern day slavery in a 2011 report. The rights-based organisation and International Trade Union Confederation have been urging Gulf countries to ratify ILO Convention 189.

Source: The Himalayan Times (1 April 2013)


Demands for gender justice <Top>

By Our Reporter

Nepalese women demands a full articulation of gender justice in the nation's governance. This was raised in a national seminar organized by the Central Department of Home Science and Women's Studies Program of Tribhuvan University in cooperation with FES, Nepal Office on 22 March. In the context of the formation of the Inter-Ministerial Coordination Committee under Chief Secretary of the government this pro-active initiative on "Women's Empowerment: Achievements and Way Forward," is expected to provide policy inputs. Altogether 90 female and 10 male representing academic community, government, NGOs and civil society deliberated on the various aspects of gender empowerment. The secretary of Prime Minister and Cabinet Secretariat Raju Man Singh Malla, presented government's efforts to address violence against women and a way forward, researcher Prativa Subedi on economic empowerment of women and and Prof. Dr. Harinder Thapalia on gender equality though gender re-socialization. Speaking on the occasion Dean of Humanities and Social Science of Trihuvan University Prof. Dr. Chinta Mani Pokhrel said that we need to evolve proper methodology based on practical realities of the nation and devise proper pedagogy for women's empowerment. He said that Dalit trained by Dalits is not a way of liberation as is being practices in Nepal. They need to educate the other side who dominates them. Same applies to women's empowerment.

Head of FES Nepal Office Dev Raj Dahal argued that a norm-governed, not power-based society, is the hallmark of human civility. In this context, civilization grows with the decline of violence and coercion in social and political life of citizens. The more the society is democratized the better the reduction of private ambition of leaders and beginning of the awakening of their public purpose in politics. Nepal needs to invest a lot of its efforts in building active citizenship as it fosters both social, economic and political equality in society and makes the leaders accountable for their actions. There is a need to foster an education based on enlightenment, freedom and democracy so they citizens are capable of reflecting on the condition of their existence and seek to improve their condition for better life, liberty and pursuit of wellbeing. Participants furnished various weaknesses in the implementation of laws, policies and programs and suggested measures as to how to reduce violence in society to recover Nepal from its post-conflict phase. Prof. Uma Koirala, the coordinator of the program welcomed the participants and Prof. Anila Shrestha, chairperson, expressed vote of thanks.

Source: People's Review (28 March-3 April 2013)


Nepal: Women’s Empowerment <Top>

Dev Raj Dahal

Head, FES Nepal

Introduction

Civilization grows with equal social development when one set of human beings do not dominate or consume the other set of human beings by either coercion or due process of law. Law, therefore, is set up to prevent the Darwinist theory of the survival of fittest. Modern constitutional state purports to create social and political solidarity across human species without being excessively predatory to nature. A society in which all potential abilities of men and women are allowed to flourish can become more cooperative, innovative, civilized, virtuous and adaptable to changing social, economic and technological conditions of modernity. Education, science, democracy and human rights broke down the walls of biological superiority and nourished equal fitness of women for social equality, power, position and identity. Still, removal of structural conditions and restrictions are essential for women’s emancipation from constraints.

Empowerment Measures

The gender discourse in the world in general and Nepal in particular have brought major shifts conducive to women’s empowerment.

# The first shift has occurred in the discourse on development which has enlarged the concept of state’s role in the areas of concern to women. Today, women’s consent to the political system is based on the expectation of their improved living standards. In this context, Nepali state has become more active in family matters regarding domestic violence, child rights, paternal property rights and individual suicide thus expunging the liberal separation between the public and the private realm. It sought to imbibe feminist discourse “personal is political” and formulated policies based on both needs and rights.

# The second shift is seen in its legal and policy culture. Bounded by international law and gender obligation, Nepali state has also enlarged the domain of women’s rights in various areas—reproductive rights, right against exploitation, non-discrimination, social inclusion and affirmative action or positive discrimination in education, health and income-generation and peace-promotion activities. The government spells out commitment to remove pre-modern patronage system of governance based on social hierarchy which reproduces the power of males through motherly socialization of female and her emotional attachment to children and home only. It has introduced five-year action plan, Ending Gender-Based Violence and Gender Empowerment-2012 to eradicate the culture of impunity and break the culture of silence. Growing violence against women needs be abolished through appropriate policy intervention, proper law-enforcement and exposure of the culprits to public shame as an unacceptable crime.

# The third shift has occurred from equal opportunity to equal outcome of governance for both men and women, equality of citizenship and procedural distribution of fairness based on law. Accordingly, new concepts such as gender responsive budgeting and gender responsive governance have been introduced to improve gender-sensitive indicators and outcomes.

