These initiatives desperately need substantial funds with matching political will to ensure progress. The wounds of war cannot be left to fester and must be proactively addressed. If the Nepal government seems lacklustre to prioritise these issues, the victims’ groups are full of gritty determination. People are more than ready to mobilise to find the truth, support victims to receive compensation and find new work or to mourn their loved, lost ones. To be more effective, the civil societies and victim groups must come under one common platform to take the transitional justice advocacy ahead.
Just not justice, Om Astha Rai
Rocky transition to justice, Editorial
Nepal still has an opportunity to move forward the transitional justice process constructively in the coming months and to address truth, justice and reparation for victims. But this work needs the Government of Nepal to step up, and it needs donors to commit. If we want peace to last (and who does not?) then it needs long term, patient investment.
Which is why the long time frame of the US Global Fragility and Violence Reduction Act is so vital. The bi-partisan Act was passed overwhelmingly through the House of Representatives on 28 November. If it passes the Senate, it commits the US Government to invest in 10 countries (five already at war, five fragile) over 10 years, with coordination across all government departments from USAID to the military.
Too often, governments lose interest in countries once the crises are past. NGOs are left with one or two-year projects sputtering to an end and no donors in sight to continue investing in building everyday peace. But that is to ignore the evidence and misread the public.
State of impunity, Editorial
Justice delayed, justice denied, Editorial
Evidence shows that peacebuilding is effective, and also cost-effective. Every $1 spent on peacebuilding saves $16 in the costs of war, according to the Institute for Economics and Peace. A 2018 global poll undertaken by International Alert with the British Council found the public strongly favour ‘dealing with the reasons why people fight in the first place’ and ‘supporting societies to deal with conflict peacefully’, as effective means of creating long-term peace.
So in 2019, the community of peacebuilding organisations will be pushing for the US Act to be passed into law, for other governments to adopt the approach, and for concrete progress for victims in Nepal as another building block of lasting peace.
Harriet Lamb, CEO of International Alert and Rabina Shrestha, Manager of International Alert Nepal