Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Tom Daschle

Senator Tom Daschle:

I want to acknowledge and thank the national Democratic Institute for supporting my visit to Nepal. In this past week, I have met with His Majesty King Gyanendra, political party leaders, civil society representatives, business people, and many others. My purposes in coming to Nepal were three-fold: to express the people of Nepal the strong support of the American people for the restoration of democracy and democratic institutions and the resolution of the violent Maoist insurgency; to assess the current political crisis; and to urge Nepal's political leaders to come together expeditiously to resolve Nepal's crisis, recognizing how the current impasse imperils democracy and progress.

It is clear that the Maoist conflict must be resolved through a political solution and that this will be most effectively undertaken after reconciliation is achieved between the political parties and the palace. The need for reconciliation between the king and the mainstream political parties is immediate. All personal and partisan considerations should now be put aside for the good of the Nepali people.

It is incumbent upon the King, given his stature, to call upon the political parties to become partners in a dialogue to restore democracy and peace to Nepal and make this a priority of His Government. His Majesty's Government must also respect and restore all civil and political rights, including freedom of the press, and the resumption of news broadcasts on FM radio. He must also remove any restrictions on peaceful assembly and expression. The RNA must continue to improve its performance in respecting the human rights of both civilians and combatants while fighting against the Maoist insurgency. All political prisoners should be released, including former Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and Prakash Man Singh, and the Royal Commission For Corruption Control (RCCC) should be dissolved and corruption cases referred to the constitutionally-created Commission for the Investigation of the Abuse of Authority (CIAA). Attempts by the palace to consolidate royal power through controls on the civil service, the education system, NGOs, the press, and other areas should be reversed and ended. Corrupt individuals and convicted criminals should have no place in His Majesty's Government. Without a resolution of the crisis and a quick return by the Palace to constitutional norms, there will be growing civil unrest and growing discontent in Nepal with the institution of the monarchy.

Political parties deserve praise for the many achievements made under the twelve years of parliamentary democracy, and for the current unity of purpose that they are now displaying. Nevertheless, they can and should do more to alleviate the political crisis, Understanding that corruption has in no way been limited to political parties, but has been present in many Nepali institutions, political parties must nonetheless demonstrate to the Nepali people a willingness to improve their performance and fight corruption where necessary. They should commit publicly to genuine party reform, internal democracy, transparency and accountability and the removal of corrupt figures from their ranks. They should also offer a clear and detailed blueprint for change, progress and peace to the people and recapture the Nepali people's faith through their actions and commitments. They should also unconditionally and unambiguously offer to begin dialogue with the king, regardless of past wrongs, real and perceived.

The Maoist threat is serious and ongoing and must be resolved. Besides the terrible human suffering caused by this violent insurgency, it is undermining economic progress in Nepal as well as the institutions of democracy. A military victory by either side in this conflict is very unlikely. The only real solution is political. While the social issues raised have legitimacy, the violent tactics the Maoists employ are universally condemned by the Nepali people. The Maoists must respect human rights and stop the abuse of civilians through abduction, extortion and violence. The underlying social issues driving the Maoist movement should be addressed by a democratic government and the Maoists themselves must renounce violence and take their ideas to the mainstream of politics where they can be judged by the Nepali people in free elections.

The people of Nepal, with the support of the international community should demand that all parties to this impasse make democracy and peace their most urgent priority. America firmly supports a restoration of democracy in Nepal. And I urge the king to return immediately to constitutional democratic principles. A return to Panchayat-style governance is unacceptable and will only lead to more difficulties for both the nation and the monarchy in the future. The restoration of democracy in Nepal is the only way to achieve progress and peace. The people of the United States and other friends in the international community stand ready and willing to help in this critical effort.

