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UNMIN & IT’S EVALUATION
Comprehensive Peace Accord was signed in November 2006.
The United Nation was entrusted with the role of monitoring of arms and armies as per the request contained in a letter jointly sent by the government of Nepal and the then CPN Maoist on 9 August 2006.
UNMIN came to Nepal as a special mission in support of the peace process and to create a free and fair atmosphere for the election of the Constituent Assembly and pursuit of the peace process.
UNMIN was established on 23 January 2007 by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1740.
At the request of the Government of Nepal, the Security Council unanimously extended the tenure of the office for seven consecutive term and finally it was flagged‐down from Nepal on 15 January 2011.
1.monitor the management of arms and armed personnel of the Nepal Army and the Maoist combatants, in line with the provisions of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of November 2006;
2.assist the parties through a Joint Monitoring Coordinating Committee (JMCC) in implementing this agreement;
3.assist in the monitoring of ceasefire arrangements;
4. provide technical assistance to the Election Commission for the election of a Constituent Assembly, which eventually took place in April 2008
There are generally two opposing arguments regarding the role of UNMIN with one side claiming it to be a successful mission while others call it a total failure.
The positive evaluations of the Mission include the support for the election of the Constituent Assembly, hard work for the successful exit of child soldiers from the Maoist cantonments, ensuring cordial atmosphere at the JMCC meetings, and making the political parties abide by peace agreements.
UNMIN played important role in terms of supporting the election of Constituent Assembly held in April 2008 in which the Maoists emerged as the largest party.
UNMIN lent valuable material and expert support for the election
UNMIN’s role in the election was later criticized with the argument that UNMIN should have advised to not to have the election when one political party still had its own fighting forces.
The verification of the Maoist Combatants was criticized as being deeply flawed. The number of Maoist Combatants who entered cantonments in the beginning of the peace process was 32,250.
After a year‐long verification in the Maoist cantonments, 19,602 were verified by the UNMIN in May2007.
Yet in January 2008, the Maoist chief, Pushpa Kamal Dahal admitted in a subsequently leaked videotape that the actual number of Maoist soldiers had been around 3,500
Out of the 32,250 Combatants, 4,008 were categorized as disqualified by UNMIN for either being minor or late recruits. The disqualified combatants were discharged from the cantonments in January‐February 2010.
Out of 19,602 UNMIN verified combatants, only 17,052 combatants participated during the process of updating and regrouping in November‐December, 2011.
Out of them, 15,608 have already been reintegrated into society as they opted for voluntary retirement and rehabilitation package and training center of Nepal Army. 1,444 combatants selected for integration have recently completed trainings
No significant progress was made for the integration of the combatants during the tenure of UNMIN.
The integration and rehabilitation process remained deadlocked for around four years.
The process moved forward along with Seven Point Agreement signed on 01 November 2011 between the major political parties. By this date, the tenure of UNMIN had already ended.
The Seven Point Agreement paved the way for updating and regrouping Maoist Army Combatants, cheque distribution, closure of cantonments coupled with the Nepal army being given the control over all weapons and ammunitions kept in cantonments.
The UNMIN was criticized for developing pro‐Maoist image.
During a briefing before the UN Security Council in May 2009, UNMIN chief Karin Landgren (who took over from Martin in January 2009) claimed that all the political parties had consented to then‐Prime Minister Dahal’s attempts to dismiss the army chief, Rookmangud Katawal, before backtracking.
UNMIN never recovered from the damage caused by this briefing, and charges of bias intensified thereafter.
There were also questions about UNMIN’s monitoring capacity. In May 2008, a businessman from Kathmandu, Ram Hari Shrestha, had been kidnapped, taken inside a cantonment, tortured and murdered by Maoists combatants and their commander from the Shaktikhor cantonment in Chitwan district right under UNMIN’s nose.
Among many incidents that raised questions over the mission’s monitoring of the cantonments was an incident in Kapilvasu district in August 2009. Nineteen Maoist combatants based in Kapilvastu came out of their cantonment with weapons, and were later arrested.
Nine of the confiscated weapons had been registered by UNMIN, meant only to be used for security on the cantonment perimeter.
UNMIN noted that the combatants had acted against the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.However, the fact that armed combatants from a main cantonment site could have left carrying weapons reinforced the suspicions over UNMIN’s monitoring.
India was not very positive regarding UNMIN’s role from the very beginning.
It is said that India was particularly concerned about UNMIN’s role in the integration of Maoist combatants in Nepal Army.
India’s security concerns may be responsible for extreme sensitivity regarding further extension of UNMIN’s mandate.
In India, there were certain sections, who were unhappy about the integration of Nepali army with ideologically indoctrinated Maoist combatants in view of its impact on India.
This seems to be the main reason behind extreme sensitivity on the part of India in involving the UN beyond monitoring to ensure that UNMIN does not have a role in integration of the two armies as envisaged in Comprehensive Peace Accord.