The year 2006 witnessed dramatic changes in Nepal. In April 2006 demonstrations led to an alliance between seven political parties and the Maoist factions, and the reestablishment of parliamentary power in Nepal. Months of peace negotiations followed the proclaimed cease-fire with disarmament and monarchy being two major issues. Finally, the Nepal Peace Agreement was signed on November 21, 2006.
The signed peace agreement ended a decade-long armed conflict in Nepal which claimed 13,000 lives. Reconciliation and trauma healing are now more urgent and important than ever for the Nepalese people.
Since the official end of the conflict, violence has continued at a smaller scale, while poverty, human rights abuses, and internal displacement still plague the country. Political wrangling has repeatedly delayed elections for a Constituent Assembly to draft a new constitution. However, the multi-party alliance has held, and progress is being made toward the establishment of a stable democratic government.
Dr. Borris and Ambassador John McDonald were first invited to work in Nepal by local NGOs in 2001 to help with the issue of the Maoist insurgency. They initially met and worked with more than seventy individuals including the members of the dalit or “untouchable” class, Maoist revolutionaries, women’s groups, business leaders, and two former prime ministers. Subsequently, Dr. Borris and Ambassador McDonald have provided two extremely successful training sessions for a total of sixty individuals. These individuals have bonded, and some have formed their own NGO, the Collective Campaign for Peace (COCAP), which trains local villagers in conflict resolution.