New Nepal: New South Asia



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People's Caravan (JANAYATRA) for Establishing People's Rights over Natural Resources in Nepal

  1. BACKGROUND

The statistics reveals that 40 percent of the total poor population of the world lives in South Asia. South Asians share similar economic and political problems. The poverty remains the same; the workers who toil day and night do not have enough even to eat their daily meal. Women, Dalits, Ethnic Groups are suffering from discrimination. Women and Children are being traded like animals but the state is not in a position to resolve these problems. There are abundant problems in the SAARC region and people are slowly getting organized themselves to raise those problems locally as well as in organized manner. Thus people are in movement to struggle against prevailing inequality, injustice and discrimination. People are confident that they will overcome one day soon and break the chain of injustice, inequality and discrimination..
SAARC has not been effective to address the common problems of people and to strengthen common trade and economy in the region. It could not play the role such to solve the problems that are being faced by the people of this region from long time back. The SAARC neither addressed the problems of the people and win their heart nor bring about any concrete plans and commitment for the suffering people of this region. The people of SAARC have continuously struggled for democracy and have faced brutalities of the rulers to assert their will. It became therefore a crying need for a movement, which could truly pressurize the SAARC from people level to compel the state to resolve the common problems of the people in this region. There is a need of a common voice, common movement of the people to make it effective. Due to this reason the people from the SAARC region have initiated the Peoples’ SAARC to aware the SAARC and make it people oriented while in the other hand interrelate the peoples’ movement of the SAARC region and work towards establishment of a real democratic government because only the democracy which addresses and links up to the down level people can solve these problems. The democratic politics here refers to equality of opportunity; participation, recognition, delegation of power, rights to struggle, distribution of natural resources in an equitable manner without discrimination on the basis of origins. The movement is thus to ensure control over resources and to redefine the path of development so that livelihoods and dignity of all are restored, protected, preserved and furthered.
A good understanding, unity, coordination, mutual solidarity, constructive debate, and interactions among civil society of this region are vital in order to make a free South Asia with just, equity and social harmony. People's SAARC was one of the most important forums organized by civil society of South Asian countries in May 2007 in Kathmandu. The people's SAARC extended solidarity to the Nepal's movement for peace and absolute democracy. People's SAARC started to organize the voices for democracy, peace, sharing of natural resources and towards living dignified life for all. This movement needs to be given continuity, thus the concept of Imagine a New South Asia (INSA) has come up to realize a new and prosperous South Asia. It is a new initiative envisioned to promote regional cooperation both at the government as well as civil society level for peaceful, prosperous, just and democratic South Asia. (People's Caravan) JANAYATRA is one of the components of INSA movement in Nepal.


  1. THE CONTEXT OF NEPAL

In the historical movement II the people swarmed in the street mass demonstration voluntarily in anticipation to realize a just, democratic and peaceful society. People marched on the street in the hope that after this movement their rights will be guaranteed, the state will be just, inclusive and federal. In the historical movement hundreds of people became martyrs. The movement is continual towards achieving the dreams of those martyrs and the feelings of the people. The state is also proceeding forward in realizing this, however, this transitional period is being lengthy, the problems of people remain as they were, and it is seen that still a long road needs to be crossed in order to fulfill the aspirations, rights and needs of the people.
For the active participation of people in the movement a strong will power and continuous social mobilisation in the grass root level is necessary. The state needs to be warned by the people on regular basis, therefore, on this pretext the JANAYATRA is being organized along with the demands of the people.


  1. JANAYATRA AND CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY IN NEPAL

Autocratic monarch ruled Nepal for over 239 years, which facilitated the inequitable distribution of power and natural resources. Evidently, the participation of poor, Dalits, Women, Madheshi, Janajati and other marginalized groups in politics and leadership is very low and naturally the policies have been formulated in favor of elite groups neglecting the majority of the population who are marginalized and deprived of power and resource. An active participation of the marginalized groups in constituent assembly is vital in order to preserve their rights.
People's movement of 2006 was aimed against the autocratic monarchy, inequality in power and natural resources distribution, and to reinstate democracy, peace building from grass root level, social justice and human rights in the state. As a result of this movement it has now been constitutionally accepted that Nepal will be a federal and socially inclusive state. The future of Nepal in general and the marginalized Nepalese in particular will be determined through constituent assembly that is scheduled on November 22, 2007.
To ensure that the democracy, sustainable peace, human rights are the fundamental needs and base for a new Nepal, therefore, to sensitize the people and to create pressure to the state this people's JANAYATRA has been organized. State and people are in need of such a politics of democratization, which consists of participation, recognition, power delegation, rights and control over resources. To fulfill these dreams of people and to institutionalize the democratic system we are in the process of constituent assembly. This JANAYATRA will be an effective means to raise their issues on constituent assembly by Poor and underprivileged, Dalits, Women, Madheshi, Janajati and other marginalized groups for changing power relation and justifiable political participation and resource distribution. It is very important to ensure the active participation of people in the constitution assembly process and to guarantee that the feelings, needs and rights of the people are included in the new constitution to sketch the fundamental of new Nepal. JANAYATRA will facilitate the debate of constituent assembly amongst all marginalized groups and will raise their issues that ultimately help to uproot monarchy, ill practices and discrimination and establish a federal, inclusive and democratic republic Nepal.


