The ‘people’s war’ was launched by the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (CPN (M)) against the Nepalese state in 1996. It claimed the lives of over 13,000 people. It ended in November 2006 with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the Government of Nepal and the CPN (M). HD was involved in a six-year long effort, from mid-2000 to 2006, to help bring about a negotiated solution to the conflict in Nepal. During this time, HD worked with the leadership of all parties to the conflict, including various Governments in Kathmandu, the CPN (M) and the Royal Palace.
HD’s involvement in Nepal dates back to August 2000 when it first initiated contact with representatives of His Majesty’s Government of Nepal (GoN). Confidential contact with the CPN (M) was established later that year, with a view to establishing a discreet channel of communications between the two parties.
HD was involved in a long-standing effort to bring about a negotiated solution to the conflict. HD’s initiative included working closely with the leadership of all parties to the conflict, including the main political parties, the Royal Palace, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and four administrations in Kathmandu at the Prime Ministerial level. HD intensified its contacts with all sides following the declaration of emergency on 1 February 2005.
In 2001 and 2002, HD travelled regularly to Nepal and the region to meet with representatives of the CPN (M) and the GoN and sought openings for engagement. In response to the privately expressed positions of the CPN (M) leadership and the then- incumbent Prime Ministers of Nepal, HD put in place specific arrangements for secret meetings between the two sides on two separate occasions. Unfortunately, in both instances, political developments in Kathmandu conspired to derail seven and eight months respectively of confidential deliberations and groundwork.
Following the declaration of a ceasefire in January 2003 and the beginning of the second round of public negotiations, HD provided both sides with negotiation and technical support to build on the momentum for talks. This included support for the establishment of Peace Talks Coordination Secretariats for the activities of the respective negotiating teams.
HD also worked closely with the four designated National Facilitators to the peace talks, providing them with technical and logistical support to establish a functional office and base for their activities in Kathmandu.
Following the collapse of negotiations in August 2003,HD focused its efforts on re-engaging the conflicting sides in dialogue. In 2004, HD opened a confidential track of dialogue between the Royal Palace and the top leadership of the CPN (M). At the request of the latter, it sought to convene a meeting between then King Gyanendra and Pushpa Kamal Dahal (‘Prachanda’), the CPN (M) leader. HD met regularly with representatives of both sides to set up such a meeting but the steadily deteriorating relations between them put paid to this initiative. This period was capped by the declaration of a State of Emergency by King Gyanendra on 1 February 2005.
Through 2005 and 2006, HD adjusted its approach to the parties and the region in response to the changing political environment. This included regular meetings with the leadership of the parties to the conflict, constantly identifying or creating opportunities for engagement between them; while also seeking ways to ensure the political support of non-armed elements of Nepalese society and other interested parties.
A popular uprising in April 2006 led to the end of the State of Emergency and the restoration of the government. Following peace talks led by the newly-restored government with the CPN (M), the two sides signed a Comprehensive Peace Agreement on 21 November 2006 formally ending the conflict.
The CPN (M) joined an interim government in April 2007. Elections to a Constituent Assembly took place on 10 April 2008, in which the CPN (M) won the largest number of seats. The Constituent Assembly passed a bill at its first session on 28 May 2008 ending the monarchy and declaring Nepal a republic.