The Nepal Digest - February 8, 1998 (26 Magh 2054 BkSm)

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The Nepal Digest Sun Feb 8, 1998: Magh 26 2054BS: Year7 Volume71 Issue3
  Today's Topics:
                   Obstruction of a Due Process
                   Nepali Youth Magazine
                   conference posting
                   Re: The Monarchy
                   Re: Jason's vendetta against Christianity
                   informations on nepal
                   News from TND-Canada Chapter
                   Re: king's decision
                   Re: Nepal, Travel, Trekking and Trafficking.

 * TND (The Nepal Digest) Editorial Board *
 * -------------------------------------- *
 * *
 * The Nepal Digest: General Information *
 * Chief Editor: Rajpal JP Singh *
 * (Open Position) *
 * Columnist: Pramod K. Mishra *
 * Sports Correspondent: Avinaya Rana *
 * Co-ordinating Director - Australia Chapter (TND Foundation) *
 * Dr. Krishna B. Hamal *
 * Co-ordinating Director - Canada Chapter (TND Foundation) *
 * SCN Correspondent: Open Position *
 * *
 * TND Archives: *
 * TND Foundation: *
 * WebSlingers: Pradeep Bista,Naresh Kattel,Robin Rajbhandari *
 * Rabi Tripathi, Prakash Bista *
 * *
 * +++++ Food For Thought +++++ *
 * *
 * "Heros are the ones who give a bit of themselves to the community" *
 * "Democracy perishes among the silent crowd" -Sirdar_Khalifa *
 * *
****************************************************************** Date: February 5, 1998 To: The Nepal Digest <> From: Rajpal J.P. Singh <> Subject: Obstruction of a Due Process

"Obstruction of a Due Process"

In light of the recently created "constitutional crisis" out of a
"constitutional process", its every citizen's duty, not only a right, to protect and make sure that the constitution is being carried out in its true spirit.

Having said that, let us try to look at some of the underlying key points that make the bare foundation which upholds our Constitutional Framework (CF):

     1) In a true democratic sense, a constitutional thesis/framework/spirit
         is the unalienable truth that states "By the people, For the
         People and To the people".

     2) Prime Minister (PM) is fully accountable to the people. He/She
         is an elected candidate.

     3) Constitutional Monarchy (CM) demands that the Royal Institution (RI)
         can do NO WRONG because the RI facilitates "executive power" ONLY
         through the recommendation of a Prime Minister (PM) and his/her

     4) This is why the RI is NOT accountable to the people. Furthermore,
         He/She is the rightful heir and NOT an elected candidate. And this
         is why the RI is protected and is UNDER the constitution.

     5) Supreme Court Judges (SCJ) are NOT accountabole to the people. He/She
         is NOT an elected candidate.

     6) Advisory role of SCJ doesn't mean unlimited authority. The
         constitutional and the democratic understanding is that SCJ will
         limit itself to "judiciary nature of events" and consciously MUST
         refrain from stepping over "Executive" or "Legislative" organs of the

With this understanding, let us further look at the "constitutional process" of 1994, 1995 and 1998.

I. Constitutional Process in 1994

      1) PM is in majority.
      2) PM recommends House Dissolution (HD) and Midterm Poll (MP) to RI.
      3) RI calls for HD and Midterm Poll (MP) following PM's recommendation.
      4) Minority Opposition (less than 103) lodges protest to the SCJ.
      5) SCJ unanimously opinions that PM is in majority, hence the call has
          legal and constitutional merit.
      6) House is dissolved and Midterm Poll takes its course.

      Note: Every step here is under Constitutional Framework (CF).
             #1 says PM is in majority.
             #3 says RI, who can do NO wrong, followed PM's recommendation
                under constitutional framework (CF).
             #4 says Opposition was in minority (less than 103) when the
                protest was lodged.

II. Constitutional Process in 1995

      1) PM is in minority.
      2) Majority Opposition (more than 103) lodges request to RI for Special
          Session (SS) and to discuss vote of No-Confidence.
      3) Minority PM (less than 103) requests to RI for House Dissolution (HD)
          and Midterm Poll (MP).
      4) RI calls for HD and MP following PM's recommendation.
      5) Majority Opposition (more than 103) lodges protest against the
          Minority PM to SCJ.
      6) SCJ unanimously opinions that PM is in minority, Opposition is in
          majority, hence HD and MP is illegal and unconstitutional.
      7) RI cancels the minority PM's call for HD and MP and restores
          the House of Representatives.

