January 2011 Monthly Forecast

Posted 22 December 2010
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 ExpectedCouncil Action
In early January the Council is expected to consider a report of the Secretary-General on Nepal and to review progress made on the September agreement between the government of Nepal and the United Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (UCPN-M). The report is also expected to contain details of the arrangements being made for the post-UNMIN period.

Unless there is a joint request from the Nepalese parties, Council members appear ready to shut down UNMIN. Resolution 1939, adopted by the Council on 15 September 2010, renewed UNMIN until 15 January and agreed that UNMIN’s mandate would then be terminated.

At press time there was no indication of whether the parties in Nepal would ask for an extension. In the past such requests have been made at the very last moment. UNMIN, which was conceived as a “focused mission of limited duration,” has now been extended seven times since it was set up in January 2007.

Key Recent Developments
B. Lynn Pascoe, the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, made a two-day visit to Nepal from 3 to 4 December 2010, during which he discussed the situation with the government, political parties, and the diplomatic community in Kathmandu. He also visited a Maoist cantonment in the Chitwan district. In a press conference in Kathmandu at the end of the visit, Pascoe stressed the importance of quickly resolving the closely related issues of integration and rehabilitation, power-sharing and the drafting of a new constitution.

On 9 December 2010, Pascoe briefed Council members in consultations. Council members agreed on remarks to the press in which they underlined the need for the Government of Nepal and all political parties to take advantage of the UN Mission in Nepal’s (UNMIN) remaining mandate and make compromises to ensure real progress.

Following a request from the Maoists, Nepal’s president agreed to convene a special session of parliament from 19 December 2010 in an attempt to break the deadlock over the election of a new prime minister. After six months and sixteen rounds of elections since Madhav Kumar Nepal resigned as prime minister, parliament has yet to elect a new prime minister.

In September 2010 the Nepalese Special Committee for Supervision, Integration and Rehabilitation of Maoist Combatants formed a secretariat to help with the implementation of its tasks. (On 30 November 2010 the Special Committee appointed a retired lieutenant general of the Nepal army, Balananda Sharma, as the coordinator of the secretariat.) On 16 December 2010 the Special Committee asked its secretariat to come up with a calendar for army integration and rehabilitation within the month.

The Council also had a briefing from Pascoe on 14 October 2010. He had visited Nepal from 6 to 7 October as requested by the Council in resolution 1939. He told Council members that although important steps had been taken, there had been no breakthrough. On 20 October 2010 the Council issued a press statement reiterating support for Nepal’s peace process and underlining the importance of the implementation of a clear work plan, including timetables and benchmarks, for the supervision, integration and rehabilitation of former combatants, as well as arrangements for the management of UNMIN’s residual tasks after 15 January.

On 15 December UNMIN wrote to both Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal and the Chairman of the UCPN-M encouraging all parties to reach an agreement on the reintegration of Maoist army personnel and encouraged the parties to expedite an agreement on monitoring and supervision of arms and armed personnel in the cantonments following UNMIN’s departure.

A Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict delegation led by Mexico, the chair of the Working Group, and made up of Council members from Austria, France, Japan, Russia, the UK and the US, visited Nepal from 22 to 26 November 2010. The delegation met with government ministers, UN officials, UCPN (Maoist) senior leaders, civil society representatives and children, and obtained commitments from the Government of Nepal and UCPN (Maoists) on moving forward with the rehabilitation and reintegration of conflict affected children. This was the first mission undertaken by members of the Working Group. The chair of the Working Group briefed members of the Council on the visit to Nepal during the joint briefing from the chairs of Council subsidiary bodies on 20 December 2010.

Human Rights-Related Developments

Nepal will undergo its Universal Periodic Review in the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) on 25 January. The human rights situation in Nepal over the previous four years, which coincides with the end of the conflict in the country, will be reviewed. This review will provide an opportunity for the HRC to scrutinise Nepal’s compliance with international human rights laws and standards. Submissions by stakeholders with concerns about Nepal’s human rights record have focused on the breakdown of the rule of law and of state institutions. Failures by Nepal’s political parties to draft the constitution by the 28 May 2010 deadline, and to form a new government after the resignation of the prime minister on 30 June 2010 are seen as having delayed necessary political and institutional reforms, leaving the peace process in an increasingly vulnerable position. Moreover, these delays have resulted in human rights-related issues dropping down the political agenda. Of particular concern is the impact of these failures on the need to fill gaps in national legislation to ensure effective transitional justice and confront continuing impunity for grave human rights violations.

