With the launch of “People’s War” under the banner of Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) in 1996, thousands of rural villagers including female and children took part in a violent conflict in the hope to establish new democratic state. Nepal, the country known for the birth place of Buddha, a country contributing in the UN Peacekeeping operations around the globe, suddenly its image was shattered. Violent cases of destruction of vital infrastructures, loss of thousands of lives, disappearance of hundreds of them, and violation of fundamental human rights sooner spread within the 10 years of the violent Conflict.
In 2006, Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed in an attempt to resolve the violent conflict by peaceful means. Although, Government introduced the Reintegration of ECs in three categories: Integration into national security forces, voluntary retirement with financial compensation and rehabilitation, majority of the ECs choose the cash options i.e. Voluntary retirement which miserably failed to provide them with skills, knowledge and capacity to lead a sustainable livelihood. Not only their hopes were dashed to see a total transformation of a state, economically, politically and socially but also Governments shortcomings towards addressing their grievances and injustice, psycho- social needs left them with a fatigue and frustration, moreover, the government’s support also lacked in encouraging the community people to accept
ECs through reconciliatory efforts.
Under the Support of Measures to Strengthen the Peace Process Project (STTP) / GIZ, Forum for Protection of Public Interest (Pro Public) conducted a survey report on Community-based integration of Ex-Combatants (ECs) in four pilot communities, Rakachuli and Nayabelhani/ Nawalparasi district, Dubiya/ Kapilvastu district, Baijapur/ Banke district and Mangragadi/ Bardiya district. The four host communities were selected by STPP on the basis of the number of ECs and dependents settling there.
The survey was conducted to explore the concerns and conditions of communities, existing conflict resolution mechanisms, and capacity building options for both the communities and ECs, concerns of ECs and perceptions of stakeholders, in each of the four communities. In addition, the research also sought to assess the extent to which ECs are affected by Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Readiness to Reconcile (R2R), which could potentially impact upon their integration into society.
The location of the research site are as follows:
The major goal of a survey was to explore the possibilities and opportunities which could strengthen the relationship between the ex-combatants and the host community and to provide information for further planning and strategy building for STPP’s interventions on the integration and reconciliation of voluntary retired ECs with their host communities. The survey explicitly remained focused in the following aspects:
- Community conditions and Concerns
- Conflict Resolution Mechanisms
- Capacity building for Community and ECs
- Concerns of ECs
- Stakeholders Perception
A total of 55 Focus Group Discussions (FGDs), 88 EC questionnaires and 123 stakeholder interviews were completed in the four communities. The following concerns; Demographic data of the district, concerns and the capacities of the community, conflict resolution mechanism, concerns and capacities of ECs and stakeholders review in the four districts namely Rakachuli and Nayabelhani/ Nawalparasi District, Dubiya/ Kapilvastu District, Baijapur/ Banke District and Mangragadi/ Bardiya District was surveyed.
Majority of the community viewed unemployment, lack of market to the agricultural products; transportation to connect to the market, not well maintained water resources as a shortcoming to the economic development of a community whereas they also mentioned the need of health posts, schools, agricultural development, as a tool to develop community. Many identified the need for trainings in agricultural practices, animal husbandry, tailoring and cutting, skilled/ technical training and for adult education training as well. Among the ECs, anticipated trainings were agricultural, vegetable farming, veterinary, beauty parlor, bike repairing, computer, driving, and mobile repairing.
In all the surveyed districts the acceptance of ECs as an integral part of the peace process was observed. The community people and stakeholders perceived no difficulties in accepting ECs, indicating a favorable environment for peaceful integration between the community and ECs. ECs also felt that the community has perceived them positively and the 100% of ECs expressed desire to contribute to society by participating in development and peace building projects through various activities.