      Note: Every step here is under Constitutional Framework (CF).
             #1 says PM is in minority.
             #2 says Opposition is in majority.
             #4 says RI, who can do NO wrong, followed PM's recommendation
                under constitutional framework (CF).

III. Constitutional Process in 1998

      1) PM is in majority
      2) PM recommends House Dissolution (HD) and Midterm Poll (MP) to RI.
      3) Minority Opposition (less than 103) lodges request to RI for SS.
      4) RI does NOT follow PM's recommendation and denies PM his prerogative,
          but asks for SCJ's opinion.
      5) SCJ in a DIVIDED vote gives its opinion to RI.
      6) RI calls for Special Session (SS).

      Note: Here serious questions arise as Constitutional Framework (CF) is
             not carried out in its true sprit.
             #1 says PM is in majority.
             #3 says Opposition is in minority (less than 103)
             #4 says RI, who can do NO wrong, has derailed a "Constitutional Due
                Process" instead of following PM's recommendation as outlined
                in the constitutional framework (CF).
             #5 says SCJ has crossed its "judiciary boundary" and infringed
                upon "Executive" and "Legislative" organs of the government.

Now lets look LONG and HARD at why a "constitutional due process" has been OBSTRUCTED in 1998?

      1) In a TRUE Constitutional Monarchy (CM), RI plays a role of symbolic
      2) CM demands that RI can do NO WRONG - an underlying element of the
          constitutional monarchy (CM) - hence RI simply facilitates majority
          PM's every constitutional recommendation without ANY further delay.
          This underlying element makes the PM and his/her cabinet accountable
          to the people, hence punishable ONLY by the people and NOT by either
          the Royal Institution (RI) or the Supreme Court Judges (SCJ). This
          element is the "life and soul" of a Constitutional Monarchy (CM).

      3) By refering the matter to SCJ which is not accountable to people,
          RI's request to SCJ has tried to turn a political-event to a
          judicial-event hence turning "constitutional due process" to a
          questionable "constitutional crisis".

      4) By not "felicitating in a constitutional monarchy capacity", RI
          has placed itself in "Obstruction of a Constitutional Due Process"
          situation which is a blatant violation of a CM democracy! This
          "Obstruction of a Due Process" awakes any law abiding and freedom
          loving citizen to ask "Why is RI allowing itself to obstruct a
          constitutional due process and What are its clear motives?"

      5) This leads to the ultimate question: Is RI accountable for its
          action? If NOT, we do NOT have "democracy in Nepal". We still
          live under the "absolute autocracy!"

   Last time I checked, "Obstruction of a Due Process" is defined as a federal
   crime, punishable by law, in this side of the free world.

   Ask your conscience not your wallet and/or party alliances, "Has the
   constitution been carried out in its true spirit?" Ask your conscience
   again, "Is there a true guardian of our constitution and our freedom?"

   Ask yourself that!
         so long, rjps
"Democracy perishes among the silent crowd!"

****************************************************************** Date: Thu, 5 Feb 1998 21:37:28 -0500 (EST) From: Nima <> To: The Editor <> Subject: Nepali Youth Magazine

Hello everybody,

Well let me introduce myself-I am Nima Puri, and I am a nepali undergraduate student going to Univ. of Maryland. I am the Vice-President of the Nepali Youth Organization here in the D.C Metropolitan area, and I am also the editor of our Nepali youth magazine called 'Kshiteez'. Since the foundation of NYO(Nepali Youth Organization), we have been able to publish three issues of the magazine. As we go on to move into another new year we hope to publish not less than four. This magazine gives a chance to all the nepalis all over to write about their ideas, their views, their stories, poems, thoughts, experiences etc. etc. If you want to know more about the magazine and the organization, please feel free to visit our web site at But let me get to the point. I receive the monthly issues of the Nepal Digest and I have read your articles. They are really good!!! I would therefore like to ask you to write for the magazine. You can write about anything that will prove to be interesting to all the nepalis here in the US and in Nepal. In due course of time we will be publishing this magazine in other cities and countries where there is a larger population of expatriate nepalis!!! We will be publishing the magazine just in time to be distributed around our Nepali New Year so the deadline date to submit articles is on the 20th. of March. I would therefore like to ask you all to start writing. As soon as the magazine is publised I will make it a point to mail the magazine to you all. Therefore, I would be really greatful if you did send me your mailing address as well. We need as many articles as we can get, so it would be really nice if you could also ask your friends or your family members to write for the magazine as well. You can then email me with the article! Thank you all for taking the time to read this email. Please inform me if you are able to write. Thank you, and hope to hear from you real soon!!!! Nima email:

