Haida repatriation thriving

Canoes in front of the museum in Haida Gwaii.

Canoes in front of the museum in Haida Gwaii.

I was happy to read an article recently about the Haida people repatriating articles from museums in Canada and around the world. In many cases the articles were stolen, in the 19th and 20th centuries, in the name of collecting evidence of dying indigenous peoples.  Continue reading

Time stands still for Nepal’s conflict victims

Suman Adhikari poses with a photo of his father Muktinath,

Suman Adhikari poses with a photo of his father Muktinath, one of the 17,000 victims of Nepal’s conflict, 1996-2006.

I set out to write an article about the vision underlying Nepal’s transitional justice (TJ) process — was the focus on truth, reparations, justice? etc. — but I quickly understood that any such theorizing was quickly overtaken by political leaders’ desire to use TJ to absolve them of responsibility.

Instead, I focused on some of the victims in this article for IPS News. I understand that efforts are being made to draft amendments to the laws creating the truth and disappearance commissions. If anyone has details, contact me.

“Reconstruction and reconciliation require finances and physical structure, but the families of the victims of the conflict first and foremost need their integrity protected. Physical and financial compensation mean little without justice,” wrote Suman Adhikari nearly 11 years ago, during a ceasefire in Nepal’s Maoist insurgency. Continue reading

Conflict victims a casualty of Nepal’s transitional justice process

2006 People's Movement

Praying for Peace

I recently reviewed a report by the Nepal office International Centre for Transitional Justice and Martin Chautari, a think-tank in Kathmandu. The focus was what ‘truth’ means for victims of the 10-year Maoist insurgency. I wrote:

Referring to the dysfunctional truth and disappearance commissions the report says: ‘So far only a relatively narrow constituency of two broadly opposing sides has been involved in debates. Among national and international NGOs, human rights lawyers, and victims’ groups, the dominant discourse has focused on the demand for individual criminal accountability, while government leaders and representatives of the major political parties and security forces have worked to ensure that criminal prosecution and trials are completely off the table.’

Read my full article on the website of Nepali Times.

I’ve written previously about the conflict and its victims, including this blog post.

Fired up over tobacco in Nepal

A No Smoking activist approaches a man smoking during a campaign in Kathmandu in 2011. (c) RECPHEC

My latest article for Nepali Times hearkens back to my days as Communications Manager for the global NGO, Framework Convention Alliance:

Earlier this month, Health Minister Gagan Thapa told a workshop of South Asian activists fighting tobacco use that Nepal would adopt plain packaging of cigarettes in 2018 and make the country tobacco-free by 2030. Revealed just weeks before World No Tobacco Day on 31 May, the minister’s timing was great, but what about the content of his message?

Read the full article.

In-depth reporting on Nepal’s elections

Most English-language media in Kathmandu reporting on ongoing local elections have limited themselves to noting the numerical quotas for low-caste, ‘Dalit’, candidates.

But the Centre for Investigative Journalism (CIJ) went a step further by interviewing a group of Dalit women in Saptari district, including candidates, voters and would-be voters. (Why would someone be a ‘would-be’ voter? Click on the article link below to find out). Continue reading

Nepal’s villagers; Canada’s Indigenous People

A Nepali woman gets a pre-birth checkup. (c) UNICEF.

On the surface they are poles apart: Canada, one of the world’s most ‘developed’ nations and Nepal, still classified as a least developed country. But still, I keep finding parallels between villagers in Nepal and Canada’s poorest — Indigenous People. (See a previous post). Continue reading

INGOs in Nepal positive about post-earthquake performance

Blog_INGOsQuake_150417

This cartoon is from Nepal’s Republica newspaper, which has published many articles critical of INGOs working in post-earthquake aid and reconstruction.

International NGOs working in Nepal were severely criticised after the 25 April 2015 earthquake for not delivering what they promised, especially given the amount if money  they raised through emergency appeals. Some criticisms continue.

This week I interviewed a representative of INGOs, who told me that any mistakes they made were due to the need to react quickly and save lives. Read more below.

A shorter version of the article was published in Nepali Times.

Nearing the second anniversary of the 25 April 2015 earthquake, international NGOs say any flaws in their work stem from the need to act immediately, and the stifling bureaucracy of the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA). Continue reading