Publication date: 
Mar 2017
Civil society played a pivotal role in the 2006 People’s Movement in Nepal, which eventually led to the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and the end of a decade-long civil war. 
Devendra Raj Panday was one of the principal drivers of the Citizens’ Movement for Peace and Democracy (CMDP), a civil society initiative that was instrumental
 in laying the ground for the 2006 movement. In an interview in Conciliation Resources’ latest Accord publication, he describes how Nepal’s civil society movement helped expedite the end of the war, connecting the political process to the people while mediating between the Maoists and the political parties and their respective agendas. 
Below are extracts from Devendra Raj Panday’s interview. Read the full interview in our latest Accord publication Two steps forward, one step back: Nepal’s peace process.

In 2005 and 2006, in addition to the authoritarian regime that [King] Gyanendra had imposed on us, there was violence all over Nepal due to the Maoist ‘People’s War’. It was causing unnecessary deaths, disappearances of people and humanitarian crimes. The Maoists were making all kinds of demands for a new constitution. Some of these were what we as civil society actors were also demanding, and we began to think of ways to bring them to the table to talk peace, to talk about regime change of a sort that would also be acceptable to the established parties.

We faced challenges in making a clear demarcation between the parties and ourselves. The movement called for by the political parties did not pick up speed on its own. People were fed up with them, just as seems to be the case now. The civil society activists who used to come to our meetings were professionals wanting to talk shop, but we had to have mass meetings to mobilise people’s support. We went to the people, from house to house. In many places,
I remember people saying they would support us if it was our programme. And we had to explain who we were – civil society actors who mediate concerns between the people and the parties; but we are not political parties, we do not run the government. Because we explained this and perhaps because of our actions, we got the support that we did.

Politicians have to run the party and have to provide the spoils of office to their supporters. I am not a politician. I am truly independent. I love being a citizen. That is the most powerful position in the world.

Read Devendra Raj Panday’s full interview in our latest Accord publication Two steps forward, one step back: Nepal’s peace process.

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