****************************************************************** To: Date: Fri, 06 Feb 1998 09:58:46 Subject: conference posting From: (mercantile)

Attached file: NEWTHEME.DOC

Dear Editor,

I take pleasure informing you that the Central Dept. of Geography (CDG), Tribhuvan University, is hosting an international conference on "Sustainable Tourism in the Next Millenium - Implications on the Environment, Economy, and Culture" to be held Sep 7-10 1998.

I would appreciate it very much if you could kindly post the attached announcement in TND. We would like all Nepalis as well as the international community to contribute to this event.

For your info, while the CDG is mainly responsible for organizing this conference, various local and international agencies are also supporting this event and are part of the organizing committee. ICIMOD, IUCN, WWF, UNDP, Ministry and Department of Tourism, PATA, Hotel Association of Nepal, Nepal Travel Agents Association, RNAC, Swiss Foundation for Alpine Research are among the supporters.

For further info and flyer, please, contact:

Prof. Mangal Siddhi Manandhar Central Dept. of Geography Tribhuvan University Kathamndu, Nepal Fax: 977 1 331 319 email:

A World Wide Web page detailing the conference program is in process.

Finally, please include me in your mailing list.

Many thanks. Sanjay K. Nepal email: Sanjay/Stella Nepal 15/259 Paknajole Kathmandu 16, Nepal Tel. No.: (977)-1-422158

****************************************************************** Date: Fri, 6 Feb 1998 16:12:23 GMT To: TND <> From: (H Brown) Subject: Re: Jason Ritchie's vendetta against Christianity.

Although I don't normally respond on religious topics, I found it deeply offensive to have the teachings of Jesus Christ confused with the atrocities committed by some people and sects who call themselves Christians with no good cause, since they have lost sight of the fundamental Christian precept of loving one's neighbour.

I intended to write, but I was busy with anti-trafficking issues, so I was glad to see that Joel Hafvenstein and Owen Lewis pointed out the flawed thinking in Jason Ritchie's vendetta against Christianity.

I was brought up in the Christian faith and became intrigued by the religions practised in Nepal, without ever rejecting Christianity. People in Nepal, and elsewhere, don't need ideas projected onto them that could lead to them becoming needlessly suspicious of those of other faiths. I've never had much difficulty practising religious tolerance in Nepal. In fact I've been blessed by a number of holy men, even though it caused some consternation to a minority of people on my return.

Helen Brown

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. Martin Luther King, Jr.

****************************************************************** Date: Fri, 06 Feb 1998 03:55:02 From: To: Subject: informations on nepal

Dear sir/madam,
          I`m Bijay Gurung from Nepal currently studying in England.I`m having a model of the UN Session in march in which I`m representing Nepal.My topics include
                  -issues on climate change
                  -issues on indigenous people and
                  -issues on arms trade
          I would be very grateful if you could send some informations on these topics.Thanking you for your kind cooperation.

Yours sincerely Bijay.

*********************************************************** From: "Anil Shrestha" <SHRESTHA@CROP.UOGUELPH.CA> To: Date: Fri, 6 Feb 1998 16:54:57 EDT Subject: News from TND-Canada Chapter

From: Anil Shrestha, TND Canada Correspondent Subject: Canadian Aid to Nepal

This article has been reproduced with the permission of CIDA. I thank CIDA for allowing me to publish this information in "The Nepal Digest." Any queries can be directed to the address at the end of the article.

Canadian Assistance to Nepal 1994-95: $ 18.36 million Bilateral = 29.9 % Multilateral = 67.3 % Partnership = 2.8 %

Nature of Canada's commitment

Canadas co-operation program with Nepal implements projects through three types of mechanisms: bilateral programs (country-to-country), multilateral programs (assistance through international institutions) and the Canadian partnership program (assistance through non-governmental organizations
[NGOs], institutional co-operation and industrial co-operation). During the 1980s and early 1990s, Canada sought to increase food and energy production in Nepal, while preserving the environment and the livelihood of Nepalis through human resource development and institution-building programs. Canada's latest strategy focuses on two areas that intersect with the major goals of the Government of Nepal: improving the living standards of the poorest people through rural development, and developing the potential of considerable water resources.

