Construction is happening everywhere in Nepal’s capital Kathmandu. Within a square kilometre of where I live there must be dozens of projects going up, mostly houses but also hotels, and other projects.
The work, such as mixing cement and hammering nails, is almost all done by hand, and the workers are not equipped with special clothing or safety gear. Passing many sites it’s obvious that the workforce lives on-site, sometimes in tents but, as I discovered writing and filming this article, sometimes in the cement shells of the buildings themselves.
Most of the workers are from other parts of Nepal, and neighbouring India. In Hotel Kutumba, where I spent some time, there were groups of 4 or 5 from various districts. Read the full article on the Nepali Times website or watch the video below:
I passed this damaged building walking in and out of Chisapani a couple of weeks ago. The village is on the northern edge of the Kathmandu Valley, in Shivapuri National Park.
The Asia Foundation in Nepal continues doing a series of post-earthquake surveys of households whose homes were damaged or destroyed by the 2015 earthquakes.
I am impressed that more than two years after the devastation TAF continues to follow-up and I suspect that the information they’re collecting will be useful in future post-disaster situations. More than that, I hope someone at the Nepal government body responsible for earthquake recovery, the Nepal Reconstruction Authority, is reading these reports and seriously considering their recommendations. Continue reading
A cartoon from issue 702 of Nepali Times (11-17 April 2014). It depicts former Prime Minister Girija P Koirala (left) and former Maoist leader Pushpa K Dahal.
Nepal has successfully won a seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council, the senior-most human rights body among the world’s governments.
The Himalayan nation was elected for a two-year term during the recent UN General Assembly, despite a rocky human rights record at home. This includes setting up commissions to probe alleged human rights abuses during the 1996-2006 Maoist uprising that fail to meet global standards, and ignoring orders from Nepal’s Supreme Court to fix them.
The consensus among human rights experts who I interviewed recently is that Nepal should fix its own human rights record before bidding for a seat on the United Nations human rights council—or at least do both simultaneously. Continue reading
(c) Kunda Dixit, Nepali Times
Nepal faces a lot of challenges, not least of which is rebuilding after the earthquakes of 2015. Add to that the very long, ongoing political transition and, as of last week, disastrous flooding in the south.
So, I often ask myself: how fair it is to criticise one of the world’s poorest countries for progressing so slowly on certain issues? (And reminding myself that Nepal has made great strides in some areas, such as the health of mothers and newborns). This may be one of those questions that I’ll never answer satisfactorily and for now I’ll fall back on the opinions of others. Continue reading
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
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.