Flag of the Federal Democratic Republic of NepalNGO Law Monitor: Nepal

Introduction | At a Glance | Key Indicators | International Rankings
Legal Snapshot | Legal Analysis | Reports | News and Additional Resources
Last updated 19 February 2016

Update: Since the passage of the new Constitution of Nepal in September 2015, Nepal has become mired in political unrest revolving around the Madhesi people in the southern plains. Trade routes with India have been disrupted, leading to nationwide shortages of basic supplies, including, food, fuel and medicine. In January 2016, the Constitution was amended in an effort to satisfy the demands of the Madhesi political parties. The prolonged crisis has disrupted the work of CSOs throughout the country, including relief and reconstruction efforts following the 2015 earthquakes. 


Introduction

Civil society has gained strength in Nepal in the past 25 years. The number of civil society organizations (CSOs) has rapidly increased due to the emergence of a more favorable environment following the dawn of multi-party democracy in 1990. However, the broad concept of civil society is not yet well understood by most Nepalese, including civil society members themselves. As a result, civil society is divided on what the legal enabling environment for CSOs should be.

Nepal's commitment to human rights is reflected in policy documents that repeatedly affirm the intention to provide Nepali people an open and free environment to enjoy their rights, including the freedoms of assembly, association, information and expression. At the same time, however, CSOs often criticize the existing legal framework for carrying forward the controlling legacy from the previous royal regime. Moreover, CSOs still suspect that the government is trying to restrict civic space in one way or another. The statements and remarks of government officials and political leaders often lend credence to such suspicions.

The Nepali legal framework follows the common law tradition. Nepal used to be a unitary country, but following the people's movement that overthrew the monarchy in 2007, the country has been declared a secular, inclusive and federal democratic system. It is formally reinforced in the recently promulgated Constitution of Nepal. Attempts during the constitution-making process to make Nepal a Hindu state and a monarchy were rejected by the vast majority of CA members.  Many laws are subject to change to align with the new Constitution, but it is not clear yet how the laws affecting civil society will be impacted.

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At a Glance

Organizational Forms Association Foreign CSOs
Registration Body The Ministry of Home Affairs and its district offices, such as the District Administrative Office. The Social Welfare Council (SWC), the Ministry of Finance, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Approximate Number Though unofficial sources claim the number of associations to be around 84,000, data from the Social Welfare Council (SWC) -- an umbrella organization to look after CSOs -- shows that there are 39,763 associations registered with the SWC as of July 15, 2014. As registration with the SWC is not mandatory, the number of CSOs registered with District Administration Offices is likely much higher. As of July 26, 2015 the database from SWC shows that 211 international CSOs are affiliated with the SWC. In addition, there are a few CSOs directly aligned with other ministries.
Barriers to Entry (1) Mandatory registration.
(2) Only citizens may form associations.
(3) A minimum of 7 members required for registration.
(4) Annual re-registration.
Foreign CSOs are not allowed to partner with Nepali CSOs if these CSOs are not registered with the Social Welfare Council.
Barriers to Activities (1) Mandatory re-registration on annual basis.
(2) Mandatory audit requirements.
(3) No limited list of objective grounds for dissolution.
(4) Advance approval of project plan and budget if support is sought from other agencies.
Foreign CSOs must implement programs through local CSOs or government agencies by entering into project-specific agreements.
Barriers to Speech and/or Advocacy No legal barriers. The District Administrative Office, however, may impose temporary restrictions and seek advance information. n/a
Barriers to International Contact CSOs must receive prior governmental permission to accept international volunteers, materials and funding from outside the country. n/a
Barriers to Resources CSOs must receive prior governmental permission to receive assistance from the Government of Nepal or foreign entities. Foreign CSOs may not engage in fundraising from domestic sources.
Barriers to Assembly Only "citizens" have the right to assemble; the government restricts assemblies in sensitive political areas and has used excessive force to break up assemblies. Only "citizens" have the right to assemble; the government restricts assemblies in sensitive political areas and has used excessive force to break up assemblies.