The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) manages a bilateral development assistance program with Nepal. The program is based on partnership with Canada's private sector, non-governmental organizations, professional associations, educational institutions and government departments.

CIDA's current development assistance objectives for Nepal are institution strengthening in water and energy-resource management, and good governance through community development. The women in development theme is integrated into the planning and execution of all projects. The institution-strengthening projects focus on increasing capacity for appropriate, environmentally sound water and energy resource management. Projects also help institutions to better plan and implement policies, and address domestic and regional environmental issues. A new community-based economic development project is designed to strengthen Nepal's civil society by developing local organizations as viable institutions capable of interacting with locally elected governments, governmental agencies and ministries. Implemented by the Canadian Centre for International Studies and Cooperation, this project focuses on socio-economic development and environmentally sound management of natural resources.

CIDA's assistance to Nepal is also provided through multilateral organizations such as the United Nations Development Programme, UNICEF, the World Food Programme, the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank. The multilateral institutions, in particular, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, are major sources of public development finance in Nepal and important channels of policy dialogue and development advice. CIDA uses its influence within these organizations to improve their leadership and effectiveness in aid coordination and to promote measures consistent with

An important CIDA institution-strengthening initiative supports the Water and Energy Commission Secretariat and the Nepal Electricity Authority. The project reinforces the Secretariat's policy and planning capability by providing professional advisory services and training. Implemented by Canadian International Water and Energy Consultants, this project increases Nepal's capacity for environmentally sound water and energy resource management.

The University of Calgary is implementing the second phase of a CIDA health- development project to help communities take a participatory approach to their development needs. This project focuses on income-generating activities and the development of community health models, leading to the development of sustainable community-based organizations. Small community projects focus on agriculture and forestry management.

Women in development

A Women in Development Initiatives Fund was established to strengthen the ability of governmental and non-governmental organizations to deliver community and social programs targeting women. The CIDA-funded activities have three objectives: to strengthen women's groups through gender sensitization and programming; to develop links between Nepali women's groups and non-governmental organizations; and to support the integration of gender issues into government policies and programs.

Infrastructure services

Canada has gained prestige and influence through its long involvement in Nepal's civil aviation industry, which is vital to regional development and tourism. Canada provides airport security equipment, training, maintenance facilities and, through the Twin Otter Support Project, supplies aircraft, parts and pilot training. The Twin Otter project helps Royal Nepal Airlines and Nepal's Department of Civil Aviation by extending the life and improving the operational safety of the country's fleet of Twin Otter aircraft.

List of Bilateral Projects in Nepal NEPAL HEALTH DEVELOPMENT PROJECT PHASE II Duration:1995-2002 Implementing Agency:University of Calgary Description:This is a community development project to increase the capacity of communities to address their development needs through a participatory community development approach. Programs will be in the areas of skills training, socio-economic and health improvement, and household and community infrastructure.

THE CANADA FUND Duration:1997-98 Description: The fund finances a variety of small local projects in Nepal. It serves to complement CIDA bilateral activities by allowing the Canadian High Commission to react with greater flexibility and speed to local requests and needs.

                                    Implementing Agency: Canadian International Water and Energy Consultants
(CIWEC) Description:The goal of the project is to increase the capacity for environmentally sound water and energy resource management in Nepal. The purpose is: (1) to assist Nepal's Water and Energy Commission Secretariat (WECS) in its efforts to become a sustainable institution; and (2) to strengthen the institutional capacity of WECS to develop and coordinate water and energy policies, and to advise water and energy program implementation agencies.

                               Implementing Agency:University of Calgary with a consortium of Canadian Universities. Description:The project is designed to increase the capacity of the Institute of Engineering of Tribhuvan University to train engineers, architects, rural planners and technicians to help alleviate Nepal's shortage of professional personnel. This project is co-financed with the World Bank and Switzerland.

