Closing the border isn’t an option

Due to hostile environments in India and Bangladesh, Rohingyas fleeing genocide in Myanmar may look to Nepal for refugee, and in order to protect Nepal’s sovereignty and national security, they should be barred from entry into Nepal, argued Prasanna Mahat in her article entitled The Rohingya in Nepal published on January 1 in this newspaper. While the situation is undoubtedly complex, the idea that Nepal should deny entry to new arrivals is a problematic argument for several reasons. First of

Citizenship, Identity and Nepal’s Contested 2015 Constitution

Four years ago, celebrations erupted across the Nepali capital after President Ram Baran Yadav stood in front of the Constituent Assembly and promulgated a new constitution. The constitution formally declared Nepal a federal democratic republic and was the product of the second Constituent Assembly which had been in session since 2013. The final proceedings of the constitution were fast tracked in an ephemeral moment of political unity as the country still reeled from the devastating April earth

Api Nampa Conservation Area has been a colossal failure

Nepal suffers from an extraordinarily wide variety of environmental threats. One method of alleviating such threats has been the establishment of Conservation Areas. Yet despite this well-intentioned and relatively successful environmental policy, Api Nampa Conservation Area in Darchula district has not been successful at all. The Api Nampa Conservation Area (ANCA) is Nepal’s latest Conservation Area (CA) and was established in 2010 in an attempt to conserve the ecosystem of far western Nepal.

Nepali Diaspora in Thailand struggles to get citizenship

Most of the Nepalis in Thailand are recent arrivals, coming to work, to study or simply to visit the beach. Yet there are some who have much longer ties to the region. These people of Nepali origin migrated to Burma long ago, but were then pushed out of Burma and have landed in Thailand. The Thai-Nepali Association states there are 80,000 Thais of Nepali descent living in Thailand and some have claimed that over 90 per cent of all Nepalese living in Thailand are refugees from Burma. Today they a

Land Seizures, Protests, and Arrests in Myanmar

Land confiscation is rife in Myanmar. Confiscation of land for plantations, Special Economic Zones, development projects or for use by the military or other armed groups has affected Myanmar for decades. Today, following the 2015 Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement and the easing of sanctions on the country, bringing an increase in foreign capital for development projects, the pace of land confiscation shows no signs of slowing down. The scale of the seizures is not accurately known but in 2016 the F

The British Empire Is Not Dead – It Lives On In Colonial-Era Legislation

The British Empire started to fall apart after the Second World War. Over the new few years, at the culmination of long, hard-fought independence struggles, countries all over the world gained independence and were free, more or less, to pursue their own goals and self-rule. However, an unhelpful inheritance of colonial legislation designed to repress, control, and curtail freedom of expression was bestowed upon these nations.

Monsoon in Mae La

Maximillian Morch writes about how local community organizations in refugee camps mitigate natural disasters but face cuts. A few months ago, widespread flooding from the start of this year’s monsoon caused havoc in refugee camps on Thailand’s western border with Myanmar. The flooding destroyed homes, community buildings and schools. Now the disaster response is almost complete, with civil society and donors providing resources for emergency relief. Yet now, as the waters have subsided, a new q

Easy money

Prime Minister KP Oli’s five-day visit to Beijing in June 2018 resulted in fruitful developments such as the signing of a memorandum of understanding on several items, most notably a Lhasa-Kathmandu railway. India did not see this trip, which will bring significant developmental benefits to Nepal and geopolitical benefits to China, from a positive point of view. For some in New Delhi, such agreements threaten well-established mutual cooperation between India and Nepal. They do not see this devel

Why is Nepal not respected as a sovereign state

The dynamics between Nepal and regional superpowers, China and India point to a much bigger issue that questions the sovereignty of small states. How China and India engages with Nepal, and how Nepal responds provides great insight into the dynamic relationship between two emerging powers. Researchers should always be on the lookout for ways that could shed light on the nature of relations between these big powers.