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Key Indicators

Population 31,551,305 (July 2015 est.)
Capital Kathmandu
Type of Government Federal Democratic Republic
Life Expectancy at Birth Male: 67.3 years
Female: 69.1 years
Literacy Rate Male: 76.4%
Female: 53.1% (2015 est.)
Religious Groups Hindu: 81.3 %; Buddhist: 9.0%; Muslim: 4.4%; Kirant: 3.1%; Christianity: 1.4%; (2011 est)
Ethnic Groups There were 125 caste/ethnic groups reported in the 2011 census, including: Chettri: 16.6%; Brahman-Hill: 12.2%; Magar: 7.1%; Tharu: 6.6%; Tamang: 5.8%; Newar: 5.0%; Kami: 4.8%; Muslim: 4.4%; Yadav: 4.0%; and Rai: 2.3%.
GDP per capita $2,400 (2014 est.)

Source: CIA World Factbook and Nepal Central Bureau of Statistics (www.cbs.gov.np)

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International Rankings

Ranking Body Rank Ranking Scale 
(best – worst possible)
UN Human Development Index 145 (2014) 1-184
World Bank Rule of Law Index 28.4 (2014) 100 – 0
World Bank Voice & Accountability Index 38.3 (2014) 100 – 0
Transparency International 126 (2014) 1 – 180
Freedom House: Freedom in the World Status: Partly Free
Political Rights: 3
Civil Liberties: 4 (2016)
Free/Partly Free/Not Free
1 – 7
1 – 7
Foreign Policy: Fragile States Index
Rank: 36 (2015)
178 – 1

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Legal Snapshot

International and Regional Human Rights Agreements

Key International Agreements Ratification* Year
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) Yes 1991
Optional Protocol to ICCPR (ICCPR-OP1) Yes 1991
International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) Yes 1991
Optional Protocol to ICESCR (OP-ICESCR) No --
International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) Yes 1971
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) Yes 1991
Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women Yes 2007
Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) Yes 1990
International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families (ICRMW) No --
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) Yes 2008
Regional Treaties    
South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation
Two regional treaties were signed in 2000 (?) in regard to protection and welfare of children and women
Yes 1985

* Category includes ratification, accession, or succession to the treaty

Constitutional Framework

The Constitution of Nepal came into force on September 20, 2015 (unofficial English language version; official Nepali version). Relevant constitutional provisions include the following:

  • Articles 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, and 43, which relate to various individual freedoms, including civil rights (right to life, dignity, equality and freedom, right to information, right to justice, right so social security etc.) and political rights (rights to association, expression and exchange of ideas, participation in the state system, etc.)
  • Articles 17, 25, 29 33, and 34, which outline economic rights (rights relating to opportunity for proper employment, freedom from exploitation, freedom from hunger, right to food security and food sovereignty, right to select one's occupation, etc.)
  • Articles 31, 35, 38, 39, and 40, which guarantee social rights (rights to education, rights to health and medical facilities,  rights of children, rights of women, rights of Dalits, etc.)
  • Article 26 and 32 which guarantee cultural rights (rights to religious freedom, right to participate in religious cultural and traditional practices without hurting the sentiment and dignity of others).
  • Part 3, Article 17 of the Constitution of Nepal guarantees a set of freedoms for an enabling environment for civil society. According to an unofficial translation, Article 17(1) states “Except as provided for by law no person shall be deprived of her/his personal liberty.” Article 17(2) lists the following freedoms for every citizen:
    • Freedom of opinion and expression;
    • Freedom to assemble peacefully and without arms;
    • Freedom to form political parties;
    • Freedom to form unions and associations;
    • Freedom to move and reside in any part of Nepal; and
    • Freedom to engage in any occupation or be engaged in employment, establish and operate industry, trade and business in any part of Nepal.

However, each of these freedoms is subject to a separate clause on “reasonable restrictions” on acts that may undermine a number of things, including the “nationality, sovereignty, independence, and indivisibility of Nepal”; “national security”; or the “harmonious relations” between federal units or people of different castes, ethnicities, religions, or communities.  

Article 51 outlines policies that the state will pursue.  Article 51(j) provides “Policies regarding social justice and inclusion.” The fourteenth point of that set of Policies states (unofficial translation): “Involving NGOs and INGOs only in the areas of national needs and priority, by adopting a one-door policy for the establishment, endorsement, engagement, regulation and management of such organizations, and by making the investment and role of such organizations accountable and transparent.”