AIRPORT SECURITY Duration:1988-97
                            Implementing Agency:Transport Canada Description: Project objectives involve assisting the Department of Civil Aviation to install a new security system at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu to improve air travel safety. The project includes providing and installing equipment, as well as training airport personnel.

TWIN OTTER SUPPORT Duration:1994-2000
                                 Description:The project's goal is to assist the Government of Nepal in implementing its rural transportation strategy to improve domestic civil aviation services for regional development and tourism. The purpose of the project is to assist Royal Nepal Airlines Corporation (RNAC) and the Department of Civil Aviation in extending the life and improving the operational safety of the Twin Otter fleet, and to enhance the capabilities of Nepal's air transportation institutions.

                             Implementing Agency: Canadian Cooperation Office - Kathmandu Description: The fund is intended to strengthen the capacity of selected organizations to plan and implement development activities aimed at improving the status of women, promote women as equal partners and beneficiaries in community development and increase awareness of gender issues.

                               Implementing Agency:Canadian Centre for International Studies and Cooperation (CECI) Description:The goal of the project is to enhance the development of civil society and local democracy in the area of management of local resources, and socio-economic improvement of poor rural communities. The project seeks to strengthen community based organizations to develop as viable and mature institutions capable of interacting with locally elected governments, governmental agencies and central level ministries and agencies.

For more information, please contact: Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) 200 Promenade du Portage Hull, Quebec K1A 0G4 Tel: (819) 997-5006 Toll free: 1-800-230-6349 Fax: (819) 953-6088 For the hearing and speech impaired (TDD/TTY): (819) 953-5023 Internet address:


*********************************************************************************************** To: Date: Sat, 7 Feb 1998 04:47:43 +0530 From: (Himal Ghimire)

Dear Sir, Please publish the following in TND. Thanks a lot.

Dear Sir / Madam,

If you are looking for a good 3 bedrooms flat for short/long-term lease just outside Ring Road for you or your people, kindly contact us.

Located in the hill surrounded by terraces, pine forest and temples, the apartment has a grand view of the Kirtipur Horticulture Farm, Kathmandu and the Himalayas and is only 2.5 kilometers (1.5 miles) south of Balkhu, Ring Road on the way to Panga.

The flat has spacious 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, dining and living area. For more information and visit please contact Suresh Shrestha in Nepal at telephone number 977-1-330494 (11 am - 4 pm except holidays) or at email Or Himal Ghimire in Sacramento, CA at telephone number (916) 486 - 9355 or at email

The flat is fully furnished with beds, furniture, cooker and refrigerator and is available from the moment you decide to move in. Weekly rent Rs. 6,000. Monthly rent Rs. 20,000. Annual rent negotiable. Thank you very much for your time.

Please contact your travel agency for the current conversion rate between US$ and Nepalese Rs.

Yours truly,

Himal Ghimire 4412 Baron Avenue Sacramento, CA 95821 Phone : (916) 486 - 9355 e-mail :

****************************************************************** Date: Fri, 06 Feb 1998 17:43:31 -1000 To: From: Narain <> Subject: made a typo ( re: let us look for a solution for girl
  trafficking? )

Note: as i was reading through what i had written, i came up on a typo which could change the meaning of my sentence. the letter below is with the correct spelling. if you could delete my earlier version and replace it this one, i would appreciate it.


        it seems that for the last few months, the topic of conversation on TND has been about the problems of "sex trafficking of innocent Nepalese girls to India." this topic seems to have generated a lot of discussions and interest and rightfully so.... this is a very serious problems that will have serious repercussion for us all in the future, may it directly affect us or through the deterioration of a nation.

        these discussions have lead to reporting of statistics on girls being tricked into prostitution, the epidemic of the AIDS, horrific stories of how parents sell their own daughters to makes ends meet, and also the history and how this trafficking business can be justified because it was done by Rana oppressors....

        well, with all being said.... the fact still remains that we have an ongoing problem that needs a solution. awareness through the Internet to Nepalese residing outside of Nepal is a powerful tool and it has certainly got my attention, however, majority of us (readers and writers) in TND will probably never ever experience the pain, suffering, humiliation and loss of human dignity faced by these girls and their families.

        let us face it, many of these girls and their families are in the lower economic bracket with little education to protect themselves from people who have no humanity.... i think of these traffickers as vultures that prey on the weak and wounded.

