Known for its natural beauty and natural resource-rich and blessed with the highest peaks in the world for tourism, Nepal is often classified as a poor country working through the legacy of its decade-long internal armed conflict (1996-2006). The armed conflict claimed the lives of 17,000 people and displaced an estimated 100,000 more. The conflict was ended in 2006 when the democratic political parties and the Maoist’s brought about the end of a 240-year old monarchy and established a republic in Nepal.
The lead up events to the armed conflict included the declaration of a National State of Emergency in both 2001 and 2005 that caused further political instability and restricted a wide range of civil liberties, a move that was met with criticism abroad. The signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2006 ended the armed conflict and created a base for a permanent peace and a transition towards democratic politics. Substantial progress has been made in the implementation of the Accord, although tensions between the Maoists and other political groups are still strained.
While the nation was waking up from the violent past and embarking towards democratic politics through promulgating a new constitution and holding of elections, it suffered tremendously through natural calamities. A 7.8 magnitude earthquake and a series of aftershocks in 2015 resulted in the loss of thousands of lives and caused severe infrastructure damage across Nepal. Political infighting has in turn impeded the proper distribution of relief funds to the victims of the earthquake.
Nepalese people have suffered greatly in the aftermath of the powerful earthquakes and aftershocks, because of the shortage of humanitarian goods due a blockade imposed by India from September 2015. Such is further compounded by unfulfilled promises of justice to those who suffered in the civil war. The new government has committed to changing transitional justice law but as of 2017, has yet to come up with anything concrete. This perception of government negligence is worsened by frustrations over a new constitution that, it is claimed, ignores the political needs of minorities.
Protests against the constitutional reform escalated in 2016 into clashes with the Nepalese security forces leaving 57 people dead. However, the Government of Nepal ensured a smooth transition from violence to democratic politics by holding local elections 2017. This is a landmark beginning in the process of implementing a new constitution promulgated in September 2015, which is, indeed, a product of negotiation and compromises between the ideologically different political power groups.
Last updated: October 2017