Conclude Peace Process

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As various sections of society have kept on raising the issue of transitional justice, nine political parties have promised to carry out the remaining task of the peace process at the earliest. They have assured that the government will table a bill in the ongoing session of the federal parliament in order to deliver justice to the victims of the decade-long conflict and their families. Nearly one and a half decades have passed since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA) between the then government and the erstwhile Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist).

The CPA was a milestone pact aiming at paving the way for ending conflict and building peace in the country. But the peace process has got delayed due to various factors. It was only in 2014 that the much-envisaged Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and the Commission for Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons (CIEDP) were constituted to advance the peace process. These two transitional justice mechanisms have already carried out some of the responsibilities assigned to them. The TRC has got about 60,000 complaints and about 3,200 cases have been filed with the CIEDP from across the country. 

The political parties now seem to have become quite serious about concluding the peace process as a whole, healing pains and ending sufferings of the conflict victims and their kith and kin. The conflict era was very painful. More than 17,000 people, including civilians, insurgents, and security personnel, were killed while thousands of others were injured and maimed. Besides, hundreds of thousands of people, especially from rural areas of the country, were displaced. Those who lost their near and dear ones are still going through psychological trauma as the process of reconciliation and rehabilitation is yet to complete. Anyway, it is a laudable initiative on the part of the top leaders of the nine parties -- CPN-Maoist Centre, Nepali Congress, CPN-Unified Socialist, Janamat Party, Loktantrik Samajbadi Party-Nepal, Nepal Samajbadi Party, Janata Samajbadi Party and Rastriya Janamorcha — to express their firm commitment to finishing the rest of the work related to the peace process. 

In its fresh ruling, the Supreme Court (SC) has also stated that the conflict era cases must not be prolonged further. With the lingering of the peace process, even the international community has keenly been watching the situation of transitional justice in Nepal. It has time and again been calling on the political parties as well as the successive governments to prioritise the conclusion of the peace process. Despite the extension of the tenure of the TRC and CIEDP in 2018, these mechanisms could not close the peace process due to the existing legal provisions and procedural obstacles. Bearing all this in mind, the nine parties have decided to formulate laws to deal with the impediments associated with the transitional justice system forever. 

Issuing a joint statement on Sunday evening, the nine parties said that their serious attention was drawn towards the issues of transitional justice. They stated that the remaining task of the peace process would be advanced out in line with the CPA to deliver justice to the conflict victims. The parties that met at the Prime Minister's official residence also decided to discourage the recent happenings which were against the existing system of governance and the constitution. It is the responsibility of all the stakeholders, including political parties, civil society and the general people, to contribute towards safeguarding the hard-won constitution. Durable peace is a precondition for any nation to make strides on the path of development and prosperity.

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