31 December 2013 |

Nepal: Internal displacement in brief

As of December 2013

 

Seven years after the government and Maoist rebels ended their decade-long armed conflict, nearly all of Nepal’s IDPs have returned to their homes. An estimated 50,000 have been unable or unwilling to do so, mainly as a result of unresolved land and property issues and security concerns. The Maoists expropriated land that was then often sold or given to landless or tenant farmers. The absence of public services and a lack of livelihood assistance have also undermined the sustainability of returns.

Since 2007, episodes of separatist and criminal violence in central Terai, the region south of the Himalayan foothills, have displaced thousands of people. Both hill-dwelling Pahadis and their wealthier Madhesi counterparts on the plains have been affected, with most reported to have moved to the town of Hetauda and Chitwan district near Kathmandu.

Nepal’s constitutional assembly, which was elected in November 2013, is tasked with completing the country’s draft constitution, which will also clear the way for the 2006 national policy on IDPs and its related procedural directives to be implemented.

The government’s rehabilitation programme for IDPs, which is implemented via its District Administrations Offices (DAOs), has focused on their voluntary return, with support limited to covering transport costs.

Many of those still displaced as a result of the Maoist conflict, however, would prefer to integrate locally or settle elsewhere, given insecurity in their places of origin and the psychological trauma they suffered. Meantime they continue to live in urban areas, many of them in the Kathmandu valley.