# The fourth shift has occurred in the choice model of society in society in matters of negotiation of marriage, institutional affiliation, job preference and dignity of life. Migration has emerged as an alternative mechanism for better life for Nepalese as labor market is overcrowded in Nepal due to the annual entry of more than 400 thousand youth into the labor market and the inability of government and private sector to absorb less than 10 percent of the new entrants. This year a total of 22,655 Nepali women received permission to work overseas mostly in the Gulf region, where many of them work as domestic workers, servants and slaves, not citizens and universal human persons entitled with labor and human rights. But it is not without social and economic cost to home and economic life of rural areas.

Ways Forward

Empowerment of women can be achieved through four measures: the normative learning, in which education of women and men can lead to self-awakening, freedom and enlightenment leading to re-socialization and active citizenship; organic evolution, in which purpose of development is clearly defined in equal gender outcome with the possibility to enlarge material achievement through collective action; the critical process, in which life of men and women is brought to critical reflection to the condition of their actual existence, gaps and opening of society to equal opportunity to meet the modern ideals of human rights, democracy and social justice; and creative, in which men and women are peacefully enabled to engage in labor and work, reap benefits from the changing concepts of ecological justice, technological evolution, new economy, family values and social stratification and participatory political condition of modernity. These are critical elements to reduce the appetite for gender violence and heal the society from entropies, wounds and conflicts.

Conclusion

Empowerment is a holistic concept which cannot be reduced to disciplinary boundaries of knowledge, institutions or particular social division of labor. What is still needed is to transform Nepal’s informal society, economy and polity into formal constitutional process by ensuring women’s voice, visibility and representation and enabling them to engage in the rational determination of life, politics, law and public policies of the nationgoverning them. Rights-based discourse alone is insufficient condition for Nepalese women’s empowerment as it favors only the organized part of society. The scope for better gender justice in Nepal can be provided by the provision of welfare state, contributory funding of social security, social protection of vulnerable women, recognition of the inequitable burden of care work on women, good governance and affirmative action. Redistributive mechanism of social justice in Nepal is essential to foster harmonious society based on social, gender and inter-generational justice. This is one of the ways to make women’s empowerment self-sustaining and capture the spirit of new peace.

Remarks made by author during the seminar organized by PKMC, Kathmandu in cooperation with FES, Nepal Office.

Source: The Telegraph Weekly (27 March 2013)


Expansion of Civic Education Necessary <Top>

Gorkhapatra Correspondent

Kathmandu, March 10

On the occasion of International Women’s Day Modern Kanya Multiple College organized one-day national seminar on “Civic education in the context of Democracy and Women’s Rights.” Chairman of dissolved Constituent Assembly Nilamber Acharya, head of FES for Asia, Juergen Stetten, head of FES for South Asia Stefanie Moser, Vice-President of Milan Chautari Anita Achayra and journalist Anita Bindu spoke on ending violence against women in order to create civilized society.

Acharya said that election is the key to democracy. We should not prolong political transition. In order to achieve this we should support chief justice to facilitate election. Juergen Stetten said that civic education has played a great role in the political development of Germany. This also helps to strengthens democracy.

In the second session constitutional expert Kashi Raj Dahal spoke on democracy and women’s rights while chairperson of Women’s Department of Tribhuvan University Dr. Uma Koirala presented paper on “Gender Inequality and Women’s’ Education.” Chairman of Engineers’ Associaiton Mahendra Gurung and Associate Professor of Tribhuvan University Dr. Rama Bashyal provided comments on the paper. Many participants , Ichha Gurung, Shonika Tamang, Shova Pant, Junu Neupane, Chandra Dev Bhatta, etc also added comments.

Source: Gorkhapatra Daily (13 March 2013)


Nepal Women: Do not just Listen but speak <Top>

Telegraph Nepal

Democratic political culture is not possible without proper civic education for leaders and citizens. Civility and democracy are fraternal twins. To foster the democratic knowledge, spirits and disposition, so said the participants of a seminar jointly organized by Modern Kanya Multiple Campus (MKMC) and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Nepal Office, on the topic “Civic Education for Young College Girls.”

The seminar was organized to mark the International Women” Day, March 8, 2013.

Chairman Prof. Ram Prasad Dahal of MKMC said that the college hosts students from all the 75 districts of the country and hoped that the education our students get will help change the society in a rational direction and remove all gender-related violence that is plaguing women.

“There is a need for solidarity among women themselves and between men and women for the equitable social development of Nepali society”, he said.

Speaking on the occasion Head of FES for Asia-Pacific Region Dr. Juergen Stetten said that in Germany there was a long struggle waged by women for justice, representation and recognition.

