Nepal Political Delegation visits Ireland
Nepal Political Delegation visits Ireland

peace agreements into a lasting settlement is a long and arduous road
fraught with challenges, at every step. That at least was one the
lasting impression left with the Nepali delegation who visited Ireland
in late September.
From ceasefires in 1994 it has taken over 12 years of painstaking work
to establish a power sharing government in the European country.


comprehensive peace agreement ending the 10-year war was signed in
2006. Could it make the transition shorter? What were Ireland’s
sticking points and how did they get around them?


These at least were some of the questions in the minds of the 8 person delegation.

in the delegation were representatives of the three largest parties in
the elected constitutional assembly including the minister of peace and
reconstruction as well as two ministry secretaries and an under


visit was supported by Ireland’s Dept of Foreign Affairs, Conflict
Resolution Unit. Local logistics were handled by The Glencree Centre
for Reconciliation. Joe Campbell, UMN’s Lead Advisor in Conflict
Transformation, was the facilitator in the eight daylong programme
called ‘a sharing and learning visit.’


a time of increased political tensions in Nepal getting party and
delegates’ agreement to travel and work together for a week involved
several rounds of meetings and phone calls in the weeks prior to the
visit.  Agreeing a joint power-point presentation
of the situation in Nepal surfaced more bones of contention but in the
end there was remarkable co-operation, good humour and even friendships
formed as the days progressed.


In Dublin and Belfast  political leaders conversations focused on areas of common interest and learning.

People missing after the civil war. In
Nepal the numbers are at least 1200. What to do? How to bring closure
for people with no body to cremate? We met members of the Victims
Commission in Belfast and heard about their work.

Political partnership after a civil war. We
met and observed the tensions and difficulties between politicians in
Northern Ireland when a civil war ends without declared winners and
losers. Sharing power and working co-operatively with “the enemy”

Financing a peace process over
the years was provided for in Ireland by several sources, including The
Ireland Fund, the European Union and the UK and Ireland governments.
Nepal’s Peace Trust Fund has similar arrangements.

The roles and responsibilities of  “outside” individuals and countries in supporting peace efforts. We
heard of the various commissions in Ireland over the years, all of them
having people of international standing holding parties and governments
to account.

The rehabilitation of ex-combatants, some moving into politics others into social action programmes and civil society.

Attending to the needs of
those suffering from the traumatic effects of violence. The health,
educational and social needs of victims and survivors, we found, has
the potential to slow or even derail a peace process.


met members of civil society in Belfast over dinner and presented the
Nepal peace process followed by discussion and interaction. In Dublin
with staff of the Department of Foreign affairs Conflict Resolution
Unit there was a lively discussion and presentation about Nepal’s
struggles to establish a political settlement, a discussion that
spilled over into a long lunch at a nearby hotel.


willingness of Irish politicians and officials both north and south to
share the pain, frustrations and challenges of working for a just and
peaceful society impressed the Nepalese delegation. Even during our
visit new problems and disagreements emerged in Northern Ireland on
security issues, making it clear to the visitors that Irelands peace
process is still a work in progress.


After a visit like this the question always is: was it a success?  How
are we to build on it? Well, the group are still meeting together, and
discussing ways in which the experience can sink deeper into their
parties. How can parties better communicate with one another even in
times of tension?  How can individual politicians see beyond their worst fears to the other party’s best intensions?   These
are all discussion points for future meetings. Yes, Nepal’s peace
process has made a good start; the road ahead will be hard, sometimes
dangerous and probably very long. The group who visited Ireland will be
among those who lead the way. They deserve our support and also our

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