        i for one feel frustrated and angry.... i would like to be a part of the solution but what can one person do to help out.... i think one person can do a lot if we all put our heads together and come up with a realistic and practical solution.

        what i would like to start is a discussion on different kinds of alternatives we can should be focusing on to rid this problem. a sort of brain storm from us all... i know that there are a lot of people who read this newsletter who are knowledgeable about laws in Nepal. it is a plea to ourselves that we do not allow some money motivated trafficker to sell the lives and dreams of our "didi" and "bahinis."

        i have read some reports on "Kathmandu Post" about politicians addressing these problems, but i have not heard any positive results or even any plan to take any actions. it may be just myself, but i feel like there is a lot of talk but "no walk" from these politicians. if there is anyone who knows of any committee in Nepal addressing the girl trafficking problem, i would appreciate the information.

        my brain storm is to put together a special committee in Nepal that will investigate and take appropriate actions to protect the girls. this organization should be an independent and not dictated by the Nepalese government.

        my other ideas include, radio and television broadcast for problem awareness, speakers travelling to remote villages to educate families about the dangers of trusting stranger, pushing for stricter laws against any traffickers, seeking out the traffickers or even investigating the brothels in India who violate the innocent victims.
         this is a point of view of one reader and i know that are many of us out there who are bothered by what we read about Nepal with regards to girl trafficking. i personally do not qualify for anything other than seeing a problem and wanting to do something about it.

        i do not want to analysis or read more sad stories, i want to take some action. the Internet has given us all a great opportunity to unite and voice our opinions so let us all be a part to do want we can to save the future "ama" of our country.

        let us all look for a solution.

*************************************************************** From: (RBADBX) Newsgroups: soc.culture.nepal Subject: Re: king's decision Date: 7 Feb 1998 15:47:07 GMT

It is astonishing to see the communist and the royalist as bedfellows. The adage that ' Politics makes strange bedfellows' only seem to be to true.

According to their ideology, they should be mutually exclusive; only one should exist at a time, not both. Therefore, it can be infered that the communist really do not believe in their dogma and that the royalist will do anything to survive and retain power. Congress Party has not proved to be any better either, it has turned into a party by the Koiralas for the Koiralas.

The Shah's of Nepal have been manipulating and surviving for the last 200 years(?). The present politicians and the citizens of nepal are of no match to the so called Royals deceit, corruption, and immorality laden lives. It is depressing to see that they have been able to corrupt the politicians in such a short time after the jana andolan. They are the root of all the causes, and before it is too late they shoul be uprooted.

Dahi Chuire's like Arjun Singh of People's Review, M.R. Josse, and Katrina Williams, and misguided individuals like Ravi Thapalia really do not help the dialouge. It is better if they kept quiet and let others who at least show some maturity in judgement and independent thinking do the talking. They should remember that: It is better not to speak and be judged a fool than to open one's mouth and prove it.

Bishwonath has served the country very well. Remember, he did not accept the post of chief justice of the supreme court under the panchayat regime when it was offered to him because then he would have to obey the Palace. Nepalese citizens deserved a uncorruptable chief justice.

He was intrumental in providing the current costitution, the political leaders after the jana andolan were ready to accept a constitution that had been drafted by the Palace. Only when Bishwonath threatened to resign and go to the people, did the political leaders and the Palace retreat.

He was labeled as a communist by the Congressis and Indians after the Tanakpur verdict, now the communist label him as a congressi. Words are cheap, it's the deed that counts. Furthermore, now the Military Intelligence(Palace) accuses him of being a agent of the Indians.

For that matter, the communist and the royalists have also accused Thapa and Girija as Indian agents as well. What non-sense. Ravi seems to buy all this without any analysis.

****************************************************************** Date: Sat, 7 Feb 1998 15:46:42 GMT To: TND <> From: (H Brown) Subject: Re: Nepal, Travel, Trekking and Trafficking.

Dear Sir,

Our Web site at seems to have stirred up plenty of healthy debate.

Bijaya Rajbhandari wrote:
>Many issues seems to have been mixed up. Some brought up the
>issue of rape during the visit in Nepal...

