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					                                    Refugee Review Tribunal
                                         AUSTRALIA


                                 RRT RESEARCH RESPONSE

Research Response Number:                NPL32052
Country:                                 Nepal
Date:                                    17 July 2007

Keywords: Nepal – Political update – Monarchists – Maoists

      This response was prepared by the Research & Information Services Section of the
      Refugee Review Tribunal (RRT) after researching publicly accessible information
      currently available to the RRT within time constraints. This response is not, and does
      not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or
      asylum. This research response may not, under any circumstance, be cited in a decision
      or any other document. Anyone wishing to use this information may only cite the
      primary source material contained herein.




Questions

1. Can you provide an update on the current political set up in Nepal?
2. Any information as to whether Maoists are currently targeting monarchists?
3. Can you locate information about groups and activities of groups in Nepal that were pro-
   monarchy?

RESPONSE

1. Can you provide an update on the current political set up in Nepal?

According to the USDOS, Nepal is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary form of
government. King Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev used constitutional emergency powers to
exert direct control over the government until 27 April 2006. The King stated that emergency
powers were required to fight the Maoist insurgency. In April 2006, due to a popular
uprising, the King restored parliament and ceded power to a government headed by Prime
Minister Girija Prasad Koirala and run by the Seven Party Alliance (SPA). On 21 November
2006, the coalition SPA government and the Maoists signed a Comprehensive Peace
Agreement (CPA) ending a decade-long insurgency and initiating important political changes
(US Department of State 2007, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices 2006 – Nepal,
March www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2006/78873.htm – Accessed 8 March 2007 –
Attachment 1; US Department of State 2007, ‘Background Note: Nepal’, May
http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/5283.htm – Accessed 16 July 2007 – Attachment 2).

Under the terms of the CPA a program for political transformation was agreed. This program
included the forming of an interim constitution, an interim legislature and the election of a
formal constituent assembly. An interim constitution was completed by the SPA and Maoists
on 15 December 2006. On 15 January 2007, as outlined in the CPA, the Nepali parliament
dissolved itself and established an interim parliament. The current interim government has
329 members including 83 Maoist representatives. On 1 April 2007 the ruling eight party
government formed an interim Council of Ministers including five Maoist ministers. The
interim parliament will exercise legislative powers until the election of the formal Constituent
Assembly (Government of Nepal 2006, Comprehensive Peace Agreement held between
Government of Nepal and Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), ReliefWeb website, 22
November, Article 3.2 http://reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/db900sid/vbol-6vshk8?opendocument
– Accessed 16 July 2007 – Attachment 3; International Crisis Group 2007, Nepal’s
Constitutional Process: Asia Report No128, 26 February, p.7-8
http://www.crisisgroup.org/library/documents/asia/south_asia/128_nepal_s_constitutional_pr
ocess.pdf – Accessed 30 May 2007 – Attachment 4; US Department of State 2007,
‘Background Note: Nepal’, May http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/5283.htm – Accessed 16
July 2007 – Attachment 2).

According to the interim constitution the new constituent assembly will consist of 425
members of whom 205 will be elected by the “first past the post” system, 16 will be
nominated by the cabinet and the rest will be elected on a proportional representation basis.
The constituent assembly will have the dual function of drafting the official constitution and
operating as the legislature. The future of the monarchy in Nepal will also be decided by the
constituent assembly in a majority vote to be held at the first sitting. The interim constitution
has set a two year term for the constituent assembly after which a formal constitution will be
enacted (Interim Constitution of Nepal 2007, World Statesmen website, Articles 63, 64, 82,
83 & 159 http://www.worldstatesmen.org/nepal_interim_constitution2007.pdf – Accessed 1
June – Attachment 5).

The election for the Nepalese constituent assembly has been set by the interim government
for 22 November 2007. The interim parliament has adopted a resolution which allows for the
removal of the King if the King attempts to sabotage or interfere with the Constituent
Assembly. The removal of the King must be supported by a two thirds majority parliament.
Sources state that despite this legislation there are no current plans to depose the King whose
future will be decided at the first meeting of the constituent assembly (‘Nepal sets key
national elections for November 22’ 2007, Reuters Alert, 24 June – CISNET Nepal
Attachment 6; Chandrasekharan, S. 2007 ‘NEPAL: Interim Parliament Empowers itself to
Abolish Monarchy: Update No.128’ South Asia Analysis Group, 16 June
http://www.saag.org/notes4/note388.html – Accessed 16 July 2007 – Attachment 7).