On January 23, 2016, Nepal amended the new constitution for the first time. Article 42, which addresses marginalized groups such as Dalits, ethnic and sexual minorities, and citizens in underdeveloped regions, was amended to specify that their employment in state structures and public service will be guided by the principle of proportional inclusion. Article 286 was amended to require population to be the first priority and geography the second when determining the 165 electoral constituencies of the House of Representatives.

National Laws and Regulations Affecting Sector

Relevant national-level laws and regulations affecting civil society include:

  • The National Directorate Act (1961) (Rastriya Nirdeshan Ain 2018)  aims to ensure that professional organizations and groups use their strength for their development, as well as nation building, with pre-approval and consent from the government.  CSOs registered under this Act include the Nepal Bar Association, Nepal Press Council, Teachers Union of Nepal, Nepal Federation of Journalist Associations and the NGO Federation of Nepal.  Unless formed by the government itself, any group wishing to register under this Act must apply and receive approval from the Cabinet through the relevant line ministry or based on law. For instance, the formation of a single Teachers Union was envisioned in the Education Act.
  • The Association Registration Act (1977) is the primary framework law for CSOs in Nepal.  Registration under the Association Registration Act is required for an organization to function legally.  Under the Act, an "association" means an association, institution, club, circle, council, study centre etc. established for the purpose of developing and extending social, religious, literary, cultural, scientific, educational, intellectual, philosophical, physical, economical, vocational and philanthropic activities, and also includes friendship associations.
  • The Social Welfare Act (1992) governs the provision of “social welfare” activity and “social service” activity.  To receive foreign funding and implement programs with foreign support, local CSOs must receive advance approval from the Social Welfare Council (SWC).
  • The Local Self-Governance Act (1999) encourages local government engagement with CSOs in development work.  The Act envisions that local governments will facilitate NGOs in the identification, formulation, approval, operation, supervision, and evaluation of the development program.  The Act also encourages the private sector to participate in local self-governance to provide basic services for sustainable development.
  • The Company Act (2006) (paragraph 19, articles 166 and 167) provides the legal basis to register not-for-profit business organizations and consultancy companies. Registration requires at least five citizens coming together to promote any profession, business, intellectual, educational, social, charity or welfare activities, with a non-profit intent.

Pending NGO Legislative / Regulatory Initiatives

1. As a result of advocacy efforts of CSOs, primarily led by the NGO Federation, the Government of Nepal has in principle accepted the need to reform the legal framework that governs CSO activity in Nepal. In this regard, the government requested the NGO Federation to make recommendations on needed reforms to the existing legal framework. The NGO Federation, in consultation with the Social Welfare Council, drafted the Social Development Act and shared it with various governmental institutions. There have been a few meetings between selected CSO representatives, including the NGO Federation, and the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare, where the draft remains. It is uncertain when this draft Act will be prioritized, especially in the changed constitutional, political, and administrative context.

2. In April 2014, the government was preparing to reintroduce the Diplomatic Code of Conduct. It was first introduced in 2011, revised in 2012, and a fresh draft was tabled in the Cabinet but not implemented. The revised Code adds provisions that would work concurrently with the new aid and investment policy, which is aimed at monitoring and standardizing INGOs and NGOs operating inside the country.

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Legal Analysis

Organizational Forms

The primary legal form for CSOs in Nepal is the association, which in Section 2 of the Association Registration Act is defined as “an association, institution, club, circle, council, study centre etc. established for the purpose of developing and extending social, religious, literary, cultural, scientific, educational, intellectual, philosophical, physical, economical, vocational and philanthropic activities, and also includes friendship associations.”

In addition to the association, it is possible to register as a professional organization under the National Directorate Act (1971), or as a not-for-profit company under the Company Act (2006).  The remainder of this report will, however, focus on associations, since associations are overwhelmingly the most common form of CSO in Nepal.

Public Benefit Status

The Income Tax Act 2058 (2002), Article 2, recognizes a category of tax-exempt organizations which includes organizations of a “social, religious, educational or benevolent organization of public nature established with non-profit motive.” Legal identity alone is not sufficient for CSOs to access tax exemptions, and most CSOs have found application of Article 2’s criteria unclear. For organizations that have received a tax-exemption certificate from the Department of Internal Revenue, income from grants, donations, and investments is not taxed. The certificate remains valid so long as the organization carries out the public benefit purposes mentioned in the organization’s by-laws and does not carry out income generating activities.

