At January 15 midnight, United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) concludes its four-year long stay as monitor of the Maoists combatants and arms. Although, it’s exit didn’t coincide with the conclusion of peace process – the official end of the Maoist’s People’s Liberation Army that fought hard and violent for more than 10 years, UNMIN’s role in bringing the peace process to this spot is laudable.
We may wonder exactly at what spot the peace process is. There are many contradicting views about it, mainly depending upon the political biases of the people answering or the level of optimism (or pessimism) within them. For me, the peace process is positively stationed at the right track and unless some very foolish ideas ignite in the mind of the people in power, including all top political leaders, the peace process will conclude successfully – and to a very satisfying note that the peace process began and concluded internally.
UNMIN’s role in this is very simple. When the peace process began, UN was needed for one very fundamental yet important aspect: the faith. Maoists have just been out of the violent war, and they were not in a position to judge political powers within the country confidently. They had to be cautious – and UNMIN provided them an environment where they could stop worrying much about ploys against combatants and fight their way into political system. UNMIN provided them the faith that they would not be deceived, and that was a very, very important role at that time.
There were controversies surrounding UNMIN – lately the overly exaggerated risk-evaluation by it’s chief Karin Landgren (of course, the president’s rule, or army coup had been tea shop gossips but it wasn’t something that important for her to let the world know and fear of). I maintain that after seeing the April Uprising in 2006, nobody will dare to challenge people for next couple of decades by trying to throw in an autocratic rule.
Even there are people who believe that since the peace process didn’t conclude, UNMIN was a failure. Well, if peace process has concluded, it would have been the best thing. But the non-conclusion of peace process is the failure of the political parties because UNMIN is just a referee who was given a whistle to manage what’s going on, but not to control the ball itself.
The general impressions among non-Maoist supporters is that UNMIN aligned more with the rebels. Maybe that’s what they have wanted for their success, but it made people and parties believe that they were on Maoists’ side – it was clear when Maoist tried to extend it’s terms. The high number of verified combatants which was solely UNMIN’s responsibility, and no stern warning to Maoist at any time during last four years was a reason to believe that.
I believe UNMIN’s exit is happening at the right time. The exit will put a kind of pressure on the Maoist, the government and other political parties to conclude the peace process because it’s all for themselves now. The longer it goes, the frustration will grow – most importantly among the combatants themselves and it would put the political parties in a difficult situation.
Thank you, UNMIN. And, no matter what UN and its secretary-general and his representatives think about the dangers of failing of the peace process, I sincerely believe that it will succeed to become an exemplary solution of an internal conflict. For leaders of all parties, especially Maoist, history is ready to record your names in golden letters.