Monday, July 20, 2009

Nepal: Healing the scars of war

A new United Nations-backed project aims to help heal the scars left by Nepal's decade-long civil war, using transitional justice mechanisms to spur reconciliation.

The “Peace through Justice” initiative, financed through a $2 million grant from the UN Peace Fund for Nepal (UNPFN), will go into effect tomorrow and seeks to aid in setting up effective transitional justice systems provided for in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the 2006 pact ended the conflict between forces loyal to the former King of Nepal and Maoists.

According to a press release issued by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nepal (OHCHR-Nepal), “a systematic approach to dealing with the past can help societies heal and work their way back to normality. Establishing the facts of the conflict, acknowledging the losses suffered by the victims and providing a platform for justice helps end impunity and aids reconciliation.”

The project, which will run initially for 12 months, will support the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction (MoPR) to set up bodies, such as the Commission on Inquiry on Disappearances.

Its focus will also be on documenting human rights and international humanitarian law violations committed during the conflict, which claimed some 13,000 lives.

Further, the new initiative will engage civil society, including victims' groups, at the grassroots level.

“As past experience has shown, the goals of strengthening democracy and peace are more likely to be achieved with active consultation, and participation of victims groups, civil society and the general public,” the OHCHR-Nepal press release said.

Source: UN News Centre
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