FES organizes over 4,000 events every year on civic education. Citizens become frustrated when their leaders do not fulfill the promises. Integration of every one in society is essential to build the base of democracy and create fairer outcome for everyone. But there is a need for active citizens in every sphere of lives, not just election to make democratic political culture robust. We are happy with the German Cooperation and the work of FES in Nepal with multiple stakeholders including girls.

Another speaker, Stefanie Moser, Desk Officer for South Asia, quoting Friedrich Ebert said that democracy needs democrats.

“We need female democrats. What is important is engagement of citizens to express their interests and wishes in every day to day affair”.

She said Germany has achieved a lot over the decades.

“We have Chancellor Angela Merkel but there is a long way to bridge the gender gap in economy and politics. Our women are doing better in the university; therefore, there is possibility for reforms in the future for gender equal outcome. Women should not just listen but also speak”.

Former Chairman of the Constitutional Committee of dissolved Constituent Assembly (CA) Nilamber Acharya highlighted that constitutional debates, informed discussion about issues and awareness about rights that have spread throughout the nation through the old CA. Now, we have to consolidate the achievements and organize fresh CA for both drafting the constitution and steer the nation to constitutional path to democracy. He said that political consensus for election environment must be built for this.

Mr. Acharya is a former Communist now turned into a Nepali Congress cadre.

Over 200 college girls are provided training on the principles and practice of civic education by Dr. Uma Koirala and Justice Kashiraj Dahal.

Source: Telegraph Nepal ( 9 March 2013)


Nepal Needs Adaptive Capacity to the Emerging Geostrategic Shift <Top>

-Sunny Mahat

Nepal, occupying strategic geography in the heartland of Asia, is feeling the heat of global power shift. The geostrategic impact on its national politics has become visible with the arrival of multiple actors in and around its periphery reverberating the concern of both India and China. Germany, being the key power in the European Union, feels the pressure for undertaking more responsibility and significant policy say in Asia. Nepal is not a backwater of these evolving trends.

Institute of Foreign Affairs in cooperation with Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Nepal Office, organised an interaction programme on ‘Geostrategic Shift in Asia: Response of German Security and Foreign Policy“ on February 15 with visiting German Member of Parliament (Bundstag) including Johannes Pflug, Member of Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy, Karin Evers-Meyer, Member of Defense Committee and Budget Committee and Holger Ortel, Member, Committee on Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection. The overarching aim of this talk programme was to shed light as how Germans view the recent geostrategic shift in Asia. The event was important for obvious reasons: Germany has remained an economic power house of the world for long time and second it has been a key player in the European Union, the UN and NATO. Germany has become a lynchpin for international security, peacebuilding and development initiatives in the world.

Setting the scene for discussion, Prof. Sridhar K. Khatri said that geostrategic calculations are worked out by those global powers that have capacity to shift the change of events to suit the requirements of the global players as well as the countries associated with it directly or indirectly. In recent years, the rise of Asian economies, particularly that of China, and subsequent decline of the West has aroused the attention of the US and its allies towards the Asia-Pacific Region. China’s increasing ability to restrict US’s role in the Western Pacific owing to its sheer economic strength could also impinge on other areas valued and championed by the Western powers such as human rights, capitalism, liberal democracy etc. The recent statement from the Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff of the US said “in 2020 and beyond, the security and economic challenges to our nation migrate to the Pacific, and demographics migrate to the Pacific, and it is pretty clear that we have to rebalance.”

The outcome of 1st FES Tiergarten Conference of 2012 on fundamental geostrategic Shift suggests that: rebalancing towards Asia-Pacific is no hype, rebalancing towards Asia-Pacific will have differentiated consequences for other regions, more attention and awareness of Asia-Pacific in Europe is necessary, more political engagement and commitment is required on the part of Europe and Germany, and there is a need for a coherent and up-to-date foreign policy. For Germany, it cannot simply wait for a coherent European approach to come from Brussels out of the blue. As an important EU member with strong diplomatic presence in the region, Berlin needs to play a ‘more proactive role in facilitating and contributing to a strategic approach that reflects the US rebalancing towards the region. Such discussions that are taking place on both sides of Atlantic indicate that political and economic rise of Asia will have to be seriously looked into and handled carefully for the peaceful world order. This also carries significance for the smaller states in the region including Nepal.

