Will Nepal’s new Constituent Assembly deliver on indigenous peoples’ aspirations for right to self-determination?

22 January 2014

By Prabindra Shakya

On 22 January 2014, as Nepal’s second Constituent Assembly (CA) held its first meeting in Kathmandu, leaders from across political divide have pledged to draw up a new constitution within a year to end the protracted constitution making process of the country.  A previous Assembly elected in 2008 was dissolved and the process suspended in May 2012 after parties failed to agree on key contentious issues, including form of federalism, in new constitution. With the new CA now underway, whether aspirations of Nepal’s indigenous peoples to exercise their right to self-determination (self-governance) in a federal Nepal is highly questionable. More

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NEPAL: Anti-federalism will lead to confrontation

The way in which the states will be carved, the rights to be allocated to various levels of governance and groups, on the issue of state restructuring, have created heated debates among many sectors. After the State Restructuring Commission’s report failed to bring parties together on the issue, and rather intensify the polarisation, the debates—inside parliament and out—on federalism continue. As Chairman of the Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities, Raj Kumar Lekhi has been at the forefront of the debate, speaking on behalf of marginalised communities. Also the Chairman of Tharu Kalyankarini Sabha, Lekhi spoke with Bidushi Dhungel and Gyanu Adhikari about the demands of the marginalised on state-restructuring, the Tharu perspective and the parties’ inability to explain adequately the need for federalism to the people. Excerpts: More

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