Hey Kid, Is Your Pa with the UN? 🙂
Media persons in Nepal celebrated the United Nations’ Day on Oct 24 by holding the Peace Photo Award 2008 for the photojournalists. For others, despite amidst the news of UN General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon’s visit to Nepal in late October, the UN Day was just another official Day that was observed a week after the Condom Day(Oct 17?). This is not to mean that Nepalis don’t care for the world body, on the contrary, like the proud soldiers of Nepal Army, every Nepali (as well as people from the developed world) would feel proud to introduce themselves as a UN staffer. Like Ian Martin said, Nepalis are also looking forward to UN General Secrectary Ban Ki Moon’s visit as “the highest symbol of the United Nations’ interest in Nepal peace process and commitment to see it fully realized”. Nonetheless, like in all other countries, the UN role in Nepal also remains under severe public scrutiny.
Prof Jayaraj Acharya, former Nepali ambassador to UN, questions the UN’s excuse of lack of budget on the one hand, and the “staffers enjoying their salary without doing any work” and the utility of “smooth UN limousines proudly cruising on the narrow Kathmandu streets” (Kantipur daily, Oct 25). Prof Aachaya also criticizes the UN’s “failure” in responding to the needs of the victims of Kosi floods in Eastern Nepal and that of flood & famine in Western Nepal. Just a day ago, UN’s resident & humanitarian coordinator for Nepal Richard Piper had claimed on UN’s “response” to such situations with food, shelter, water, and health care. Who knows, Prof Aacharya’s sharing of public cynicism toward all “high-profile institutions” might be the result of a long wait since his last tenure for a UN job for himself!
Howerver, no one, including Prof Aacharya, doubts the need for UN presence in Nepal. From Maoists to Madhesis, all the armed groups in Nepal have demanded for the UN mediation during their talks with the Nepal Govt. Despite the occasional accusations of inefficiency & impartiality from different sides, the United Nations’ Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) is still monitoring the Maoist Guerillas in various cantonments and their arms stored in special containers. UNMIN played a crucial role in certifying about 20,000 as valid combatants from an army of about 32,000 guerillas. Another UN body, the UNHCR, is also active in Nepal looking after the Bhutanese refugees for more than 15 years who were otherwise forsaken by all concerning countries – Bhutan, India, & Nepal.