For Nepal, both of its immediate neighbours, India and China, are seen as rising economic powers and wield tremendous political powers in the extant world order. Striking a right strategic balance would be crucial for its economic prosperity and political stability. However, in recent time, Nepal has become a centre of geopolitical battle in the region and its consequences are seen in the domestic politics as well. Speaking in the programme Johannes Pflug said that smaller countries like Nepal, Bangladesh, and Bhutan should unite for their well-being and security and German would be more than happy to lend support to such initiatives. Johannes Plfug also said that while China wanted to create a win-win situation for all (an harmonious society), the US and its allies, for their part, do not necessarily aspire the same. He pointed out that so far EU has failed to articulate common foreign and security policy an Germany has no intention to hold political power it may, though, be economic one. That Germany can be a facilitator and mediator in the process. Pflug also highlighted different security dynamics including the issues in Afghanistan, Pakistan, northeeast, Arab world, Africa and South China Sea. He argued stability in this region will beacon towards regional and world stability in the long run. Karin Evers-Meyer also said that Europe is worried about this shift of American power from Atlantic towards Asia-Pacific and the smaller states in the region will have to face serious geopolitical implications arising out of this. The program was attended by over 70 eminenet persons- diplomats, security agencies, officials of various ministries, politicians, senior civil servants and academics.

Source: The Reporter Weekly (1 March 2013)


Prospect Of Social Democracy In Nepal <Top>

Ritu Raj Subedi

The Constituent Assembly (CA), which was dissolved without completing its task, was historic from different viewpoints. Among its many characteristics, it was dominated by Lefts and social democrats. More than 62 per cent of the CA members were from moderate and hardliner communist parties. Non-Left forces like Nepali Congress and Madhes-based parties also identified themselves as followers of socialism and social justice. With UCPN-Maoist formally giving up violent path and embracing peaceful means to realize socialism, the three major forces are heading towards a confluence of their philosophies. NC’s democratic socialism, CPN-UML’s people’s multiparty democracy and UCPN-Maoist’s 21st century janabad (capitalist revolution) have found a common ideological ground to evolve into social democracy that advocates for peaceful and evolutionary transition of society from capitalism to socialism. Social democracy stands for universally accessible public services such as people’s rights to education, health and job, and rule of law, social justice, workers’ rights and inclusiveness. Unlike neo-liberal democracy, it strives to create level playing field for all for equal participation in public life rather that creating spaces for winners and losers.

History

Social democracy was born in the 19th century Europe. General German Workers’ Association, founded by German socialist Ferdinand Lassalle in early 1860s, was perhaps the first social democratic party. The Association took the reformist line although it was influenced by international revolutionary socialism and Communist Manifesto of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. In 1864, International Workingmen’s Association, also known as the First International, came into existence to accommodate the socialists of various hues and colours. It consisted of different rival socialist factions. In 1869, Wilhelm Liebknecht and August Bebel joined their hands to found Social Democratic Workers’ Party of Germany on the Marxist line. Since then the social democratic movements witnessed various ups and downs. Later version of the movement abandoned Marx’s revolutionary and class conflict approach and adopted evolutionary and reformist one espoused by Edward Bernstein and Karl Kautsky.

However, before the split of noted socialist thinkers in different groups over the means of attaining goal, Marx himself changed his position on the nature of revolution during the Hague Congress in 1872. He said, “We know that the institutions, customs and traditions in the different countries must be taken into account; and we do not deny the existence of countries like America, England, and...I might add Holland, where the workers may achieve their aims by peaceful means. But this is not true of all countries” Hence, out of Marxism emerged two schools of socialism: One group embraced peaceful line of Marxism and became social democrat, and another one went to advocate pure Marxism or scientific socialism and took the revolutionary line, which was later spearheaded by Lenin and Rosa Luxemburg.

The Frankfurt Declaration of Socialist International was crucial to further advance the cause of social democracy. It rejected capitalism and one-party rule of communism, preferred parliamentary democracy, gradual democratic reforms and ethical values to secure workers’ rights. According to noted German social democrat Rudolf Hilferding, the transition from Marxism to revisionism has been facilitated by the incapacity of orthodox Marxists to develop a scientific analysis of social dynamics and scientific prediction of future developments. The 1930 Great Depression was the litmus test for the government under the social democrats. They weathered the crisis with the Keynesian instrument of state intervention and the adoption of the principles of welfare state. However, social democracy suffered in the 1970s as the economic crisis of overloaded welfare state led to the Thatcher-Reagan counter-revolution. It promoted neo-liberalism that spanned through 1980s and 1990s, which saw the state a problem and market as the solution.

Political scientist and FES head, Dev Raj Dahal, argued that a number of factors emerged to deal blow to social democracy in 1970s. A large section of working class was elevated to the middle class and the labour was itself divided into blue-collar and white-collar, which weakened the workers’ movement. The privatization of industries reduced the size of working class and workers were themselves interested in high-tech job. The spread of non-class values such as peace, ecology, gender and multiculturalism influenced the concerns of diverse electorate, he said. In addition to this, social democracy found it difficult to manage the globalization of economy, politics and society. However, in the mid-1990s, social democracy saw its renewal with electoral defeat of neo-liberal governments at the hand of social democratic. The invention of ‘Third Way’ and ‘New Labour’ of Tony Blair rejuvenated social democracy based on changing political dynamics although Left-leaning social democrats rebelled against ‘Third Way’, which accepted market economy but rejected the market society.

