The General Debate of the United Nations General Assembly is an influential platform – the world (almost) is listening intently. On 27th September, PM Oli represented Nepal and delivered an ‘eloquent’ address – he spoke on many matters that concern Nepal, the United Nations, and the world. However, it was hypocritical, and painted an entirely different picture of Nepal.
Here is an analysis of (parts) of his speech:
After a short note of gratitude, the PM starts his address by saying “Since I addressed from this podium, in 2006, Nepal has undergone historical political transformation”. Later in the speech, he says, and I quote the exact lines, “Nepal’s case is a unique example of peaceful and democratic transformation. It is a telling testimony that dialogue triumphs the differences, and ballot triumphs the bullet.” He goes on to share a story of how the transformation could be considered an inspiration and that Nepal is willing to share their insights with other countries.
The Prime Minister here mentions of events after 2006 – totally excluding the armed revolution preceding the ‘political transformation’. Thousands of lives were lost during the civil war, many of the thousands of families are still crying for justice, and 37 war related cases are still pending at various courts of Nepal against Prachanda, the co-founder of his party; however no mention is made of that. The world needs to know that its citizens were subjected to a ten-year long ‘civil-war’ just ahead of 2006, and PM Oli saying the transformation was ‘peaceful’ is not going to hide that fact.
The PM might claim that Nepal is now a ‘democracy’, but the world needs to know, at home, the same citizens are fighting for their rights – the newly introduced civil/criminal codes have been a threat to democratic rights of several interest groups. The world needs to know, I right now, fear publishing this article, because I could be arrested.
41% Inclusion of Women:
The world needs to know the PM might praise the constitution for its inclusion of women – however the reality is different. The majority of the elected women are not independent rather come from ‘political families’. A few who have made it own their own, fight for their voices to be heard. The same government which boasts of 41% women heads a nation in which the highest form of violence is ‘Gender based violence’.
The PM goes on to use words like ‘egalitarian, just, equality’, however any Nepali who sits among the lower socio-economic ranking will tell you otherwise. Here, police-bullying is rampant. Just months ago, as Nepalese protested against the government asking them to take a ‘rape and murder case of a 13 year old with sincerity’, plastic bullets were sprayed to quash the protesters. Sadly, a bullet claimed the life of an 18 year old boy, however no one has been held accountable. Sixty days into the rape, it is found, because police handled the case irresponsibly and tampered with the evidence, the culprit may never be caught.
The PM made a strong point about the receding Himalayas and retreating glaciers citing climate change, and conveniently pinned the blame on ‘emissions’, however failed to say the capital of his/our nation has one of the worst ‘air-qualities’ in the world. In Kathmandu, where I write from, breathing is a difficulty, and I kid you not. Deforestation is increasing by the year, and there have been no sustainability plans laid out to save the environment. Rivers are dirty, the same Himalayas he laments about has become the world’s highest dumping ground, but the government folds its hands and watches as the private sector takes on the responsibilities of cleaning the mess.
PM Oli comments he heads a very strong government in Nepal and has a clear majority. However, he fails to mention the means he used to get there. Just ahead of the elections he is so proud of, his party, the largest in Nepal (CPN –UML), and CPN – Maoist centre, the same party who waged the civil war and the (then) third largest party of Nepal, formed an alliance, therefore beating Nepali Congress and any other national party by a huge margin. Interestingly, two years ago, the same two parties were locking horns with each other over power-sharing disagreements. Thus, in Nepal, ideologies don’t matter.
Nepal has witnessed a lot – and it is tired. They have seen a civil war, lived in fear of the gun, and today the Prime Minister had the audacity to say ‘ballots triumphs the bullet’. Perhaps, he is not aware, or does not want the world to be aware of the cost Nepal and its children have paid for its democracy. No, he cannot stand and say that Nepalese people have waited for 7 years to write their own constitution, he is lying. And although the constitution may be written by the people to reflect pure democracy, the practice is different; this surely is not a true democracy.
In a democracy, I should not fear my police, I should not fear the government, the civil code should empower me, and all people should be treated equally.
Watch the full address: