Security Sector Reform is necessary when the security sector (army, police, etc) of a country cannot provide adequate security to the state or the citizens. Moreover, a failing security sector can be a huge detriment for the promotion of peace and development.
Nepal is in dire need of a Security Sector Reform since the end of the Maoist Insurgency, and it has proved to be a different topic to tackle due to the particularities of this specific case. Why? First and foremost, it is not an easy task at all! But moreover, there is a power struggle in Kathmandu for political power, and those taking the major decisions in this process face great obstacles and pressures to make this reform a successful one. The future of Nepalâ€™s political and military stability lie greatly in their hands, as well as the willingness of all Nepalese people to accept the changes that are to come.
So, in regards to SSR, what has been done and what has yet to be accomplished?
Since the end of violent conflict in 2006, the government has indeed accomplished several difficult tasks in this regard. Firstly, it has identified and categorized the totality of Maoist combatants, disarmed them, stored their weapons securely, and recalled them into their cantonments. They have also come to the decision of three different ways to deal with former Maoist combatants. These combatants have the option to chose: either to be integrated into the Nepali Army, the Nepali Police, or the Armed Police Force; accept a voluntary retirement which is accompanied by a financial remuneration package; or choose rehabilitation and reintegration into society. The government has also been able set a limit into how many combatants will be reintegrated into the army and police force, have separated child combatants from the cantonments and set them up with rehabilitation and educational packages, and agreed on the method, quantity and time frame of the combatant financial remuneration packages.
Although much has been done, there are still major issues that have to be dealt with. First and foremost, what to do with politically indoctrinated soldiers and combatants, who used to target each other just some years back, living under one roof and one command? How is this process being dealt with? Is there a need for rehabilitation no matter what decision the combatants choose to take?
From the interviews and research done in Nepal, we could find no clear answers to these questions, other than a detailed explanation of how complex this issue is, and how pivotal it is to the success of the entire peace process. There was little to learn about the underlying process and feelings of the reintegration of combatants, while there was plenty of information in regards to the bureaucracies involved in doing so.
I am afraid that after so much effort and time, these combatants and soldiers will not be happy with the offers handed to them by the government and leaders, or will perhaps see the decisions taken as unfair or bias. We must hope that their willingness and vision for peace go beyond their grievances, and their motivations for a united Nepal go beyond their distrust of the â€˜otherâ€™â€¦ After all, they managed to get what they wanted through arms already, right?