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The ICRC in Nepal

01-03-2014 Overview

Since the end of Nepal’s armed conflict in 2006, the ICRC has been addressing the humanitarian consequences of the conflict and helping people affected by recurrent unrest. We help the Nepal Red Cross Society, State authorities and other bodies to boost their emergency capacities, and we promote international humanitarian law. The ICRC carries out most of its work jointly with the National Society.

Current situation

Although a peace accord ended Nepal's armed conflict in 2006, the drafting of a new constitution remains uncertain following the dissolution of the Constitutional Assembly as a consequence of fundamental disagreements among Nepal political forces over the terms of the new constitution. However, the rehabilitation and return to society of former People's Liberation Army members, another important aspect of the peace process, has been concluded. The 19 November 2013 election for the second Constituent Assembly brought the country back on to a legal and constitutional track, raising hopes for a new constitution. A majority government was formed, led by the Nepali Congress with the participation of the Communist Party of Nepal (UML). Political, ethnic, caste, and other groups are nevertheless likely to continue to express discontent and to make demands through strikes that might occasionally generate violence. As a country prone to natural disaster and facing the ever-present threat of a devastating earthquake, Nepal is upgrading its preparedness for such events.

ICRC operations

During the early years of the conflict, the ICRC operated through its regional delegation in New Delhi before opening a delegation in Kathmandu in 2001. Visiting security detainees constituted a major element of the ICRC's work during the conflict. In association with the Nepal Red Cross, we continue to enable Bhutanese refugees living in Nepal to stay in contact with and visit relatives detained in Bhutan.

Missing persons

Helping the families of people missing in connection with the conflict remains a priority. We intercede with various bodies on behalf of families seeking information on the fate of missing relatives. We also encourage the authorities to help the families and we support forensic work, such as exhumations and the identification of remains. In cooperation with the Nepal Red Cross and other organizations, we provide psychosocial, economic and legal assistance to the families of missing persons. The chances that a body will be created to deal with issues relating to missing persons have been enhanced by the Supreme Court judgment in the 2 January 2014 writ on the Truth and Reconciliation Ordinance introduced by the former government. The Supreme Court has instructed the Nepalese government to set up a separate commission of inquiry for the investigation of enforced disappearances.

Physical rehabilitation

The ICRC and the Nepal Red Cross help people who suffered injury or were disabled during the conflict to obtain access to government reparation schemes. In addition, they refer some of these people to one of two ICRC-supported physical rehabilitation centres. The ICRC provides the centres with equipment, consumables and training so that they can provide patients with custom-made artificial limbs and support devices.

Weapon contamination

Unexploded weapons continue to kill and maim civilians. The ICRC is providing support for an emergency mine-risk education programme, run by the Nepal Red Cross, which aims to prevent injuries by making communities more aware of the threat.

Cooperation with the Nepal Red Cross Society

The ICRC is helping the Nepal Red Cross to improve the services it provides for victims of violence and natural disaster – for example, first-aid and ambulance services, restoring contact between family members and proper management of human remains.

Support for other Nepalese organizations

The ICRC also helps other Nepalese health and rescue services improve their emergency preparedness and response. It trains security personnel in emergency first aid, and hospital personnel in the management of emergency trauma cases and of mass casualties.

Promotion of international humanitarian law

The ICRC promotes international humanitarian law among the authorities, the armed forces and academic institutions.


Photos

A father and mother in front of a gate set up in memory of missing persons by their families with support from the ICRC's psychosocial support (Hateymalo) programme. The father is pointing out the name of their son. 

Nawalparasi, 2011.
A father and mother in front of a gate set up in memory of missing persons by their families with support from the ICRC's psychosocial support (Hateymalo) programme. The father is pointing out the name of their son.
© ICRC