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NEPAL – Nepal parties urged to extend terms of constituent assembly

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(Bangkok, 26 May 2010) – Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM ASIA), a regional network of 46 human rights organizations working across Asia, has expressed its deep concern over the ongoing uncertainty over the term of the Constituent Assembly which is set to expire on May 28.

Following the signing of the historic Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA) in 2006, the various political parties in Nepal had taken part in the election of the Constituent Assembly in 2007, declared Nepal as a new Federal Republic and formed different committees under the Constituent Assembly (CA) in order to draft a new constitution. These were ground breaking events towards achieving lasting peace.

FORUM-ASIA is deeply concerned that the time of writing the Constitution is running out and the fact that to promulgate the Constitution on 28 May 2010 as scheduled is almost impossible now due to the stalled process in the past months. The consequences following the failure to extend the CA’s term would be disastrous for the stability of the country and could threaten to reignite the “10-year civil war” that had cost more than 15,000 lives.

We would like to urge the major political parties to start the process on obtaining a national consensus to extend term of the CA as stipulated in the Interim Constitution of Nepal, which could be a solution to the present political deadlock.

FORUM ASIA believes that no other political institution and process can be as legitimate as the Constituent Assembly to attain the efficacy needed in Nepal to restructure the nation according to the desires of the people, to ensure democratic rule of law, to institutionalize the people’s sovereignty and to create an atmosphere for all citizens to exercise all rights as envisioned by the CPA and the Interim Constitution that represent Nepali people’s aspirations.

We firmly believe that only by adhering to the past agreements signed between UCPN Maoist party and the government of Nepal, the parties can be brought together to accelerate the stalled Constitution writing process and bridge the demands of both sides for an agreed political arrangement.