Nepal’s Choice

After becoming federal democratic republic, Nepal has apparently chosen the path of social democracy as envisaged in the interim constitution, which has provisions to ensure social and cultural rights of people such as rights to work, health, education, habitat and food sovereignty. It has given due emphasis on inclusiveness and proportional representation of the marginalized community in the state organs. Nepal’s endorsement to civil and political rights as well as social, economic and cultural rights of Universal Declaration of Human Rights impelled the political leadership to chalk out social democratic laws and policies. Likewise, Nepal’s adoption of humanitarian laws, social charter of SAARC, Kyoto Protocol, women’s rights and social justice provisions of ILO encourages the state agencies to work for the guarantee of social justice. More importantly, the majority of populace demands that the state should increase its role to provide social security and the benefits of the welfare state to the citizens. As an improvised nation, Nepal is not in a position to expand welfare economy. In addition, the country is in the midst of political and constitutional crisis, which has prevented it from realizing economic aspirations. Despite this bitter reality, most of the political parties have stood for social justice, economic equality and inclusiveness, which can only be achieved within the social democratic framework.

Source: The Rising Nepal ( 24 February 2013)


German MPs interacts with local people in Gaidakot <Top>

Reporter

Gaindakot, Nawalpaasi: FES Nepal office in cooperation with local NGO, Sahamati, organized a half-day interaction program at Gaindakot between the visiting parliamentarians Johannes Pflug, Foreign Affairs Committee, Karin Evers-Meyer, Defense and Budget Committee and Holger Ortel, Agriculture and Defense Committee of German Bundestag and local leaders, NGOs, citizens groups, civil society and officials of development organizations of Chitwan and Nawalparasi.

Welcoming the participants head of FES Nepal office Dev Raj Dahal introduced the theme “Continuity and Transformation at the Local Level” and explained that Nepal sought to achieve transformation in five domains—context, discourse, issues, rules and actors. But, these changes remains far from consolidated as political leaders failed to transform sovereignty to people, make politics public and transform diverse people into equal citizens. Precondition for modernization in areas—education, economy, technology, organization and leadership behavior, accountability and responsiveness remained weak. Only transformational leadership, not transactional, authoritarian and personalized, is capable of sustaining the change underway and balance three groups of rights—individual, group-specific and human rights—and steer the nation’s politics in responsive direction seeking to link rule with rights and duties and achieve self-governance. He said at the moment there is only governance, not elected government of the people at the local level.

Johannes Pflug narrating the difficult days of Germany during Great Wars said that in Nepal, political parties can play constructive role to make politics responsive and democratic and make social contract binding to all sides. We all three MPs have started our career with local politics and addressed the needs of local people for health, education, sanitation, jobs, infrastructural and development needs allowing people to harness their potentialities. National politics should have strong base in local politics, economy and society. We can fight in the German parliament for the possible support for Nepal’s initiatives and take the funding to right place.

Another speaker Holger Ortel said that for the development of your villages there is no need for you to become a member of any political party. You have to avoid extreme partisanship and overcome ideology. There is also no need to have higher level of education to become a leader. What is essential is common sense which is possessed by everyone. But you have to decide what is right for you. Local governance is generally based on the principle of subsidiarity, that is, decisions have to be taken at the local level who have to bear the costs and share benefits. People should be the center of development.

Karin Evers-Meyer, who extended immense support to Sahaj Community Hospital said that Germany has a high level of affection for Nepal and the Nepalese people. I have started politics from grassroots level. At that time villagers were facing scarcity of many basic needs. I tried to solve the problems of my community. Then I got elected at the district and became mayor. For Nepal also the urgent task for Nepal is election for the parliament and local bodies. Parliament monitors and directs the government, sees whether the government has performed assigned tasks or not and makes them accountable to the people. In Nepal also, people are very conscious of their rights.

Therefore, you should focus on both national and local election as they provide legitimacy to rule and your representatives will help to solve your problems. Government is an instrument to improve people’s living standards. Above 40 speakers of the area including Susma Bajracharya, Chau En-Lai Shrestha, Padma Prasad Ghimire, Bhuvan Ale, Rajiv Neupane, Laxmi P. Khatowada, Radha Chapagain, Badri Nepal, Bhim Prasad Sharma and Karun Sagar Subedi, interacted with the visiting parliamentarians.

