Demobilization: Comprehensive Peace Agreement
4.1. As per the commitments expressed in the letters sent to the United Nations by the Government of Nepal and the Maoists on August 9, 2006, the combatants of the Maoist army shall be confined to the following temporary cantonments. The United Nations shall verify and monitor them.
The main cantonments shall be located in the following places:
1. Kailali, 2. Surkhet, 3. Rolpa, 4. Palpa, 5. Kabhre, 6. Sindhuli, 7. Ilam.
There shall be three smaller camps located in the periphery of each of these main cantonments.
4.6. The Nepali Army shall be confined to the barracks as per the commitments made in the letters sent to the United Nations. Non-use of its arms for or against either side shall be guaranteed. Like number of arms as those stored by the Maoist Army shall be safely stored also by the Nepali Army. These arms shall be locked with a single padlock and the party concerned shall keep the key to it. For the UN to monitor it, a device with siren as well as recording facility shall be installed during the process of padlocking. The UN shall make necessary inspections of the stored arms in the presence of the party concerned. Technical details in this regard including camera monitoring shall be as per the agreement among the United Nations, the Government of Nepal and the CPN (Maoist).
The CPA required that the Maoist combatants be held in 7 main and 21 satellite cantonment sites for the purposes of verification and subsequently, demobilization, integration, and rehabilitation. Similarly, the CPA required that the Nepali Army (NA) be confined to the barracks. More details of the process were outlined in a separate agreement called the Agreement on Monitoring of the Management of Arms and Armies, which was signed on 8 December 2006. Accordingly, the Nepal government requested that the UN monitor the management of arms and armies.1
- 1. "Secretary General’s Report to the Security Council," United Nations (S/2007/7), January 9, 2007.
The cantonment of the Maoist combatants started as soon as the United Nations Mission in Nepal was established on 23 January 2007. In a press statement on 23 February 2007, the UNMIN claimed that 32,250 Maoist combatants were registered either in the seven major cantonment sites or in the 21 satellite sites. A news report attested that the first phase of the registration of combatants was completed within one month. The UNMIN reported the results to the Joint Monitoring Coordination Committee (JMCC) on March 8 confirming 31,252 personnel and 3,475 weapons.2 The registered number of Maoist combatants later increased slightly to 32,250.3 Once the cantonment process was complete, the UNMIN had to verify the registered combatants, in order that those unqualified for reintegration could be demobilized. This verification process was completed by the end of 2007. Accordingly, the UNMIN began the second phase of the registration on 19 June 2007. The second phase involved collecting the age of the recruits, as well as the date of their recruitment, so as to establish their eligibility as combatants. This process started on 19 June 2007.4 Those who were disqualified and those who were qualified but opted out of reintegration were to be subsequently demobilized.
- 2. "UN Secretary General’s Report to the Security Council," United Nations (S/2007/235), April 26, 2007.
- 3. Ameet Dhakal, "The People’s Liberation Army (PLA)," Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF), 2009.
- 4. "UNMIN and peace process Not properly utilized," Himalayan Times, November 5, 2010.
The UNMIN verified 19,602 ex-combatants as meeting the criteria for reintegration. 8,640 ex-combatants were not available for the verification. Among the initially registered combatants, 4,008 were disqualified. Among these disqualified combatants, 1,035 were recruited after the ceasefire code of conduct was signed on 26 May 2006. 2,973 Maoist combatants were under the age of eighteen at the time the ceasefire code of conduct agreement was signed.5 According to the report, the disqualified combatants received allowances. However, their scheduled discharge or demobilization did not occur because of the political uncertainty that surrounded the formation of the government after the Constituent Assembly elections.6 The disqualified combatants were not formally discharged from the cantonments in 2008.
In February, the Special Committee for the Integration and Rehabilitation of Maoist combatants requested that the Government allow them to proceed with the discharge and rehabilitation of 4,008 Maoist ex-combatants. After months of delay, the demobilization of unqualified combatants began on 11 October 2009.7 This process, however, was not completed in 2009.
- 7. "Secretary General’s Report to the Security Council," United Nations (S/2009/553), October 26, 2009.
The discharge or demobilization of the disqualified was completed on 8 February 2010. According to the discharge plan, the UN monitored the discharge process and provided rehabilitation support for the discharged child combatants.8 The discharge of the unqualified combatants, however, did not complete the demobilization process. The demobilization of those who qualified, but did not wish to be reintegrated, has yet to begin. This has been delayed because the qualified combatants have yet to be integrated into the security force, as agreed on in the CPA.
- 8. "Secretary General’s Report to the Security Council," United Nations (S/2010/183), April 13, 2010.
The demobilization of those who qualified, but did not wish to be reintegrated, has yet to begin. This has been delayed because the qualified combatants have yet to be integrated into the security force, as agreed on in the CPA.
In December 2011, the main political parties agreed to integrate 6,500 Maoist combatants into the Nepalese Army.9 For the integration process to begin, parties agreed to allow the Special Committee to re-verify combatants in seven main and 21 satellite cantonment sites. Of 19,602 Maoist combatants that met the criteria for reintegration in the UNMIN verification, 17,074 combatants participated, of which 9,705 opted for integration into the state army.10
By mid-February, almost 40% of 17,170 verified combatants who chose retirement options and to be rehabilitated were given initial payments and demobilized.11 After the combatants retired (demobilized), the Special Committee for Supervision, Integration and Rehabilitation decided to vacate 13 cantonment sites.12 The numbers of demobilized former-Maoist combatants increased over time due to dissatisfaction among combatants regarding the integration process, which was said to be very disrespectful, and the party’s decision to allow the Nepal Army to control the cantonment sites which contained weapons locked in secured lock boxes. By mid-April, there were only 3,194 combatants down from 9,705 waiting for integration. Others chose voluntary retirement and were demobilized.13 After four years of inter-party negotiations, some 16,000 Maoist combatants were formally demobilized. As of September 2012, an additional 1,762 have opted for voluntary retirement.14 They received their retirement package and demobilized.
- 11. "Special Committee to close 14 PLA camps," Kathmandu Post, February 13, 2012.
- 12. "Maoist cantonments to be reduced," Kathmandu Post, February 29, 2012.
- 13. "Number of NA aspirants sees a free fall," Kathmandu Post, April 18, 2012.
- 14. "1,647 to be vetted for integration process," My Republica, September 14, 2012.
As of July 2013, the demobilization process was concluded. A total of 17,076 who showed up after the UN verification in 2011 were demobilized. Among the 17,076, a total of 9,705 ex-combatants opted for integration, 7,365 choose voluntary discharge and six combatants were registered for rehabilitation.15
A process to demobilize ex-combatants concluded in 2013.
No further development reported.