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Nepalese Minority Groups; Struggle for Identity & Representation
Nepal has experienced a series of remarkable changes over the past few years as it has evolved from being a Hindu Kingdom with a Maoist insurgency to a secular Republic with a Maoist-led government. The people’s movement of April 2006, the November 2006 Comprehensive Peace Agreement to end the armed conflict, and the April 2008 Constituent Assembly election all marked critical steps towards the establishment of a peaceful and democratic Nepal. Yet, significant challenges remain ahead including addressing the exclusion of Minority and Indigenous Peoples.
Nepal is now poised to draft a new, more representative constitution. But concerns remain about whether the new Nepali state will reproduce a majoritarianism that will end up pushing some minorities onto the warpath and some into sullen submission. In order to avoid such a fate, the concerns of minorities must be heard.
For minority civil society to be able to play an active role in a modern democracy, civil society organizations need to have a deep knowledge of the international human rights framework, of the national legal system, and of the best strategies to interact with authorities and decision makers. This is a crucial concern for minority communities, which so far have been excluded from political participation.
Support Nepal, an organization working on equality issues, has produced a report entitled “Nepalese Minority Groups: struggle for identity and representation”. The report provides civil society an analytical understanding of the dynamics of exclusion and marginalization, which will help obtain the visibility on the minority issues. The report is attached here.