Barriers to Entry

Mandatory registration. Forming an association without registering the association is considered a violation that is subject to a fine. As per Article 3 of the Association Registration Act, “no person shall establish or cause to be established any association without having it registered pursuant to this Act.” Moreover, according to Section 12 of the Act, "If an association is established without having it registered pursuant to Section 3 or if an association is operated without having it registered pursuant to Section 7, the Local Authority may impose a fine of up to 2,000 Rupees on each member of the management committee of such an association.” The 2,000 rupee (20 USD) penalty imposed on “each member of the management committee” may in some cases be costly enough to deter people from participating in founding the association.  (That said, associations are generally not punished for operating at the local and district level without registration.)

Permissible Founders. First, foreign persons do not have the right to participate as founders of an association or members with voting rights.  The law requires all of the founding members to submit their citizenship certificates upon application for registration.  The requirement of citizenship certificates, in practice, excludes not only foreigners from enjoying the right to association, but also the many people who are born and live in Nepal but do not possess citizenship certificates. Foreigners can, however, be honorary members (without voting rights) of associations.  

Second, as per Section 4 of the Association Registration Act, “any seven or more persons willing to establish an association shall submit to the Local Authority an application setting out the following details of the association, accompanied by one copy of the statute of the association, and with the prescribed fee.”  The required minimum threshold of 7 founding members seems arbitrary, in that the government rationale for not allowing 3-6 people from forming an association is not clear.

Third, the District Administration Office (DAO), which is vested with the responsibility of registering associations, is not adequately staffed with competent professionals. The lack of capacity can significantly delay the registration process, especially considering the ever-increasing number of people interested in forming associations in Nepal.

Barriers to Operational Activity

Mandatory Re-registration. Associations are required to renew their registration annually.  The renewal process requires the association to submit a progress report, including audit, minutes of the annual general meeting, and the plan for the next year.  The renewal fee is 500 rupees, but organizations that do not renew are subject to a penalty which increases incrementally each year that the registration is not renewed. After five years of not renewing, an organization is subjected to a 5000 rupee (63 USD) fee on top of the unpaid annual renewal fees.  If the registration is not renewed within five years, the registration will automatically be cancelled.  As a result, associations that voluntarily suspend activities for five years are forced to pay the 5000 Rupee fee plus the unpaid annual renewal fees to begin operating again or, alternatively, must establish themselves anew, which is a burdensome and costly process.

Reporting Requirements. Reporting to responsible state agencies, such as the District Development Committee and District Administration Office (DAO), is required and is part of the registration renewal application.  In addition, all associations are required to undergo an annual audit conducted by a certified accountant or a registered auditor appointed by the annual general assembly.  If an organization fails to submit the proper financial documentation to the DAO, the DAO may impose a fine of up to 500 Rupees on each member of the management committee.

Section 22(2) of the Social Welfare Act reinforces the audit requirement for social organizations or institutions affiliated with the Social Welfare Council by requiring them to “submit an audit report to the [Social Welfare] Council within six months after the completion of the fiscal year along with the detail descriptions of last year’s progress and next year’s work and activities.”  Section 18, Sub-Section (5) of the Social Welfare Act provides that if the Social Welfare Council “so wishes, [it] may inspect or cause to inspect the accounts document along with cash and kind of the social organization and institutions affiliated with the Council at any time.”

Dissolution. Section 14 of the Association Registration Act states that “[i]f an Association is dissolved due to its failure to carry out the functions pursuant to its Statute or for any other reasons whatsoever, all the assets of such Association shall devolve on Government of Nepal.”  This provision raises two concerns.  First, it does not provide a limited list of objective grounds for dissolution.  Instead, dissolution may follow where there is a failure to carry out statutory functions or “for any other reasons whatsoever”, thus opening the door to the exercise of subjective government discretion.  Second, upon dissolution, the assets of the associations are transferred to the State.  This rule also applies to associations that terminate their operations voluntarily.  Such a rule creates perverse incentives in the government’s regulatory role.  The preferred practice is for any remaining funds to be transferred to another CSO performing the same or similar activities as the dissolving organization, especially in cases where the CSO is designated as a public benefit or tax-exempt organization.

