KATHMANDU, June 11: Arguing that Nepal's peace process successfully concluded after the completion of the three-tier elections under the new constitution, the government has directed the United Nations to close its Department of Political Affairs (DPA) unit in Nepal with immediate effect.
A cabinet meeting held last week took the decision to shut down the DPA unit that was in operation as the residual office of the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) after the government decided not to renew UNMIN's mandate on January 15, 2011.
“The office has been closed down. We have informed the UN about our decision in writing that those working in the office should leave the country within three months,” said a minister, asking not to be quoted.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) Spokesperson Bharat Raj Paudyal said the government decided to shut down the office as Nepal is now already moving ahead on the path of stability and progress after putting in place democratically elected governments both at provincial and federal levels. “Nepal sincerely appreciates the role played by the UN in the initial stage of the peace process and thanks to the UN for extending its good office,” he said.
Officials said the government took the decision as the relevance of the DPA office was over after the successful holding of the three-tier election as per the new constitution drafted by the democratically elected Constituent Assembly (CA) in Nepal.
The government move comes amid reports that the UN body courted controversy over its involvement in various unwarranted activities. The office faced allegations of supporting separatist elements and working in tandem with western countries promoting similar agenda in Nepal. Most recently, the office was dragged into a controversy after it was found carrying out an unauthorized political survey under the cover of UN Resident Coordinator earlier this year.
The UN Office in Nepal confirmed that DPA had received the letter from Nepal government regarding the closure of the DPA unit. “The Nepal Permanent Representative in New York met with DPA Assistant Secretary-General on June 7. The letter is under discussion between the Government and DPA,” said Ram B Shah, national information officer at the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) in Nepal.
The DPA unit was set up in Nepal after the UNMIN that began its work after the Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA) was reached between the government and then rebel, CPN (Maoist) in November 2006, was asked to wind up on January 15, 2011. The UNMIN was set up here to assist the fragile peace process between the government and the Maoist rebels including overseeing rehabilitation and integration of the former Maoist combatants into the national security agencies.