Source: People’s Review (Thursday, 21 February 2013)


Nepal: Geostrategic Shift in Asia, German reply on Security and FP <Top>

Mrs Karin Evers-Meyer, SPD MP, German Bundestag

“How is Germany stepping out of decades of pacifism/military non-intervention into a bigger role for security within Europe and NATO? What impact has Germany’s rise as an economic power on its security policy?”

Mrs. Karin Evers-Meyer, MP from German Bundestag (SPD) was here in town for a short trip. Prior to her departure to Berlin, she made a small but yet beautiful presentation as regards the German foreign policy measures now being undertaken at a brief seminar organized by Nepal Institute of Foreign Affairs, February 15, 2013. She has already left for her home country.

Some highlights:

  • Asia has accomplished a remarkable development preserving its unique character.
  • Lot of things happening here in Nepal.
  • Germany a friend of Nepal and Asia.
  • Germany is not a teacher, but as an assistant, and a friend.
  • US says and demands “more responsibility and a larger share of the burden”.
  • In saying so US wants more money from Germany.
  • SPD demands UN nod for military engagement.
  • US doesn’t exert pressure on Germany.
  • Germany makes its weight felt for peace wherever it is necessary.

Karin speech begins:

“Many things have changed in Asia over the last decades. Asia has accomplished a remarkable development while preserving its unique character. On the political side, the elections in Myanmar, the economic rise of China and the situation in Afghanistan are the probably the most obvious developments perceived in Europe. And, of course, we do see a lot of things happening here in Nepal.

Germany is and will continue to be a friend of the Nepali people and a friend of Asia. We are aware of the responsibilities that we have in the international community. Germany makes its weight felt for peace wherever necessary, and is a trustworthy partner when a crisis strikes.

German foreign policy appreciates, that different cultures, languages, views, religions and ways of living are an asset, not a burden. It is our political understanding that tolerance is a matter of course. When being asked for help, Germany is not coming as a teacher, but as an assistant, and a friend. The best assistance supplies the means and abilities to those in need, to let their energy float freely to get into the position to ensure that the job is done.

Geostrategic shifts are not a new development at all in international politics. Policy is a feature of development and progress, too. It is not a static feature unable to adapt and react accordingly. Hopefully, politics provides a degree of consistency and reliability. The care for security is independent of a country’s economic power. It is an attitude.

Germany can be trusted to consider upon its foreign policy very carefully - its duties within NATO or the European Union notwithstanding. Frankly speaking, when, for example, America says that it demands “more responsibility and a larger share of the burden” from Germany, I understand they want us to pay more money. Well, ok. This is not a new thing to happen. And it also may be indicated from time to time. But for Germany it is the parliament that will decide at last.

Indeed, we know our duties, and we are prepared to make our impact felt. We already do so at the coasts of Somalia where we provide security for ships. In Mali where we are present with combat medic. And in Turkey we help to bring stability into a fragile region in collaboration with other nations. Let me be clear: Germany does not sense pressure from the government of the United States of America to step in more intensely. As it does not sense pressure from any other country. In the Social Democratic Party of Germany, which I am a member of, we believe that a United Nations mandate is the ground for deciding upon a military engagement. I do not see this changing, and I consider this the right basis of decision for us.

Coming as a guest to Nepal today feels really good. On behalf of our tiny delegation let me thank you for your hospitality and kindness we are experiencing every day. It is our perception that we are meeting friends here in Nepal. I am sure that we will return with the best feelings about your beautiful country and people. And I also hope that our visit will increase the degree of cooperation and communication between our countries. In fact, I do not have the slightest doubt”.

Source: The Telegraph Weekly (20 February 2013)


Nepal: German MPs Stress on accountability of leaders <Top>

TGW Correspondent

Three members of parliament of German Bundestag visited Gaindakot, February 14, 2013, to remain abreast with the local democratic process of Nepal.

On that occasion FES Nepal office in cooperation with Sahamati, an NGO, organized an interaction program between German Parliamentarians Johannes Pflug, member of Foreign Affairs Committee, Karin Evers-Meyer, member of Defense and Budget Committee and Holger Ortel, member of Agriculture and Transportation Committee of Bundestag and local leaders of Chitwan and Nawalparasi districts.

Addressing over 60 participants, Johannes Pflug explained the purpose of the delegation visit which had been to give a boost to political parties and enable them to solve the current stalemate.