Foreign CSOs.  Foreign CSOs can establish branch offices under a general agreement with the Social Welfare Council, but they must implement their programs through local CSOs by entering into project-specific agreements. This can be a burdensome process because the project-specific agreement requires approval from as many as seven different ministries.

Barriers to Speech / Advocacy

There is no legal provision expressly prohibiting advocacy activities. Indeed, many Nepali CSOs pursue advocacy activities. There is a perception, however, that CSOs must be “non-political”, which deters some organizations from engaging in activities that support or oppose particular government policies. Whenever CSOs participate in a public demonstration to advocate for a public issue, they are vulnerable to being accused of engaging in “political” activities. But again, there is no express restriction on “political” activities in the Nepali legal framework. 

The issue of freedom of speech on social media has taken on heightened importance. In June 2014, for example, a person in rural Nepal was placed in custody for 20 days by the police for writing a negative comment on Facebook about the security situation in his district. He was then brought to the Kathmandu District Court to be prosecuted under the Electronic Transactions Act (ETA) for "cyber crime". The ETA, which was drafted to regulate electronic financial transactions, states that any person publishing material "which is prohibited by prevailing law or which may be contrary to public morality or decent behavior…shall be liable for punishment."

Barriers to International Contact

There are no barriers to cross-border communication.  CSOs are free to communicate with whomever they wish.

CSOs must, however, receive prior permission to receive funding from outside the country on a case-by-case basis.  Details are found in the following section.

Barriers to Resources

While CSOs in Nepal are allowed to use resources from both domestic and foreign sources, CSOs must receive prior permission to receive funding from the Government or Nepal or from outside the country on a case-by-case basis.

According to the Social Welfare Act, Article 16(1), social organizations and institutions wishing to receive any kind of assistance from the Government of Nepal, foreign countries, international social organizations and institutions, missions, or individuals shall submit a project proposal and application along with other details to the Council as prescribed for approval.  After receiving an application, the Council shall provide permission in coordination with the concerned ministry or agency within 45 days.  The review process is lengthy because each funder for a particular project needs to be vetted. Section 16(2) of the Act states that no permission for annual assistance may be given to projects that are “against the national interest,” but “against the national interest” is not defined.  

For projects of up to Rs 200,000 that will be finished quickly, organizations need only give prior notice to the Council, and submit a report to the Council within three months of the completion of said work. CSOs must also receive prior permission from the Ministry of Home Affairs to engage in public fundraising.

In July 2012, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs started asking International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs) to register with the Aid Management Platform at the Ministry of Finance, a process which NGOs have criticized as lengthy and bureaucratic and vulnerable to corruption. In addition, a Cabinet decision made it mandatory for anyone taking any kind of foreign aid or loan to seek prior “suggestions” from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Nearly two years later, on June 26, 2014, the Council of Ministers approved a Development Cooperation Policy (DCP), which, likely previous initiatives, included several provisions that immediately drew criticism from donors and civil society.

According to the unofficial translation of the DCP released by the Ministry of Finance in June 2014, the government will not accept grants below $5 million, concessional loans less than $10 million, and commercial loans below $20 million per program or project (2.3, 2.4.3, and 2.5.2). In addition, another provision requires all development cooperation to be channeled through the Ministry of Finance, rather than directly to civil society (3.9.10). The Social Welfare Council (SWC) -- an umbrella organization that coordinates CSOs and plays a role in registration -- wrote in a briefing that the DPC contradicts the Social Welfare Act and "is intended to make SWC defunct and powerless." The SWC opposes the DCP because it would make it difficult for INGOs to receive earmarked funds to Nepal from donors and make it mandatory for INGOs to seek permission from government to seek funds for their programs and projects. As of August 2014, there were no indications whether the Ministry of Finance would respond the SWC's and other organizations' recommendations to amend the DCP. It is reported that the DCP is not strictly implemented in all cases.