When Robert Markey and I put together this web site we realised it represented a controversial approach to the problem of sex trafficking. I seem to have repeated so many times that in highlighting the abuse of tourists as a way of emphasising the importance of female human rights, we are not out to harm the interests of the ordinary person involved in tourism in Nepal. The remedy for any threat to Visit Nepal 98 is extremely simple and it lies within the hands of the tourism industry itself. All it has to do is pressurise or remove guilty men, replace them with men of integrity, then Visit Nepal 98 can continue without opposition from us, but a precedent for taking note of the human rights of women has been set.

An e-mail that we recently sent out to Nepalese travel companies explains the point.

Robert Markey wrote:
>Dear Sir,
>Over the past several months we have organized an e-mail campaign to
>raise awareness on the issue of sexual harassment and rape of women
>travelers in Nepal. During this time we have had some good
>communication with several of the tourist agents, media people and
>government officials who were on our list of e-mail recipients. We
>want to reaffirm that it has never been our intention to hurt any
>innocent people involved in the tourist industry in Nepal.
>Our intention is to bring international attention to this problem.
>It is the responsibility of all involved in any aspect of tourism,
>including government officials and the police, to insure that no
>women traveling in Nepal will be subject to any kind of sexual
>abuse. If abuse does happen it is the responsibility of those same
>people to insure that the offender is quickly brought to justice. If
>publicity surrounding such abuse does damage to the tourist
>industry, the industry itself is solely to blame.
>For those of you who are unfamiliar with the realities of rape we
>would like to point out that most rapes - anywhere - go unreported.
>Shame, mistrust, emotional trauma and the expectation of not being
>believed make it very difficult for any woman to report a rape. For
>a woman traveling in a foreign country it is even more difficult.
>Not knowing the language or the customs, difficulty in changing
>airline reservations to stay and press charges, and callous
>treatment at the hands of local officials or police make it almost
>impossible to take any kind of action except to get home and try to
>recover as best she can.
>Please don't assume that because a case has not come up for trial
>that abuse is not present or even rampant. As noted in the
>attachment sent previously, one article in the Independent several
>years ago elicited letters from several women who had been abused by
>those in the travel industry in Nepal. **
>Because of the World Wide Web and its growing use by people
>gathering information before traveling as well as making travel
>plans, the travel industry is increasingly vulnerable to campaigns
>such as ours. We will be doing everything in our power to continue
>to monitor the situation in Nepal and will not hesitate to post
>travel warnings, name abusers and urge people to take further action
>if any abuse of women occurs in the future. We implore you in the
>travel industry to take this issue very seriously and make it clear
>to your employees, coworkers, colleagues and elected officials that
>abuse will absolutely not be tolerated.
>We will also be increasingly focusing our attention to the issue of
>sex-trafficking girls and women from Nepal to the brothels of India.
>This trafficking both in Nepal and elsewhere is a brutal violation
>of the basic human rights of hundreds of thousands of women
>worldwide and must be stopped. Travelers come to Nepal because of
>its extraordinary natural beauty and because of the warm hospitality
>shown by its people. The presence of large scale trafficking
>operations in this same country is a real threat to the health of
>the travel industry. We implore you to realize this and as leaders
>in your communities to do everything you can to stop this practice.
>We invite you to work with us in this issue.
>We welcome your comments on our work.
>Robert Markey
>Helen Brown

** The attachment sent were pages from our web site featuring letters and articles from The Independent about the maltreatment of women tourists.

Some trek company owners have responded to this e-mail by showing great sympathy for victims, discussing possibilities of awareness- raising programmes for both guides and women and told us of their concern about sex-trafficking and hopes of setting up centres for the rehabilitation of women returning from the brothels.

The reaction of many others is so negative that we are convinced of the points raised by Aiko about the callous disregard of the rights of women who are misguidedly written off as "easy".

In time we will have a very clear picture of the attitudes shown to women tourists by many companies and travelers to Nepal will check out our site before booking. Accordingly the human rights of women will not be so easily overlooked by men of wealth and power in Kathmandu. We can use this as leverage to press for an end to trafficking.

With regard to the numerous other countries where tourists are assaulted, I would like to see Web Sites dealing with them also. However such a site demands specific knowledge of the country, which is why I am concentrating on issues in the country where I worked for so long. So Nepal is not being singled out. In time, as more people with specific knowledge of different countries take note of our idea, it will be seen to be one of a series of countries where specific human rights issues are examined in relation to tourism. The boycott of Burma came before any action of ours.

Helen Brown

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. Martin Luther King, Jr.

