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Civic Solidarity for Peace

Founding Statement (19 April, 2003), including:

Context and Reasons for Founding

Main Goals

Immediate Action Programme

Main Co-ordinating Committee

Why this Organisation, Why Now?

The ceasefire agreed upon by the state and the CPN(Maoist) a few months ago has come as a great relief to all peaceloving Nepalis. It has ended, even if only for a little while, the ongoing murder and violence between Nepalis that has marked the period of merciless civil war. The war-ravaged economy, industry and commerce, have a chance to recover a little.

Hope has reawoken in the working class: hope for conditions in which honest toil would provide a livelihood. For thousands of Nepalis displaced from their homes and villages by war and insecurity, a slim chance of return is in sight. The situation in the countryside remains more uncertain than in the cities. Fear and terror still run rampant there. Yet even in the countryside, the cycles of killing and being killed largely stopped some time ago. That too is a major achievement. And so, each and every member of civil society declares a heartfelt welcome to the ceasefire and our wish that peace endure.

But we seek no mere lifeless husk of peace. We will accept no superficial negotiations or retrogressive agreements. We want a progressive and just peace. We want a lasting peace, one of equality, sovereign dignity and independence.

We call for talks to be held at the earliest possible moment. We call for talks that lay a groundwork, so the peace process can bear fruit. Let the talks forge a path, commonly agreed upon, a path toward resolution of the sharpening crises and contradictions in Nepali society. And let there be no behind-the-scenes preparation for war, or mobilizing of armies, during the period of peace talks - not from any quarter.

Let both sides rigorously respect the terms of the ceasefire. Collectively the people are an infallible monitor of what really goes on in every far flung place. And so, let the common citizenry, each and every one of us, take initiative and action to safeguard the ceasefire.

Let the talks include all sides and let no concerned party be left out. For the talks to succeed and the peace endure, there must be agreement between the state and the main political parties on a core basic issue: the protection and furtherance of the achievements of the 1990 People's Movement. This is an issue of the first importance today. To nurture vigilance and solidarity in civil society, and to create a powerful consensus and people's pressure, are just as essential.

At present various concerned wings of civil society are rushing to found pro-peace campaigns or committees. These spontaneous initiatives are important signs of our desire for peace and our deep concern for the peace talks. All the independent steps being taken by peace advocates are welcome and their spirit should be encouraged. But the necessity of the hour is to unite these efforts so that work on behalf of enduring peace will be powerful and effective.

A united program of people's pressure needs to be organised, and out of it a people's consensus created. It is precisely to meet this need that Civic Solidarity for Peace has been founded. This organisation emerges out of the gathering held in Kathmandu on 6 Baishakh, 2060 (19 April, 2003), which has brought together representatives of many civil society organisations and peace campaign committees.

Main Goals of Civic Solidarity for Peace

The main goals of Civic Solidarity for Peace, are as follows:

In order to achieve these objectives, Civic Solidarity for Peace has been founded at today's (19 April 2003) gathering. All individuals present in this meeting and all organisations represented here are, by consensus, automatically members of Civic Solidarity for Peace.

Main Co-ordinating Committee

Recognizing the practical problems in calling together all members of such a large organisation on very short notice, a 21-person main co-ordinating committee is established by those gathered together here today. Its members, in alphabetical order, are:

Arjun Karki
Gopal Thakur
Narendra Bajracharya
Padmalal Vishwakarma
Parshuram Tamang
Binod Dhangol
Bhikshu Ananda
Malla K. Sundar
Maheshwarman Shrestha
Mangala Karanjit
Rajbhai Jakami
Rajeshwar Acharya
Rohitkumar Nepali
Lundup Dorje Lama
Sulochana Manandhar
Swanaam Lama
Sharad Paudel
Sharad Onta
Shantikrishna Adhikari
Shobha Gautam
Shyam Shrestha

In forming the main coordinating committee, effort has been made to include a member of each of the peace campaign committees and the main civil society organisations currently engaged in peace activities in the capital. Effort has also been made to ensure representation of women, dalits, minority nationalities and various religious faiths. We may have left out organisations or communities of which we were unaware. If so, they can be added through consultation with the main co-ordinating committee at any time. The contact office of the organisation will be in Kathmandu. One of its important activities will be to expand into all parts of the country.

Action Program: Stage One

1. Lobbying to create people's pressure for success in the talks, and for peace.

2. Peace rallies in all the major cities of the country on a single day, Friday, 19 Baisakh (2 May, 2003).

3. Carry out a signature campaign calling for long-lasting peace:

4. Creation of peace committees at the district and village levels:

5. Expand connections and joint actions with international peace campaigns.

6. Produce informational materials that promote the creation of a people's consensus for peace.

7. Create people's pressure to influence the substantive content of the talks:

Our slogans:

Peace talks now!

Victory to the peace talks!

Enduring peace, nothing less!

End deployment of both armies!

No war. Peace, Peace!

No backsliding. Progress, Progress!

Respect the ceasefire!

This is the full text of the founding document of Civic Solidarity for Peace, passed by the gathering of representatives of civil society organisations and peace campaign committees in Kathmandu on Saturday, 6 Baishakh, 2060 (19 April, 2003). English translation prepared for the Main Co-ordinating Committee.

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