On 30 May 2016, the report “Poverty, Stigma and Alienation: Reintegration Challenges of Ex-Maoist Combatants in Nepal” was launched in Kathmandu.Its findings are based on a project supported by our Grant for Innovation in Conflict Transformation. This participatory action research project was carried out by Simon Robins and Ram Kumar Bhandari in collaboration with a team of 12 veterans from the Maoist People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in 2014-2016.
It offers a sobering assessment of the fate of PLA ex-combatants 10 years after the Comprehensive Peace Accord which put an end to a decade of civil war. It finds that the process of demobilising the PLA was one led by the political imperatives of the leaders of dominant political parties, rather than the interests of the nation or ex-combatants themselves. The greatest challenge to the process was and is the large gap between the expectations of ex-PLA and what they received on demobilisation. There remain a number of acute challenges in their process of political, social and economic reintegration, to the extent that 75% of these combatants-turned-civilians could foresee the future use of arms for political means if instructed so by their leadership.
The project sought not only to understand what had happened to the ex-PLA, but to help them find a voice that they so clearly lacked, by supporting the organization of an ex-PLA National Network. The event, attended by 150 participants, including Berghof Foundation’s Shareholder Johannes Zundel, as well as 90 former PLA combatants, provided an additional platform for these women and men to be heard in their communities and the broader nation. The launch was also well covered in the media: Article Kathmandu Post (1 June 2016) >