Nepal’s diversity of ethnic groups, languages and castes means that fair representation is crucial for maintaining peace. However, when the concerns of marginalised groups are ignored, the resulting insecurity and instability can often cause conflict within communities. Protests and rallies in opposition to the 2015 constitution that devolved power to newly-created federal states – particularly in the Terai, Far-West and Mid-West regions – continue to lead to unrest and violence. While the new constitution is a positive step towards peace and fairer representation, genuine efforts to address grievances of minority and marginalised groups will ensure greater legitimacy and acceptance of the document.
Saferworld believes that inclusive, transparent and accountable government is essential to break Nepal’s cycle of conflict. Since 2009, we have worked with communities and marginalised groups to enable them to hold constructive meetings and discussions with authorities. We work with donors to assist and strengthen governance that is inclusive and responsive to people’s concerns and informed by their needs. We work with different levels of the government to ensure inclusivity, accountability and transparency – while at the same time bringing together communities, partners and police to tackle security concerns that affect their lives. Examples of our work with communities include advocating for and establishing new policing posts, conducting community dialogues, and working with the police to improve their understanding of communities and challenge negative perceptions towards the police or the authorities. We also connect these communities with government representatives so that their voices are heard and incorporated into new laws and policies.
Our approach is collaborative, working closely with communities, civil society, media, business and politicians to put in place the principles of the Open Government Partnership – a multilateral agreement that aims to ensure that commitments from government are acted upon. Commitments include empowerment, anti-corruption and transparency-based solutions to Nepal’s changing political landscape.