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£7 million for peace and human rights in Nepal

The UK government today announced £7 million ($14m) to support Nepal’s first democratic elections in over 50 years. The money will also be used to strengthen the peace process and to improve human rights for the Nepali population.

(UK) International Development Minister, Shahid Malik, said:

“Peace and development go hand in hand. Peace is needed for development to succeed and development is needed for peace to last.

“I discussed the peace process with Prime Minister Koirala and Maoist leaders last year and I am pleased that recent agreements made by the Government with excluded groups, in particular the Madhesis in southern Nepal, have paved the way for elections on 10th April. The people of Nepal have waited more than half a century for these elections, their chance to decide on a new constitution.

“The UK is providing a further £7 million in support of the elections and for other key areas of the peace process, as well as efforts to improve human rights and ensure those who committed human rights abuses in the past are brought to justice.”

The money will go to the Nepal Peace Trust Fund, the UN Peace Fund and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The UK’s funding will enable the Nepal Peace Fund to implement essential aspects of the peace agreement, such as improving public security and supporting displaced persons.

The Nepal Peace Fund has already helped to house more than 30,000 Maoists, providing shelter, water, power and upkeep as part of the ongoing peace arrangements. The UK’s assistance will also allow important work by the UN Peace Fund such as the clearing of land-mines left over from the conflict, to continue.

1. During a visit to Nepal in September 2007 Shahid Malik announced £4 million for the Nepal Peace Trust Fund, including support for the elections.

2. The UK is the largest bilateral donor to Nepal in 2007/08 with £43 million contribution. DFID has committed £50 million for health over 5 years, plus an additional £15 million for HIV AIDS (2004-2009). DFID has committed £20 million for education over 5 years (2004-2009).

3. The signing of peace and arms agreements in November 2006 between the seven political parties and the Maoists, ended the ten-year-long armed conflict that killed over 13,000 people, and paved the way for Constituent Assembly Elections due to be held on 10th April this year.

4. Progress recently stalled while Madhesi groups in the Tarai, home to some 40% of the Nepali population, and groups in the east, blockaded the capital Kathmandu and called for greater attention to their interests, and for federal autonomy of their regions to be recognised in any new constitution.

5. This money from DFID will provide a significant boost to help the Government of Nepal and the UN implement the ongoing peace agreement – particularly at this critical time, just ahead of elections.

Nepal Peace Trust Fund

£5 million will go to the the Fund which has begun helping 23,000 people displaced by the war to resettle home. The Fund has also created over 21,000 electoral offices and 8,000 voter education volunteers have been trained in preparation for the forthcoming elections.

UN Peace Fund

Just under £1.3 million will go to this Fund.

UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nepal

Almost £1 million will go to this office which monitors and promotes accountability for human rights in Nepal and strengthens law enforcement and justice institutions including the National Human Rights Commission.

For more on DFID’s work in Nepal see: www.dfid.gov.uk or contact:

Yasser Mehmood on 0207 023 0620 (y-mehmood@dfid.gov.uk)

Sarah Thoms on 0207 023 0570 (s-thoms@dfid.gov.uk)

DFID, the Department for International Development: leading the British government’s fight against world poverty. For more information subscribe to our e-bulletin at http://www.dfid.gov.uk/feedback/

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