2. Any information as to whether Maoists are currently targeting monarchists?

Research Response NPL31796 provides information on current violent activities of Maoists
against monarchists. The response details recent incidences of violence reported against
royalist political parties including the Rastriya Prajatantra Party and the Rastriya Janashakti
Party. The majority of the reported attacks were allegedly undertaken by the Maoist student
organisations and some have been linked to the Youth Communist League. Sources state that
despite the current cease fire arrangements Maoists have continued to use threats and
intimidation against oppositional political parties as well as engaging in general violent
activity and human rights abuses (RRT Country Research 2007, Research Response
NPL31796, 4 June – Attachment 8).



3. Can you locate information about groups and activities of groups in Nepal that were
   pro- monarchy?
The International Crisis Group (ICG) states that the Nepalese monarchy still has some
supporters. This support is in the form of small political parties, a few international
sympathisers, a section of the army and the King’s 3,000 strong palace guard. According the
ICG:

       A handful of small royalist parties have applied for registration with the Election
       Commission: the Rastriya Prajatantra Party (Nepal), Nepal Sadbhavana Party, Samajbadi
       Party and Janamukti Party (International Crisis Group 2007, ‘Nepal’s Maoists: purists or
       pragmatists?’, ICG website, 27 April – Attachment 9).

The Rastriya Prajatantra Party

According to Wikipedia the Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) is a right wing pro-monarchy
party which formed out of the political elite of the Nepalese Panchayat system. Wikipedia
states that the RPP split in 2005 creating the offshoot Rastriya Janashakti Party. Wikipedia
states that the current president of the RPP is Pashupati SJB Rana (‘Rashtriya Prajatantra
Party’ 2007, Wikipedia website, 1 July
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/rashtriya_prajatantra_party – Accessed 17 July 2007 –
Attachment 10. [Users should be aware that Wikipedia is a Web-based free-content
encylopaedia which is written collaboratively by volunteers. Country Research recommends
that users of Wikipedia familiarise themselves with the regulatory practices which Wikipedia
employs as a preventative measure against vandalism, bias and inaccuracy.]

According to the official website of the RPP the three ideological pillars of the party are
nationalism, democracy and liberalism. The website contains the following description and
background of the party:


       The Rastriya Prajatantra Party (National Democrat Party of Nepal) was established on the
       15th of Jestha 2047 BS (5th 1990 AD).The three ideological pillars of Nationalism,
       Democracy and Liberalism form the ideological base of the party.

       R.P.P. favors free market forces for the organized sector of the economy…

       In the last four years, following its third general convention, which elected Mr. Pashupati
       Shumshere J. B. Rana as the Chairman, the party has taken an increasingly pro-democratic
       stance. The party opposed the autocratic policies proclaimed by the king on February 1st
       2004.It repeatedly urged the king to accept multi-party norms and to negotiate with the
       mainline parties. This led to a major clash between the reconciliatory policies of the R.P.P.
       and the dictatorial policy of the regime. When the King ceded his powers to the popular
       movement and restored Parliament, the R.P.P. decided to remain in the opposition, while
       extending unqualified support to the government in the issue of peace and negotiations with
       the Maoists. The R.P.P. is the largest party in opposition in Parliament.

       R.P.P. is a nationally recognized party…

       The R.P.P. became an important part of the Nepali Congress led coalition government 1995-
       1997, Mr. Lokendra Bahadur Chand, a leader of this party, became the Prime Minister of the
       country in alliance with the Communist Party of Nepal ( UML) in 2054 B.S. (1997 AD).
       While the then party president Mr. Surya Bahadur Thap became Prime Minister in alliance
       with Nepali Congress for a short period. Mr. Lokendra Bahadur Chand and Mr. Surya
       Bahadur Thapa became Prime Minister again in their individual capacity after the dissolution
       of Parliament. The king called on Mr. Sher Bahadur Deupa to form a four party coalition
       government in 2004, The R.P.P. became a partner in this coalition. This government was
       ousted by the coup of February 1st 2005. Chairman Rana along with other party leaders was
       placed under house arrest after the coup.