He touched upon the difficulty of political transition of South Asian countries including Nepal. He added, democracy thrives in moderate space. Unfortunately, this space is squeezing due to rise of undemocratic elements. Extremist forces are trying to weaken both democratic space and the state. In Nepal, political parties have to play constructive role to make politics responsive to the citizens’ demands and make social contract, a working constitution binding to all sides. We all three MPs have started our career with local politics and helped our people to address their needs such as health, education, sanitation, jobs, infrastructural and development needs. National politics should have strong base in local ecology, politics, economy and society. He promised to fight in the German parliament for the possible support for Nepal’s democratic, development and peace initiatives. Big parties should support the smaller parties after election and tell them how can we help you and how can we work together. We would like to compromise. They should work together for the resolution of practical issues based on ground realities. Recovery of Nepal’s post-conflict condition also requires extensive public works and creation of opportunities for youth, poor and unemployed for works. Ideology only operates at theoretical level which too is revised once reality is changed. On behalf of German MPs he expressed thanks to Nepali hosts for the warmness they extended to them as well as enabling them to know the local conditions.

Karin Evers-Meyer, who immensely contributed to a medium-sized Sahaj Community Hospital said that she started politics from grassroots level and supported the community upliftment projects. Then she got elected at the district for mayor ship. She suggested the Nepalese leaders to organize the election of the parliament and local bodies so that it would be easier to monitor the performance and functions of the government. In Nepal also, she found people conscious of their rights and added that they can make the leaders accountable in solving their problems. Government is an instrument to improve people’s living standards. Nation-building can be completed only when women play pro-active role in public affairs and politics and influence public policies, Mrs. Karin observed.

Another speaker Holger Ortel said that for the development of your villages there is no need for you to become a member of any political party—UML or Congress. You have to avoid extreme partisanship and overcome ideological obsessions. Good education helps to understand and solve problems. But what is important in politics is common sense which is possessed by every individual.

FES, GIZ and other development organizations should contribute to local development, said Mr. Ortel.

These agencies can only show you the ways of development based on international experience, but you have to decide what is right for you. Local governance is generally based on the principle of subsidiarity, that is, decisions have to be taken at the local level. People should be the end of development and then comes the nation. You have to broaden your understanding to get cooperation from others. People have rights to put their demands on the government. The earning classes have to pay the tax and the government should increase the budget on education from 10 to 15 percent of the national budget.

Dev Raj Dahal, Head of Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Nepal office introduced the theme about social transformation in Nepal and said that Nepal sought to achieve transformation in five domains—context, discourse, issues, rules and actors. He said that Nepalese leaders and attentive public are using various terms-social change, social transformation and revolution to describe Nepal’s shift of regime power without knowing their deeper meaning and without creating preconditions. It was, therefore, difficult to consolidate change as political leaders failed to transform sovereignty to people, make politics public and transform diverse people into impersonal equal citizens. Consolidation of change requires modernization in five key areas—education, economy, technology, organization and leadership behavior, accountability and responsiveness. Only transformational leadership is capable of sustaining the change and balance three groups of rights-individual, group-specific and human rights-and steer the nation’s politics in responsive direction. He said at the moment there is only governance, not elected government of the people at the local level. Active citizenship can help achieve local government elections and address the concern of citizens for education, health, irrigation, jobs and other daily necessities of life.

The presentation was followed by lively discussion. Among the participants were Susma Bajracharya, Chau En-Lai Shrestha, Badri Nepal, Radha Chapagain, Padma Prasad Ghimire, Bhuvan Ale, Rajiv Neupane, Laxmi P. Khatiwada and Karun Sagar Subedi.

Bhim Prasad Sharma, Chairman of Sahaj Cooperative Hospital, thanked the German parliamentarians for sparing their time with them and sharing their experiences with the local people, supporting their initiatives and sharing concern for development. He thanked Karin Evers-Meyer for supporting the Sahaj Cooperative Hospital and FES for supporting the program.

Source: The Telegraph Weekly (20 February 2013)


Talk on Geostrategic Shift in Asia held <Top>

By a Staff Reporter

Kathmandu, Feb 15: The Institute of Foreign Affairs in collaboration with FES Nepal organised a talk programme on "Geostrategic Shift in Asia: Response of German Security and Foreign Policy" in the capital Friday.

German members of parliament Johannes Pflug, member of committee on political affairs and democracy, Karin Evers-Meyer, member of defense and budget committee and Holger Ortel, member of committee on food, agriculture and consumer protection were present in the programme.

Pflug said tht geostrategic shift that was taking place in the world would have serious implication on the regional and global security. "The rise of China, India and subsequent decline of European Union and other powers would bring new dynamics in the region."

For smaller countries in South Asia, this will have a special meaning for their own survival and they also need to adjust their policy with these changing global shifts of power, Pflug noted.

Dr. Bhekh Bahadur Thapa, Kul Chandra Gautam, Rajan Bhattarai and CP Gajurel also spoke at the function. Professor Shreedhar Khatri chaired the session.