Barriers to Assembly

The Constitution of Nepal, in Part 3, Section (17)(2)(b), states that “every citizen shall have … the freedom to assemble peaceably and without arms.”  This definition restricts the freedom of assembly to only Nepali “citizens,” in contravention of international law. In addition, Section 17 stipulates that the freedom to assemble will not “be deemed to prevent the making of an Act to impose reasonable restrictions on any act which may undermine the nationality, sovereignty, independence and indivisibility of Nepal, or jeopardize the harmonious relations between federal units, or public law and order situation.” Similarly, the Civil Rights Act, 1955, limits the right “[t]o assemble peaceably and without arms and ammunitions” only to “citizens.”

Although there is no law specifically regulating assembly or public gatherings, the Local Administration Act (1971) defines an “assembly / meeting” as “a group of Twenty Five or more than Twenty Five persons gathered with an intention in an organized or unorganized manner in a public place to address particular objectives."

Time, Place and Manner Restrictions
The government has the right to declare restricted zones. Such restrictions have been declared in some areas considered sensitive from a security point of view. In Kathmandu, assemblies or public gatherings may not be held in the following restricted places:

  • In front of the Office of the President;
  • In front of the Parliament; and
  • In front of the Administrative Headquarters of the Government.

Content Restrictions
The right to freedom of assembly has been denied to Tibetan refugees or assemblies related to their issue because of the Nepalese government’s deference to China’s “One China” policy.

Counter-demonstrations

If more than two groups want to use the same public place for their assembly, demonstration or rally, the local authority gives first priority to the group that formally informs the local authority; the local authority then requests other groups to choose a new venue or change the route of their rally. Thus, although notification is not mandatory, it becomes relevant in the case of counter-demonstrations.

Enforcement
Despite the Constitutional guarantee of peaceful assembly, there have been some instances where the State has used excessive force to break up assemblies. However, the local authority (District Administration Office) and Nepalese Police claim that the use of force comes into effect only when an assembly attempts to cross a ‘restricted area’ or when the demonstration becomes violent.

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Reports

UN Universal Periodic Review Reports

Universal Periodic Review: Nepal (2011)

Reports of UN Special Rapporteurs

Report of the HC on the human rights situation and activities of her office, including technical cooperation, in Nepal (A/HRC/19/21/Add.4)

USIG (United States International Grantmaking) Country Notes

Not available

U.S. State Department

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Nepal (2013)

Advanding Freedom and Democracy Reports: Nepal (2010)

Fragile States Index Report

Foreign Policy: Fragile States Index 2015

ACT Alliance How to Protect and Expand an Enabling Environment in Nepal 2013
IMF Country Reports

Nepal and the IMF

International Commission of Jurists

Not available

International Center for Not-for-Profit Law Online Library

Nepal

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News and Additional Resources

While we aim to maintain information that is as current as possible, we realize that situations can rapidly change.  If you are aware of any additional information or inaccuracies on this page, please keep us informed; write to ICNL at ngomonitor@icnl.org.

Events

In December 2014, five regional workshops on the CSO legal environment were organized in Nepal . This was the first program of its kind in Nepal where a range of CSO representatives as well as political actors came together to discuss the CSO legal environment issues. 

General News

Nepal Amends Constitution for the first time (January 2016)
On January 23, 2016, Nepal amended the new constitution for the first time. Article 42, which addresses marginalized groups such as Dalits, ethnic and sexual minorities, and citizens in underdeveloped regions, was amended to specify that their employment in state structures and public service will be guided by the principle of proportional inclusion. Article 286 was amended to require population to be the first priority and geography the second when determining the 165 electoral constituencies of the House of Representatives.

Nepal Formally Adopts New Constitution Amid Protests from Minorities (September 2015)
Nepal has formally adopted a much anticipated and long-delayed constitution that took more than seven years to complete following a decade of political infighting.

Nepal Struggles to Craft a New Constitution (February 2015)
Nepalese lawmakers have failed to agree on a new Constitution. The political parties remained divided over basic issues and opposition parties have refused to support the Constituent Assembly (CA). The CA Chairperson decided to start the process by the majority voting system and form a committee to prepare a questionnaire on the disputed issues of the new Constitution, which will then be voted upon by the Assembly. The Chairperson came to this decision after a series of obstructions from opposition lawmakers. The opposition alliance has declared that it will abstain from any form of dialogue with the ruling parties, the government and the CA Chairperson, until the decision to use a majority voting procedure has been reversed.