Key Issues
The key issue for the Council is whether to terminate UNMIN’s mandate on 15 January.

Also a key issue is what the Council should do if there is a last-minute request from all parties for UNMIN to stay. There are concerns about the signal the Council would send if it chooses to shut down UNMIN in the face of a direct request to stay.

A closely connected issue is how the Council should react if a request to remain is made by just one of the parties.

Another significant issue is how UNMIN’s departure might affect the stability of the security situation in Nepal.

Also an issue is whether appropriate replacement monitoring arrangements can be agreed on before UNMIN leaves. One suggestion is that Nepalese ex-army personnel do the monitoring, but at press time there was no consensus on this.

Among the issues following UNMIN’s departure from Nepal is UN capacity for reporting on the situation to the Council and whether a Council decision is needed for this. A related issue is whether the Council should make a formal decision for regular reporting on Nepal from the Secretariat or indicate that this remains within the discretion of the Secretary-General. (Nepal will continue to be on the list of issues of which the Council is seized for the next three years at least. However, it will still require a decision from Council members to be placed on the programme of work or for it to be taken up as a formal agenda item.)

Underlying Issues
The government has not yet investigated those responsible for crimes committed during the ten-year conflict with the Maoists, such as extra-judicial killings, torture and enforced disappearances. Human rights groups have argued that continuing impunity for the perpetrators of these crimes is contributing to a breakdown in law and order in some parts of the country.

The Council has the option of doing nothing, which would result in the end of UNMIN’s mandate and uncertainty about future reporting.

If there is a joint request from the parties to continue UNMIN, the Council has the following options:

  • choosing to leave nevertheless;
  • agreeing to renew the mandate for the requested length of time with no change to the mandate;
  • deciding on a technical rollover of one to two months; and
  • renewing the mandate, but with changes reflecting a new role for UNMIN.

Other options include:

  • requesting regular monitoring from the Secretary-General through a letter or in a presidential statement; and
  • requesting the Secretary-General to set up a reporting capacity to be located within the UN country team.

Council Dynamics
Most Council members seem ready for UNMIN to leave after 15 January if that continues to be the position of the Nepalese parties. There is acknowledgement that a last-minute joint request from all the parties could change the situation and some uncertainty about how the Council should handle this. The UK, US and France have become increasingly frustrated with UNMIN being unable to carry out its mandate properly and do not see much value in having it stay in Nepal. There is interest, however, from these countries in continuing to have regular briefings on the situation, particularly in the next six months leading up to the completion of the constitution.

Countries such as China, while open to UNMIN’s shutting down, have indicated it is also important not to ignore a joint request by all parties.

India will be on the Council in January, and most members expect it to be a key player on this issue. While India seems to have no objections to UNMIN’s departure from Nepal, it is less clear what its reactions would be to a request to stay or to proposals for capacity to ensure ongoing reporting. For most of the elected members Nepal is not a priority issue. Some members, however, are likely to be concerned with the consequences of UNMIN’s pulling out if the situation appears unstable or if there is a request from all parties to stay.

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UN Documents

Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/1939 (15 September 2010) extended UNMIN until 15 January.
  • S/RES/1740 (23 January 2007) established UNMIN.

Secretary-General’s Report

  • S/2010/453 (2 September 2010) on the implementation of resolution 1909. 


  • SC/10062 (20 October 2010) was the press statement following Pascoe’s October briefing.
  • SC/10090 (22 November 2010) was from the chair of the Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict following the visit to Nepal.
  • S/PV.6398 (14 October 2010) was the most recent open meeting on Nepal.
  • S/PV.6385 (15 September 2010) was the record of the adoption of resolution 1939.

Other Relevant Facts

Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of Mission

Karin Landgren (Sweden)

UNMIN: Size and Composition

248, including about 72 arms monitors as of August 2010


23 January 2007 to 15 January 2011

Useful Additional Sources

  • Indifference to Duty: Impunity for Crimes Committed in Nepal, Human Rights Watch and Advocacy Forum, December 2010
  • Note to the Media: Security Council urges compromise in Nepal as end of UN mission approaches, UNMIN, 9 December 2010

Full forecast

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