In The News
  • NC-D to launch political fight against Royal Commission Kantipur ... would work together with the seven-party alliance to fight against the Royal Commission for Corruption Control..... A meeting of the party’s Central Working Committee .... Most of the leaders opined that they need to launch a political fight and move the Supreme Court against the commission. .... the decision on the issue would be made public only after the legal consultations.
  • Prachanda welcomes seven-party statement Kantipur “The statement of seven political parties is a step forward in building political consensus,” Prachanda said ..... said that his party had already issued directives to its cadres at all the levels to cooperate with the local activists of agitating political parties..... his party also expected the political parties to issue directives of a same kind to their local level activists......
  • Army requests civilians not to kill Maoists Kantipur ... the incidents of death of some Maoists at the hands of the civilians, who came out in retaliation against their excesses.... villagers in Dhading and Makwanpur districts killed seven Maoists a few days ago.... “It would be proper for the civilians to hand over such criminals to the security forces for legal action instead of taking law in one’s own hand”
  • Students’ detention extended by a week Kantipur .... Kathmandu District Administration Office Monday slapped another week-long detention on the six students who were arrested on July 14 under the Public Offence Act...... the second time the authorities have extended their detention period....Pradeep Poudel, vice president of Nepal Students’ Union, Thakur Gaire, Saroj Thapa, Narayan Bharti, B.P. Regmi and Puspa Shah
  • ‘Parties should be strong’ Kantipur .... Krishna Pahadi said that civil society members urged Daschle to get into the root causes of political instability and the Maoist conflict
  • ‘Silence of int'l community misunderstood' Kantipur .... "What they (rulers) don't understand is this is not silence but isolation," said Dixit while speaking at a talk program in New York, Sunday. "If there is no major breakthrough soon, this isolation could be fatal.".... despite the severe pressure on the Nepali media, leading newspapers, in particular, have gone to the edge in criticizing the banning news on FMs, the government itself is forcing people to listen to clandestine radios run by Maoists since it has no control over the rebels' radio
  • Speaker’s stand puts CJ appointment in limbo Kantipur Constitutional Council (CC) has hit a virtual deadlock with the Speaker of the House of Representatives refusing to attend a CC meeting to recommend a name for the next chief justice (CJ) citing the absence of a sitting prime minister, who constitutionally chairs the meeting...... Speaker Taranath Ranabhat ..... the government's suggestion that the CJ could chair the CC in the absence of a prime minister. .... the government had suggested invoking either Article 127 of the constitution or preparing working procedure of the CC under Article 117 (3) and (4).... The top judicial post becomes vacant on July 29 when the CJ Hari Prasad Sharma, retires on grounds of age..... the Speaker's stance has heightened the possibility of the king invoking Article 127 to give authority to the incumbent chief justice to call and head the CC meeting
  • ‘House’ asks parties to hold talks with rebels Kantipur ..... A joint meeting of Upper House members and members of the dissolved House of Representatives, on Tuesday, asked the seven political parties to take initiatives for a dialogue with Maoists, while also urging the rebels to create a conducive atmosphere..... "Dialogue is the only way to resolve the Maoist problem and political parties have the capacity to do so" ..... a separate ten-point resolution...... condemned the Royal Commission for Corruption Control (RCCC) for its political witch-hunt .... denounced the finance ordinance made public by the government in the form of "budget", civil service ordinance and the ordinance related to NGOs' activities...... extended support to the protest programs initiated by professional organizations, lawyers, journalists and members of civil society. They condemned the government's "harassment" of journalists...... said they were forced to stand against monarchy as the monarch was trying to project monarchy as an alternative to democracy....... "Our absolute democracy is a step close to the republic" ..... the parties would bring Maoists to the peace process come what may. .... Nepal warned that parties have arrived at a position to consider even the abolition of monarchy...... the king had failed in every front during his direct rule...... Bharat Bimal Yadav, vice-chairman of Nepal Sadbhavana Party (A) claimed he was informed about a secret plot of the palace to impose a ban on political parties by December....... Bharat Bimal Yadav, vice-chairman of Nepal Sadbhavana Party (A) claimed he was informed about a secret plot of the palace to impose a ban on political parties by December.
  • Former US senator calls for Nepal democracy Reuters AlertNet, UK
  • Daschle Presses Nepal King on Democracy Newsday
  • Nepal king under fire over coup BBC News
  • Former US senator calls for Nepal democracy Boston Globe, United States
  • Daschle presses Nepal king on democracy San Jose Mercury News, United States
  • Daschle Presses Nepal King on Democracy Los Angeles Times, CA
  • Daschle presses Nepal king on democracy News & Observer, NC
  • Daschle Presses Nepal King on Democracy The Ledger, FL
  • US concerned over lack of progress in Nepal reconciliation Japan Today, Japan "Our concern is to see the process of reconciliation between the king and the political parties. We have not seen much progress at all," Moriarty said

No comments: