Indian Election Commissioner Visits Nepal
Dr. S Y Quraishi, Chief Election Commissioner of India, visited Nepal at the invitation of the Acting Chief Election Commissioner of Nepal Neel Kantha Uprety.
Dr. Quraishi also held talks with Uprety in which the two discussed ways to enhance bilateral cooperation between election commissions of Nepal and India. The two Chief Election Commissioners also signed a Memorandum of Understanding for Cooperation in the field of Electoral Management and Administration on 6 June 2011. The MoU is aimed at enhancing bilateral cooperation and deriving mutual benefits by establishing a mechanism for promoting cooperation for exchange, consultation and cooperation.
Dr. Quraishi also gave a talk on ‘Managing Indian Elections- Sharing Experiences and Prospects for Cooperation’. He shared experiences and innovations of Election Commission of India in managing elections with Constituent Assembly members, officials of Election Commission of Nepal, and the media.
Indian Assistance To Tribhuvan University
Indian Embassy and Tribhuvan University singed a Memorandum of Understanding for an Indian grant assistance of NRs. 95.33 lakhs for renovation of Gandhi Bhawan and Zakir Hussain Rose Garden at the Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, under Nepal-India Economic Cooperation Programme.
The Indian government has a long association with the Tribhuvan University, the largest University in Nepal. Renovation of the Gandhi Bhawan and Zakir Hussain Rose Garden is a part of the continuing cooperation with Tribhuvan University. India has already assisted Tribhuvan University by constructing the buildings of the Departments of Chemistry, Botany and Zoology, University Library, and the students’ hostel to provide accommodation for 50 students, among others.
UK Raises Nepal’s Human Rights Concerns
The UN Human Rights Council today adopted its Final Report on Nepal’s Universal Periodic Review. The UK Permanent Representative in Geneva, Ambassador Peter Gooderham, raised the concern over the abuse of human rights in Nepal.
“We are alarmed by recent reports that the Nepalese Government is seeking the withdrawal of conflict-era criminal cases currently before the courts, relating to State and Maoist forces alike. This contradicts the Government’s acceptance of several UPR recommendations to tackle impunity, and is against the spirit of the peace agreements. Furthermore, such a move would constitute an effective amnesty for alleged perpetrators of grave human rights violations and abuses, putting Nepal in potential breach of its international legal obligations. We urge the Government to ensure that police investigations and criminal cases are allowed to proceed,” ambassador said.
The Last Minefield Cleared
On 14 June 2011, an event jointly organized by the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction and the United Nations Mine Action Team, UNMAT sought to clear the last of the landmines planted during the conflict at Phulchoki, Lalitpur.
The minefield in Phulchoki is one of the 53 locations throughout the country where landmines were laid by the Nepal Army to protect military installations and physical infrastructure such as communications and hydropower stations. During the decade-long armed conflict, Nepal was at risk of landmines as well as other explosive remnants of war that threatened the safety and security of the communities. They continued to maim and kill the people even after the hostilities ceased. The landmines, however, were just laid by the Nepal Army.
EU Delegation Pledges Rs. 20 Crores
In keeping with the longstanding tradition of working with the civil society, the European Union Delegation to Nepal launched its fourth call (first one launched in 2007) for proposals under the Non-State Actors in Development Programme (NSA).
The Call aims at promoting Good Governance under (Lot I) and Trade and Economic Capacity Building under (Lot II). A total sum of EUR 2,000,000 (NPR 20 Crores) has been set aside for the two lots.
"The primary aim of the Call is to work with the local partners in Nepal with the objective to, on the one hand, improve democratic governance through reinforcing the demand side of government accountability, and on the other, support economic development," Dr. Alexander Spachis, Ambassador, Head of European Union Delegation to Nepal said in his launching remarks.
Dr. Spachis said that partners selected under Lot-II will work towards bringing about sustainable economic growth by promoting a strengthened business enabling environment. The overall focus of the programme will be to improve the capacity of stakeholders in the trade and economic sectors so that they can contribute effectively to the implementation of the Nepal Trade Integration Strategy NTIS (2010), Dr. Spachis added.
British Council Reshaping Language Services
The British Council is reshaping its English language services in Nepal to ensure that a wider range of young people and teachers benefit from high quality English products. These changes include the discontinuation of teaching at the British Council’s Lainchaur centre in Kathmandu, with effect from 22 July 2011.
The British Council’s focus will shift to providing English language resources for teachers and students through partner organizations. This builds on the significant work already undertaken by the British Council with in-service teacher training. Since 2008, the British Council, in cooperation with governmental and non-governmental partners, has provided training to almost 3,000 teachers of English across Nepal.
“We have reviewed the way in which we provide English language services in Nepal. We believe we can have a much greater impact by playing a more transformational role, encouraging a more widespread improvement in teaching standards and providing opportunities for young learners across Nepal,” said director of the British Council Robert Monro.
EU, Norway and Switzerland Welcome CA Extension
The Ambassadors of the European Union Member States in Kathmandu along with the ambassadors of Norway and Switzerland welcomed the extension of Constituent Assembly and called on parties to make use of fresh opportunity to conclude the peace process successfully.
With the agreement among the political parties to extend the term of the Constituent Assembly, consensual politics in Nepal remains on course, the ambassadors stated.
They urged the parties to make use of the fresh opportunity to draft a democratic and inclusive constitution within the next three months and ensure that the agreements they have reached on the integration and rehabilitation of the former Maoist combatants is brought to a successful conclusion.
They have stated in the statement that they are looking forward to the finalisation of the Constitution, which will pave way for free and fair elections and lasting peace and stability in Nepal, the ambassadors stated.
Kelly Clements Visits Nepal, Bhutan
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration Kelly Clements visited Bhutan from June 2 to 5 and Nepal from June 5 to 6 to discuss humanitarian protection and assistance issues for refugees and other vulnerable populations in the region.
In Bhutan, DAS Clements met with government leaders to urge Bhutan to take tangible immediate steps to help resolve the protracted refugee situation in Nepal as a sign of Bhutan’s commitment to democratic values and human rights. During these fruitful discussions, the government of Bhutan reiterated its April 2011 offer to the government of Nepal to reengage in bilateral discussions as soon as possible on the modalities for the voluntary return and reintegration of refugees with legitimate citizenship claims to Bhutan. The government of Bhutan also agreed to examine other ways to resolve this humanitarian situation in a humane and expedient manner, especially for the most vulnerable.
Filipino Independence Day Fiesta
The Filipino Community in Nepal (FCN) celebrated 113 years of Philippine Independence in a unique and meaningful way: by giving back to grassroots communities in Dhading district.
In an informal Filipino fiesta lunch Sunday, June 12, the Filipino community presented some of the work it has been doing in the rural areas of Dhading – FCN’s way of marking Philippine Independence Day in Nepal this year.
In March 2011, with the help of local partners, FCN identified wards in Dhading district for assistance out of the proceeds of a cultural show which it staged in December 2010. FCN members visited the identified communities – Malekhu, Soraghar, Tingare, Simle in Neelkantha VDC wards 3, 4, and 7 – met with community people and discussed with them about their needs.
In April, FCN came back bringing school supplies (notebooks, pens, pencils, crayons) for 682 students from primary to Grade 5 in five schools, educational materials, and sporting goods for the youth.
FCN came back to Soraghar in mid-May, this time bringing a trainer to pilot a 15-day mat weaving training using natural fibers.
FCN President Joyce Mendez says: “We cannot give school supplies every year, but we can give more enduring gifts than one-time give a ways, something that will help these women help themselves – skills to earn them income, especially during off-farm season. Then, they can buy their children’s school supplies next time.”
FCN provided the looms and training implements, threads and start-up materials. It also brought in mat weaver and trainer Shila Nepali, Nepal’s ‘Best Woman Entrepreneur’ in 2009, a recognition given by the Federation of Nepal Cottage and Small Industries (FNCSI). Shila Nepali is from the Dalit caste, but she serves as inspiration and role model to many women for having been able to transcend the barriers set by her caste and poverty to make something of herself.
“There are many other projects that we can do in the villages – from organic home gardens to fruit-bearing trees for its community forests, water harvesting, recycling and efficient use of resources, says the FCN President. “We can contribute to making these villages model green communities of the future that other villages in Nepal and the world would aspire to copy. For us at FCN, this is an interesting social laboratory, our learning communities in doing social work in Nepal.”
A Youth Survey Report Released
The Youth Survey report on Employment oppurtunities in Nepal was made public at a dissemination event recently. Conducted by British Council Nepal, various stake holders including youth organisations, donor organisations working with young people and representatives from the Ministry of Youth attended the ceremony.
The survey was conducted in Kathmandu, Siraha, Rolpa and Bhajhang. The latter three districts were chosen on the basis of their remoteness and being the most affected areas during the insurgency and Madhesh andolan.
During the event the British Council Country Director, Dr. Robert Monro handed over the copy of the report to the Minister Hit Bahadur Tamang, Ministry of Youth and Sports. Dr Monro said on the occasion “The young people of Nepal represent the future of this country and this report gives a valuable insight into how they see that future. It does not make for comfortable reading, but it does give a clear indication to the government on what needs to be done to avoid future conflict and build a more prosperous society. I hope that the government will listen.”