When the Maoists joined the peace process, the United Nations Mission in Nepal was set up to oversee, monitor, and rehabilitate the Maoist combatants. As the mandate of UNMIN comes to an end, it seems its mission has become an impossible one.
When the rebel Maoists and the seven-party alliance signed the 12-point agreement and the Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA), UNMIN was invited to Nepal. It is now compelled to leave the country without achieving its objectives. The seven-party alliance and the Maoists needed UNMIN for verification, registration of combatants, and the storage of weapons. However, the Maoists and other political parties could not reach an agreement on the basic modality of integrating the combatants. So the mediator, UNMIN, seems to have run out of business.
The state has had a lot of complaints against UNMIN. It has been blamed for taking decisions in favour of the combatants, having no control over them, and working as a spokesperson of the Maoists. There was a dispute on the extension of UNMIN's mandate for the seventh time, but the Security Council approved a four-month extension. The recent visit of B. Lynn Pascoe, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations for Political Affairs, also underlines the fact that this is the last UNMIN extension. In this situation, people are curious to know how the process of integration and the peace process will continue.
If there was no need for UNMIN to mediate in the integration of the combatants, why did the political parties and the Maoists invite it to Nepal? If it was needed, then how can UNMIN's exit be justified when the peace process and integration of the combatants are still unresolved? Is there no need to explain why UNMIN is being sent back by the concerned parties? It is not the failure of UNMIN to be leaving without achieving its objectives, it is the failure of the signatories of the CPA. It is not due to UNMIN's failure that PLA integration could not happen, it is due to the lack of honesty of the political parties. The government seems to be in a hurry to send back UNMIN by all means but is talking about seeking economic and technical support from the UN. We can't yet tell what effect the government's decision to send back UNMIN will have on the relations between Nepal and the UN. It would not be wise to make haste in sending back UNMIN before deciding what will happen once it is gone.