Nepal’s Prime Minister, Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda,’ addressed the United Nations General Assembly, stating that his country is nearing the conclusion of its unique peace process. He emphasized that the completion of transitional justice is a top priority on his political agenda. He also assured that there would be no blanket amnesty for serious human rights violations and called for goodwill and support from the international community to finalize the peace process.
Nepal’s civil war from 1996 to 2006 resulted in an estimated 17,000 casualties, and many Maoist leaders, including Prachanda, face accusations of murder and grave human rights violations. The transitional justice Bill introduced in Parliament in March has been criticized for its perceived inadequacy in prosecuting these serious crimes.
Prachanda is embarking on an eight-day visit to China, aiming to balance Nepal’s relationships with both its northern and southern neighbors. His visit to the United States and China comes at a time when Nepalese leaders from major parties, both in government and opposition, face allegations of corruption, eroding the government’s authority and credibility both domestically and internationally.
Prachanda’s previous role as a leader in the Maoist insurgency had led to his inclusion on US global watchlists. However, he has now become a crucial figure in advancing American interests in Nepal due to the country’s strategic location and growing US engagement in the region.
His support for the $500 million Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Nepal compact grant in February 2022, despite China’s objections, improved Nepal-US relations significantly. Prachanda’s alignment with the pro-India and pro-US Nepali Congress in the November 2022 election played a pivotal role in endorsing the MCC. Nepal also sided with the US in condemning Russia’s war against Ukraine in the UN. However, the Deuba government withdrew from the State Partnership Program (SPP) in June 2022 to avoid being pulled into an anti-China military agreement.