Although a peace agreement was signed in 2006, political tensions still strike at the heart of Nepal. Earlier this year a group of 46 civil servants received a letter delivered by one of the remaining armed groups – SJMM. They wished to install their own men in office, and would do so by force if necessary. The letter called for the civil servants to quit their jobs immediately, or face violent consequences.
Terrified, 46 civil servants resigned.
Local organisation YAPE has an increasingly respected reputation for bringing disputes like this to a peaceful resolution – the head of the district government asked them to intervene. After establishing the facts, YAPE’s representative Bhojraj informed the UN and the National Human Rights Commission, and then contacted the media. Bhojraj also made telephone contact with the SJMM, and over the next three days he negotiated for the men who had been forced to resign to be able to meet together, without fear or threat of violence, in the District Administration Office. This was the first step in establishing a process by which the civil servants could withdraw their resignations.
Aware that the civil servants were united and had the backing of the media, after a week the SJMM told YAPE that the 46 men could withdraw their resignations and return to work.
YAPE’s invaluable local knowledge meant they knew who to speak to, when, and how. Their skills and experience with the media denied the SJMM the chance to manipulate the situation, and YAPE’s contacts on the national and international level helped bring the pressure needed to find a peaceful resolution.
As Kishor from YAPE put it: