Internally Displaced Persons: Comprehensive Peace Agreement
5.1. Ending of military action and mobilisation of armed personnel:
5.1.8. Both sides agree to keep records and return immediately the government, public and private buildings, land and other property seized, locked up or forbidden for use during the armed conflict.
5.2.8. Both sides express commitment to allow without any political prejudice the people displaced during the armed conflict to return voluntarily to their respective places of ancestral or former residence, to reconstruct the infrastructure destroyed as a result of the conflict and to honourably rehabilitate and reintegrate the displaced people into the society.
7.3.3. Both sides shall respect and protect the citizens' right to freedom of movement and the right to choose the location of one's residence in a manner acceptable under prevailing laws, and express their commitments to respect the right of individuals and families displaced during the conflict to return to their original places of residence or to settle in any other places of their choice.
As soon as the Maoists declared a unilateral ceasefire, those who had been displaced due to the conflict and had fled to India began to return to their communities. It was reported that thousands of people from the western hill districts of Humla, Mugu, Kalikot, Bajhang, Bajura, Achham, Baitadi, Doti and Dadeldhura, returned.1 The process of rehabilitating the IDPs was slow. This was due, not only to the fact that the Maoists failed to abide by the ceasefire, but also to the fact that the government failed to introduce effective policies and plans. Also, local and district level Maoist activists demanded trials of displaced people in their own judicial system called the “people’s court.”2
According to the UN Office of Coordination and Humanitarian Affairs, the IDPs started to return spontaneously to Nepal due to improved security.3 It was reported that the Maoists burdened the rehabilitation process because they did not fulfill their commitment to return captured property. Nevertheless, the government came up with an IDP policy and program in February. The government decided “to provide Rs300- Rs 1,000 per IDP as fare to return home, plane fare for the IDPs of Karnali from Nepalgunj, Rs 25,000 of loan without interest for crop and animal husbandry, Rs 10,000 to buy seed and sapling, Rs 15,000 for cattle, Rs 10,000 for every house exploded or torched and Rs 5,000 for repair work of the houses.”4
Although the Maoists leaders were committed to rehabilitating the displaced persons, they did not return the property seized during the conflict.5 Nevertheless, the government took the initiative and encouraged the IDPs to return home by providing them with up to Rs 50,000 to put towards food, clothing, health care and shelter for a temporary basis. The government also formed a working group that was tasked with planning how to settle those who could not return to their community. The work of this group, however, was not made public in 2008.6
Based on the number of registered IDPs, the government estimated that there were 44,831 IDPs in the country, while the NGOs and international agencies estimated the figure to be between 50,000 and 70,000.7
The IDPs gradually returned to their communities, however, as per the statistics collected by the Nepali Congress, some 40,000 families remained displaced. Due to flooding and landslides, the number of displaced persons increased. It was reported that the victims were deprived of the meager relief assistance that had been originally provided by the state.8
- 8. "Human Rights Yearbook 2007," Informal Sector Service Centre (INSEC), 2010.
The IDP policy of the government was not properly implemented and it was reported that up to 70,000 people were either unable or unwilling to return home.9
- 9. "Failed Implementation Of IDP Policy In Nepal Leaves Many Unassisted," Indigenous People's Issues Today, January 30, 2010.
Between 2008 and 2011, the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction helped around 25,000 people officially registered as IDPs to return home. And, many returned IDPs were said had difficulty to meet their basic needs. Part of the reasons was related to the return of land and property ceased by the Maoist party during conflict.10 As such, the IDP issue was not resolved in 2011.
The IDMC estimates that around 50,000 conflict-era IDPs are either unwilling or unable to return to their communities as of April 2012. The issues that hindered the return of IDPs were related to unresolved property or land issue, insecurity and lack of government assistance.11
- 11. Ibid.
Nepal Peace Trust Fund reported that the estimated 50,000 IDPs who were displaced during the conflict were rehabilitated in 73 different districts. The project cost about five million USD.12 However, many of those who were displaced during the conflict were not returning back to their communities. Part of the reason was related to the rebel control over their land and property. The Maoist party has committed to return confiscated land and property to its rightful owner but this has yet to happen.13
- 12. “Special Program for Rehabilitation of IDPs,” Nepal Peace Trust Fund, 2013. http://www.nptf.gov.np/userfiles/NPTF%20-%20Cluster%202%20Project%20Sheets%20%2821%20May%2012%29_1.pdf.
- 13. “After 13-hr marathon, parties okay cj govt,” Kathmandu Post, March 14, 2013.
Nepal Peace Trust Fund reported completion of the conflict era IDP resettlement programs. Nevertheless, many conflict-era victims are yet to return to their communities for psychological reasons.14
- 14. “Displaced 8 years ago, conflict victims still ‘unwilling’ to return,” Kathmandu Post, April 24 , 2014.
No developments observed this year. Earthquake on 12 May displaced hundreds of thousands across 13 hard-hit districts.15
- 15. “Nepal: Earthquake 2015.” OCHA, Situation report no. 19, May 29, 2015.