       R.P.P. has a nation wide organization. It’s moderate, liberal policies are gaining quite a wide
       following (‘About RPP’ (undated) Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) website
       http://www.rppnepal.com/channels/aboutus.htm – Accessed 17 July 2007 – Attachment 11).

Religious Pro-Monarchists

Sources state that some royalists revere the King as a reincarnation of a Hindu deity Vishnu,
the god of protection (‘Pro and anti monarchy supporters clash over Nepal king’s birthday’
2007, Agence France Presse, 7 July – Attachment 12).

Pro-Monarchy events

Limited information was found in the sources consulted regarding recent pro-monarchy
events or activities.

On 7 July 2007 King Gyanendra celebrated his 60th birthday. Approximately 1000 royalist
supporters queued to enter the palace gates to pay respects to the King. 200 royalists also
reportedly staged a procession supporting the King. Sources report that the Young
Communist League (YCL) who held an anti-monarchy rally on the King’s birthday attacked
the Monarchists in Durbar square, south of the palace. Dozens of supporters and opponents of
the monarchy clashed and nine people were allegedly injured (‘Pro and anti monarchy
supporters clash over Nepal king’s birthday’ 2007, Agence France Presse, 7 July –
Attachment 12).

General information on the Monarchy

The BBC have provided the following profile information on King Gyanendra:


       King Gyanendra of Nepal assumed the throne in dramatic circumstances in 2001 after his
       brother, King Birendra, was killed in a palace massacre.
       He inherited a country wracked by a violent Maoist insurgency.

       He responded to the crisis by dismissing the elected government in October 2002. A year later
       he declared a state of emergency and sent troops after the rebels when peace talks collapsed.

       The king appointed a series of prime ministers before sacking the government and assuming
       complete control in February 2005.

       Weeks of demonstrations by hundreds of thousands of people secured the end of direct palace
       rule in April 2006.

       The king’s ostensible reason for the royal coup was that successive administrations had not
       done enough to end the Maoist rebellion.

       On seizing power, he said he had acted because the cabinet had failed to fulfil its mandate,
       including the restoration of peace.

       Many in the international community criticised his actions.
       King Gyanendra insisted that he was still committed to democracy and multi-party rule and
       repeated pledges that he would hold general elections by 2007.

       Local elections, opposed by the rebels and opposition parties, took place in February 2006.

       But large numbers of opposition protesters, including leading politicians, and journalists were
       detained or placed under house arrest in the campaign against the king.

       King Gyanendra, who was born in July 1947, is married and has two children (‘Profile:
       Nepal’s King Gyanendra’ 2006, BBC News, 2 May
       http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/4225171.stm – Accessed 17 July 2007 – Attachment
       13).

Wikipedia have provided the following list of Nepal’s Kings:

       The king of Nepal is known as the Raja; his Queen is known as the Rani.

       The following is a list of Nepal’s modern Rajas:

       Prithvi Narayan Shah (1768–1775) ruler of Gurkha from 1743
       Pratap Singh Shah (1775–1777)
       Rana Bahadur Shah (1777–1799)
       Girvan Yudha Bikram Shah (1799–1816)
       Rajendra Bikram Shah (1816–1847)
       Surendra Bikram Shah (1847–1881)
       Prithvi Bir Bikram Shah (1881–1911)
       Tribhuvan Bir Bikram Shah (1911–1955)
       Mahendra Bir Bikram Shah (1956–1972)
       Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev (1972–2001)
       Dipendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev (2001) three days, incapacitated
       Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev (2001–present) (‘Nepalese Monarchy’ 2007, Wikipedia
       website, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/king_of_nepal, 28 June – Accessed 17 July 2007 –
       Attachment 14). [Users should be aware that Wikipedia is a Web-based free-content
       encylopaedia which is written collaboratively by volunteers. Country Research recommends
       that users of Wikipedia familiarise themselves with the regulatory practices which Wikipedia
       employs as a preventative measure against vandalism, bias and inaccuracy.]