The Slow Burning Insurgency in Thailand’s Deep South

Thailand’s deep south is far different from the islands that put Thailand on the tourist map. Here, the muezzin is heard more frequently than music from bars. The insurgency which has been ongoing in earnest since 2004 has played out mostly in the three southernmost districts of the country — Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat — and occasionally the southern provinces of Songkhla. The insurgency’s roots in the deep south date back to Thailand’s annexation and conquest of the Malay Sultanate of Patani

The Sultanate of Pattani

The colourful but briefly lived Sultanate of Patani was formed in 1516 and only lasted to the late 17th century. Yet during this relatively brief period, During this period of a few hundred years, Patani rose ‘from obscurity in the fifteenth century, Patani was, by the end of the sixteenth century, one of the premier Southeast Asian centres for Chinese and Japanese goods and a major player in the trade of the Malay Peninsula and South China Sea’. Yet now this region, consisting of modern day Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat has been in the midst of an insurgency that started in earnest in 2004.

Nepal and the Rohingya Refugees

Images of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya fleeing all manner of atrocities in northern Rakhine state in western Myanmar have flooded television screens and newspapers over the last few months. Over 500,000 Rohingya are believed to have fled in order to escape persecution by the Tatmadaw, Myanmar’s military. Stories of rape, murder, and torture have now become commonplace. While the overwhelming majority of refugees are currently in Bangladesh, several hundred Rohingya have sought refuge in Nep

The quandary of repatriating refugees along the Thailand–Myanmar border

Ever since political and ethnic conflict erupted in Myanmar in 1948, hundreds of thousands of civilians have been forcibly displaced and left to flee to and settle along the border with Thailand. These refugees are predominantly from Myanmar’s ethnic minorities and as conflict between ethnic armed organisations (EAOs) and the Tatmadaw (Myanmar’s military) continues, many are stuck between the two countries in limbo.

A Gamble on the Border

The murky border trade along the Thai/Myanmar border has graduated into large well-constructed casinos with luxury duty free shopping. Yet behind the veneer of respectability lies a high social cost and a wealth of dodgy practice. The Moei River is unlike most rivers, in that it runs from a southern to northern direction, parallel to the Dawna mountain range. In places wide and fast flowing, in others, it slows to a trickle and can be crossed on foot. Yet nothing in the rivers flow would suggest its real importance, serving as the border between Myanmar and Thailand

Brick Kilns of Kathmandu

The earthquake in 2015, as destructive as it was, was heralded by many as an opportunity. An opportunity to build back better, stronger and more efficiently. The earthquake could well be a fresh start for Nepal. Yet now the motivation feels long gone. Well past the second monsoon after the earthquake, the palpable political will for change has dissipated and promises for reform remain forgotten. Nowhere is the wasted opportunity more obvious than in the brick kiln industry.

Forgotten Resources

If, the state of a nations libraries can tell us anything about a society, then Nepal is in trouble. Nepal’s libraries which have long suffered from a lack of attention and chronic under-funding suffered a devastating blow last April and has yet to bounce back. The earthquake caused huge destruction to the physical structure of libraries and now almost 2 years of neglect has damaged the interior and the truly important part of any library, the books themselves. The majority of Kathmandu’s libraries were

Trekking to the Rolwaling Valley and Tso Rolpa Lake

The first Western exploration of the Rolwaling Valley was undertaken by Eric Shipton and his team at the end of the 1951 British Mount Everest Reconnaissance Expedition. After extensive exploration of the Solukhumbu for potential routes to tackle an Everest summit attempt, the team decided on their return to cross over the Tashi Lapsek Pass and return to Kathmandu via the as-yet-unexplored Rolwaling Valley. It was here that Shipton took the iconic and original yeti footprint photographs, startin

Trek to Darchula and the Api Nampa Conservation Area

There I stood, on paths previously trod by the famed Limi salt traders, who ventured further north into Tibet, while staring a the riverbanks of the most western flank of Nepal, into what was once the territory of the Gurkha Kingdom. Alone in this remote district of Nepal, I stared into India from my vantage point inside the Api Nampa Conservation Area. Far off the beaten track of Nepal’s tourist industry lies the Far West region. Yet over the last few years, tourism has fast started to advance

The silent epidemic

Going by World Health Organisation (WHO) data, Nepal ranks very high in suicide rates, with 15 people taking their lives every day, on average. The country ranks seventh in the world for suicide rates and also ranks third for suicide rates among women between the reproductive age of 15-49 years. With 24.9 suicides recorded per 100,000 people in 2012, the last year for which comprehensive WHO statistics are available, Nepal has the second-highest rate in Southasia, with only Sri Lanka having a hi
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