****************************************************************** Date: Fri, 6 Feb 1998 02:13:23 -0500 (EST) From: Joel Hafvenstein <> To: The Nepal Digest <> Subject: Re: The Monarchy

Ang Tsering Sherpa's letter on the horrors of the Nepali monarchy in a recent issue of TND ["Should we question monarchy?" Feb 4, 1998] struck me as slightly... odd.

I couldn't help feeling that it had been sitting around in a drawer somewhere since the late 1980's... because half of Mr Sherpa's complaints about the King haven't been accurate since the panchayat era.

The King does not have absolute power. This is because the King has
 _already_ "given up his power to the people" in order to "let his country move forward". The King is not a dictator like Marcos, however many shoes Her Majesty may possess. The King does not make laws, and his exercise of authority is strictly limited by the constitution. The government of Nepal _is_ chosen "by a majority vote of the people"... because the head of government is the PM, not the King. (Even after today's court decision).

The King is a "figurehead" -- slightly less so than Queen Elizabeth of England, but then, the English monarchs haven't truly ruled for centuries. If you compare King Birendra to kings in other new democracies (King Juan Carlos of Spain, for example) it should be quite obvious that the King of Nepal has a perfectly normal amount of power for a constitutional monarch. Again, this remains true even in light of recent events. The Supreme Court just stripped a power from the Prime Minister -- foolishly, in my opinion -- but they only gave it _very_ loosely to the King.

The King is not a democratic leader, and he _did_ get his position solely by right of birth. But democracy can and does survive very nicely with non-democratic institutions woven into it -- most notably, figurehead monarchies. See half the countries in Europe for examples. The point is not whether a King remains as head of state... the point is whether he's head of government. King Birendra is not.

To these old problems, Mr Sherpa suggests two possible alternatives. The first -- a violent coup -- is even more ridiculous now than it would have been under the panchayat system. First, as Mr Sherpa correctly points out, the King has the army and the money (not to mention the popular legitimacy) to crush anyone who actually wanted to get rid of him violently. Second, in the 1970s and 1980s there was the chance that getting rid of the King might have helped bring about democracy. But now, what on earth would you hope to gain? The problems with Nepali government now come from democratically elected politicians, not from the monarch.

The second alternative -- gradual change leading to a democratic system -- happened in 1990. And yes, plenty of objections were made at the time by people who enjoyed benefits under royal rule... but the King repeatedly ignored those objections and backed Nepal's democratic leaders in times of crisis. Since then, he has repeatedly deferred to the Supreme Court on difficult constitutional issues. He has been one of the most reliable actors in the constitutional system so far (certain politically-motivated slurs to the contrary).

Yes, the King _is_ looking out for his own interest. And being an intelligent King, His Majesty will accordingly do his level best to act within the constitution (just as he has been doing). He's not foolish enough to repeat his late father's royal coup -- not when doing so would instantly plunge Nepal into a civil war twice as bad as the one he so narrowly avoided back in 1990.

In my opinion, the only way King Birendra will resume power is if he is explicitly _asked_ to... by G.P. Koirala, K.P. Bhattarai, and Man Mohan Adhikari. Until he has the support of the major parties, he'll wait patiently. Look to the politicians for danger signs, not the King.

> Human right issues such as freedom to vote without intimidation and
> freedom to speak your mind without fear that you will be taken away by
> the army or the police and disappear without any trial.

The only electoral intimidation that goes on now comes from either the Maoists or (allegedly) the major political parties. And the only major human rights violations by the government have been in the Maoist- afflicted areas... which violations, while immoral, affect only a minority of the population. Now, if the anti-terrorism bill had been introduced last fall, _then_ we'd have something to gripe about.

> It seems that Nepal has fallen through the loopholes and forgotten from the
> rest of the world.

It seems that Mr Sherpa has fallen through a loophole and missed the last eight years of Nepali history.

Nepal does need to develop a less hierarchical culture; the caste system, if strictly enforced, would be utterly incompatible with a system of basic human rights. But one can have a King without a caste system, and
(similarly) getting rid of the King will not _end_ the caste system.

The problems of Nepali politics go much deeper than the monarchy, and so far King Birendra has been quite helpful in holding the whole system together. I honestly don't think Nepal would gain anything worthwhile by opting for a king-less republic.

Regards, Joel Hafvenstein

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