DEEPLY ROOTED SOURCES OF CONFLICT COULD DERAIL A FRAGILE PEACE
Encouraging a culture where all perspectives are considered
Most rural areas in Nepal suffer from an absence of any form of justice provision and dispute resolution. As a result, disputes are common, frequently recur, and go unresolved. Even in areas where there is access to justice, the high frequency of cases means that pursuing justice becomes expensive. Unresolved disputes affect social harmony. Interest-based, facilitated mediation in Nepal, pioneered by The Asia Foundation since 2000, has provided a community-level arena for Nepalis to respond to and address the underlying causes of local conflicts. The community mediation program acts as a mechanism to overcome obstacles causing social disharmony in areas that are remote, lack access to justice services, and suffer from high dispute rates. Mediation sessions transform long-held tensions among neighbors and families into cordial relationships based on equality, mutual respect, and participation; and disputants learn to respect other points of view. Last year, we expanded the program to 114 locations in 12 districts. For impact, we provided guidance to the Ministry of Law and Justice and the Supreme Court in developing mediation regulations, procedures, code of conduct, and other policy instruments required to implement the new Mediation Act.