According to the interim constitution the future of the monarchy in Nepal will be decided by
the constituent assembly in a majority vote to be held at the first sitting. The election for the
Nepalese constituent assembly has been set by the interim government for 22 November
2007 (Interim Constitution of Nepal 2007, World Statesmen website, Article 159
http://www.worldstatesmen.org/nepal_interim_constitution2007.pdf – Accessed 1 June –
Attachment 5; ‘Nepal sets key national elections for November 22’ 2007, Reuters Alert, 24
June – CISNET Nepal Attachment 6).


Internet Sources:

Government Information & Reports
Immigration & Refugee Board of Canada http://www.irb.gc.ca/
UK Home Office http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk
US Department of State http://www.state.gov/
US Department of State website http://www.state.gov
Non-Government Organisations
Amnesty International website http://www.amnesty.org/
Human Rights Watch http://www.hrw.org/
International Crisis Group – http://www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm
Relief Web – http://reliefweb.int/rw/dbc.nsf/doc100?openform
World Statesmen website – http://www.worldstatesmen.org/
International News & Politics
BBC News website http://news.bbc.co.uk/
Region Specific Links
Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) website – http://www.rppnepal.com/index.htm
South Asia Analysis Group – http://www.saag.org/
Search Engines
Google search engine http://www.google.com.au/
Wikipedia website – http://en.wikipedia.org/

Databases:
FACTIVA (news database)
BACIS (DIMA Country Information database)
REFINFO (IRBDC (Canada) Country Information database)
ISYS (RRT Country Research database, including Amnesty International, Human Rights
      Watch, US Department of State Reports)

List of Attachments

   1. US Department of State 2007, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices 2006 –
      Nepal, March www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2006/78873.htm – Accessed 8 March
      2007.

   2. US Department of State 2007, ‘Background Note: Nepal’, May
      http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/5283.htm – Accessed 16 July 2007.

   3. Government of Nepal 2006, Comprehensive Peace Agreement held between
      Government of Nepal and Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), ReliefWeb website,
      22 November http://reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/db900sid/vbol-6vshk8?opendocument –
      Accessed 16 July 2007.

   4. International Crisis Group 2007, Nepal’s Constitutional Process: Asia Report No128,
      26 February
      http://www.crisisgroup.org/library/documents/asia/south_asia/128_nepal_s_constituti
      onal_process.pdf – Accessed 30 May 2007.

   5. ‘Interim Constitution of Nepal 2007, World Statesmen website
      http://www.worldstatesmen.org/nepal_interim_constitution2007.pdf – Accessed 1
      June.

   6. ‘Nepal sets key national elections for November 22’ 2007, Reuters Alert, 24 June.
      (CISNET Nepal CX17977)
7. Chandrasekharan, S. 2007 ‘NEPAL: Interim Parliament Empowers itself to Abolish
   Monarchy: Update No.128’, South Asia Analysis Group, 16 June
   http://www.saag.org/notes4/note388.html – Accessed 16 July 2007.

8. RRT Country Research 2007, Research Response NPL31796, 4 June. (FACTIVA)

9. International Crisis Group 2007, Nepal’s Maoists: purists or pragmatists?, ICG
   website, 27 April.

10. ‘Rashtriya Prajatantra Party’ 2007, Wikipedia website, 1 July
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/rashtriya_prajatantra_party – Accessed 17 July 2007.

11. ‘About RPP’ (undated) Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) website
    http://www.rppnepal.com/channels/aboutus.htm – Accessed 17 July 2007.

12. ‘Pro and anti monarchy supporters clash over Nepal king’s birthday’ 2007, Agence
    France Presse, 7 July.

13. ‘Profile: Nepal’s King Gyanendra’ 2006, BBC News, 2 May
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/4225171.stm – Accessed 17 July 2007.

14. ‘Nepalese Monarchy’ 2007, Wikipedia website,
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/king_of_nepal, 28 June – Accessed 17 July 2007.

				
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