Source: The Rising Nepal (16 February 2013)


German parliamentarians suggested ending Deadlock soon <Top>

The visiting German parliamentarians Johannes Pflug, Holger Ortel and Karin Evers-Meyer to Gaindakot expressed concern about Nepal's political stories and suggested Nepalese parties to break this situation as soon as possible. German parties played key role to break their authoritarian past and build modern architecture of development. They also suggested Nepalese parties to work for the nation's well beings. They interacted with local leaders, citizens and representatives of social institutions of Chitwan and Nawalparasi districts intensively about local and national developments and busied themselves. They visited Sahaj Community Hospital in Nawalparasi district run by Sahamati - an NGO having chapters in various parts of the country.

In a brief press meet at Bharatpur airport they said that Nepalese leaders have to be serious to solve the nation's problems. This is possible if they shorten the political transition. Karin Evers-Meyer said that Nepali government should focus on solving people's problems. She also expressed happiness to extend cooperation to Sahaj Community hospital. Bhim Prasad Sharma, Chairman of the hospital, explained the purpose of the visit of German parliamentarians and expected more cooperation in the days ahead. He also said that Nepal has to learn from the German progress in many areas. Head of FES, Dev Raj Dahal explained the transformation process in Nepal in a number of areas and the need for the modernization of the country. He said German cooperation is selfless. Chairman of Sahamati Karun Sagar Subedi, member of international department of Nepali Congress party Chauyenlai Shrestha and other greeted the guests.

Meanwhile the same day Sahaj Community hospital, Gaindakot and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung organized a dialogue on "Continuity and Transformation at the Local Level: Sharing of German - Nepali Experience". German MP Johannes Pflug, member of Foreign Affair Committee, shared the problems of Germany in the first and second world wars to now. Another MP Karin Evers-Meyer from defense and budget committee and MP Holger Ortel of agriculture and transport committee focused on the principle of subsidiary, that the local problems should be solved locally. They all stressed on local development as a backbone of strengthening democracy. Chairman of Sahamati Karuna Sagar Subedi said that the visit of German MPs will be a milestone to expedite the solution of Nepal's problems. Bhim Prasad Sharma thanked all the guests and participants.

Source: KayaKairan Daily News (15 February 2013)


German parliamentarians concerned about ongoing political stalemate <Top>

Visiting Gaidakot, Nawalparasi District German Parliamentarians expressed their views that the ongoing political stalemate in Nepal has to be ended. They suggested that stalemate causes instability. Referring the case of Germany they said that political parties played creative role for the rise of Germany as prosperous nation. They added Nepalese parties should play important role for the prosperity of Nepali nation.

They have arrived at Nawalparasi to interact with the local leaders, NGOs civil society and development organization of Chitwan and Nawalparasi districts on the political situation of the country and know the progress in development. They were busy on Thursday interacting with people and visiting the Sahaj Community Hospital, run by Sahamati which also organized program on "Continuity and Transformation at the Local Level: Sharing of German-Nepali Experience" German parliamentarian Karin Evers-Meyer, Holger Ortel and Johannes Pflug sharing their views expressed that leaders have to solve the problem of people. Bhim Prasad Sharma, Chairman of Sahaj Community Hospital, viewed that we have to learn a lot from German experience of democracy and development. Dev Raj Dahal, Head of FES, said that German attitude toward Nepal is always Cooperative and helpful.

Source: Chitwan Post, Daily (15 February 2013, Gaidakot, Nawalparasi)


German parliamentarian in Gaindakot <Top>

German Parliamentarians suggested Nepali political parties to end current deadlock as soon as possible. Positive and democratic behavior of German political parties transformed authoritarian post into a modern nation. They also stressed Nepalese leaders to stress on peace and prosperity.

They have come to Gaidakot to interact with political leaders, social workers and civil society to discuss about Nepal political and development situation. They were busy in visiting Sahaj Community hospital run by Sahamati - a national NGOs and interacted with the community members the whole Thursday. Speaking to the journalists at Bharatpur Airport they expressed that Nepalese leaders should reduce the time of political transition and engage in solving the problems of the country.

German Member of Parliament Karin Evers-Meyers after visiting Sahaj Community Hospital said that she is happy to support the hospital and added that Nepali government would be able to solve the problem of people.

Bhim Prasad Sharma, chairman of Sahaj Community Hospital, narrated the purpose of visit of German parliamentarian and expected more cooperation from the German side in the coming days. He also said that Nepal has to learn a lot from the Germany's democratic development.

Head of German Political Foundation FES in Nepal Dev Raj Dahal said that the EU and Germany often see Nepali positively. German team was greeted by the people at Bharatpur airport. Chairman of Sahamati Karun Sagar Subedi and Nepali Congress leader Chauyenlai Shrestha also welcomed the German delegation.

Source: Loktantra Sandesh, National Daily ( 14 February 2013, Gaidakot)

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