  1. THE DEMANDS OF PEOPLE EXPRESS THROUGH JANAYATRA

  • Nepal is in process of institutionalizing and development of democratization through constituent assembly that is an opportunity to secure the rights of poor, Dalits, indigenous groups, Madheshi and neglected communities. Therefore, we demand to conduct peaceful, independent and impartial election for guaranteeing the involvement of grass root level people.




  • The coming constitution must be able to build a bright, democratic, federal, people oriented and inclusive nation. This is also the mandate, notion and spirit of the people’s movement II. We demand for the guarantee to create the basis for its fulfillment.




  • Feudalism, ill practices and ill culture still prevail in Nepal, which has refrained women, Dalits, indigenous groups to obtain power, dignity and recognition in the society. New Nepal must guarantee the delegation of power and dignity to people.




  • People have no ownership and rights to the natural resources like forest, water and land. Peasants who work in the farm and landless people do not own a single inch of land of their ownership therefore, there must be initiation for people oriented land reformation process and stop the impartial distribution of land.




  • The ownership and decision-making power and rights regarding forest must be handed over to the communities. We demand for handing over all probable forest land as identified by Master Plan for Forestry Sector in the form of community forest to communities, capacity building of the forest user groups.




  • The water resources of Nepal is one of the richest in the world however, its usage has not been made in accordance to the national welfare, peoples’ interest and betterment. There are unequal bilateral treaties in the name of water utility. In this context, duly analyzing such type of impartial treaties policies must be formulated in favor of people making them the ultimate masters.




  1. SCHEDULE OF JANAYATRA

JANAYATRA will begin from Ilam in the Eastern region, Ramechhap in the Central region and Baitadi in the Far Western region from September 9, 2007 (2064 Bhadra 23) and will converse at Butawal on September 21, 2007 (2064 Ashwin 4), the International Peace Day. Participants will cross tentatively 15 KM distance in one day by foot. In the route passing through jungle and nonresidential areas, the Yatra be on vehicle and the next stop distance may increase as per feasibility. The priority will be given to the discussions and meetings on policy demands and assembly with the marginalized groups and underprivileged community.


  1. TRAVELLING ROUTE OF JANAYATRA

Ilam route follows Ilam, Jhapa, Morang, Sunsari, Saptari, Siraha, Dhanusa, Mahottari, Sarlahi, Rautahat, Bara, Makawanpur, Chitawan (Narayanghat), Nawalparasi and arrive at Butawal. The Ramechhap route follows Ramechhap, Dolakha, Sindhupalchok, Kavrepalanchok, Bhaktapur, Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Dhading, Chitawan (Mungling), Tanahun, Kaski, Syangja, Palpa and Butawal. The last route is Baitadi, Dadenldhura, Kanchanpur, Kailali, Bardiya, Banke, Dang, Kapilvastu and Butawal. JANAYATRA will move to villages and community without confining to roadhead areas. Logistics arrangements to the participants of JANAYATRA will be based on the local management arranged by different local Civil Society Organizations (CSOs). The marching route of JANAYATRA is as outlined below in Nepal's map.






  1. PARTICIPANTS IN JANAYATRA

The JANAYATRA will focus on the poor, Dalits, women, Madheshi, Janajati and other marginalized groups and community. The participants will be the representatives of groups and community that have been deprived of their rights. There will be the participation of old and young, men and women, Dalits, Madheshi, Janajati and poor.
Different local and national level Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) will participate and make their solidarity to the JANAYATRA. Since this movement is not only confined in Nepal, the participants will be the leaders of people's movements of neighboring countries like India, Bhutan and Bangladesh. There will be around 30 full time participants and around 10 volunteers in each route. Thousands of people will join JANAYATRA as it passes through their villages, cities and areas. A closing ceremony with an assembly will be held at Butawal with the participation of 20 thousand people
6. MEDIA ADVOCACY/INTERACTION

Regular interaction and follow up with the media people, wall painting, distribution of brochure, posters, pamphlets and radio jingle, rally and mike announcing, flash news publication in local and national newspaper and in local cable line etc will be carried out.




  1. FACILITATING ORGANIZATIONS

A number of civil society organizations will participate in JANAYATRA. Many local organizations, NGOs, CBOs and federations, networks and alliances will co-ordinate the JANAYATRA locally.



  1. SECRETARIAT

The four major networks, federations and forums are facilitating the JANAYATRA secretariat


  • NGO Federation of Nepal

  • Federation of Community Forestry Users, Nepal

  • National Land Rights Concern Group, Nepal

  • National Land Rights Forum, Nepal

  • National Dalit Network




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