Donors and civil society find fault with new aid policy (August 2014)
The recently enforced Development Cooperation Policy has heightened levels of mistrust between the government and stakeholders after national and international NGOs joined together to oppose the government policy. The International Development Partners Group has also expressed serious concerns about limiting I/NGOs' access to foreign funds. The Social Welfare Council (SWC) has listed the following concerns: 1) The Development Cooperation Policy is full of flaws, contradicts the Social Welfare Act and ignores suggestions from SWC, donors and other stakeholders; 2) There is no need for INGOs to register with SWC, as they only need to get permission and reach agreement with SWC on their projects; 3) The existence of the Social Welfare Act questions the legality of proposed inter-ministerial committee project analysis and facilitation; and 4) It is impossible for I/NGOs to coordinate with concerned sectoral ministry while preparing project proposals to mobilise development assistance.

Nepal government may pass anti-gay laws (August 2014)
Nepal may pass laws recriminalising gay sex, making it an offence punishable with three years of imprisonment, an LGBT news website has reported. The report quoted former Nepal parliamentarian Sunil Pant as saying that the current law and justice ministry Narahari Acharya planned to push these laws through. CSOs have previously reported that "widespread harassment, including by the government, has contributed to a climate of fear among LGBT people and activists in Nepal, and has interrupted vital activities, including HIV prevention work."

Donors criticize government's new foreign aid policy (July 2014)
Nepal's leading donor agencies have expressed dismay over the government's 'opaque' activities. In a strongly worded letter addressed to Minister of Finance Dr. Ram Sharan Mahat, International Development Partners Group, an exclusive group of Nepal's donors, accused the government of not communicating with the donors properly before finalizing the draft of the new Development Cooperation Policy. The new policy has barred donor agencies from earmarking funds to NGOs and INGOs from the amount pledged to government. Similarly, the policy has also required NGOs and INGOs to furnish details of the bank that they use for transactions when submitting project proposals. Finance ministry officials declined to make official comments on the letter, but said that the issues raised in the letter surprised them.

Aid disbursement from donors on the decline (April 2014)
As of mid-April, actual aid disbursement from donors was found on the decline. The disbursement in last fiscal year was $0.96 billion compared to $1.04 billion of the previous year. The overall aid disbursement was claimed to have been affected especially due to the decline in disbursement from multilateral donors. The latest Development Cooperation Report (DCR) shows except for Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM), disbursements from all leading multilateral donors declined in the last fiscal year. "There has been a noticeable decline in disbursements form the World Bank Group and the Asian Development Bank in 2012-13," states DCR.

Pillay warns against attempts to grant amnesties (April 2014)
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Nevi Pillay, expressed grave concerns regarding a TRC (Truth and Reconciliation Commission) bill presented at the Legislature Parliament, which could lead to amnesties for serious human rights violations. Under the bill that aimed at creating a Truth and Reconciliation Commission and a Commission on Disappearance, these two bodies will be granted the powers to recommend amnesties, including for serious human rights violations, or to excuse perpetrators of such violations from prosecution.

Constitution delay 'exacerbating' Human Rights Problem in Nepal (March 2014)

USAID’s two decades support to HIV/AIDS in Nepal (September 2013)

Civil society representatives picket UCPN (M) office (May 2013)

‘Emerging autocracy’ in Nepal (February 2013)

Liberal phase of Civil Society (January 2013)

Slow erosion of democratic institutions hampers accountability (December 2012)

Civil society asks PM to cede power for consensus (November 2012)

Nepali civil society called on to kick-start truth and reconciliation process (October 2012)

Editorial highlights negative public perceptions of NGOs in Nepal (July 2012)

Government plans to to tighten restrictions on foreign funding (July 2012)

Chairman of the Rastriya Prajatantra Party calls for a government “led by civil society” (July 2012)

NFN held consultative meeting on aid transparency (May 2012)

Consultation meeting of Nepali civil society on Least Developed Country IV conference (March 2012)

Multi-stakeholder dialogue on UNCAC (February 2012)

A roundtable meeting aiming for consensus on partnership for development in Nepal (February 2012)

The foregoing information was collected by the ICNL NGO Law Monitor partner in Nepal, Uttam Uprety.

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