Nepal: IDPs being neglected by government, say aid workers
|Publisher||Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN)|
|Publication Date||12 March 2008|
|Cite as||Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN), Nepal: IDPs being neglected by government, say aid workers, 12 March 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/47da3fb526.html [accessed 14 March 2014]|
KATHMANDU, 12 March 2008 (IRIN) - Local and international aid agencies struggling to get internally displaced persons (IDPs) back to their homes are concerned about an alleged lack of government interest in their plight.
Some 35,000-50,000 people are still displaced in various cities and towns, despite the end of the 1996-2006 armed conflict, according to estimates by agencies dealing with IDPs.
IDPs say it is not so much security which is the main obstacle to their return but the government's refusal to recognise most of them as IDPs.
"The main problem now is that the government has stopped registering any displaced persons and this is a matter of serious concern," said Pushpa Pandey, IDP protection coordinator of the Informal Sector Service Centre (INSEC), a local human rights non-governmental organisation (NGO).
"So far, only a small proportion of displaced families are able to return home as they are still waiting for government recognition and support," said IDP expert Amrita Shrestha.
According to international NGO Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), which works with IDPs in 15 districts, the number of displaced families yet to be officially registered is growing. NRC officials explained that those who had lost the opportunity to register their names with the government were now desperately seeking help from the NRC and INSEC.
NRC already has over 1,000 families (nearly 5,000 people) registered with them as IDPs, and every week 10-15 more are registering.
"The problem was that most of these persons had no clue that they were IDPs and many of them had no access to information," said the NRC's country director, Phillipe Clerc.
He said there was a crucial need for the government to set up a proper system to deal with the IDP issue effectively, so that IDPs are not only returned but also reintegrated properly, said Clerc.
On 11 March INSEC's Pandey escorted 88 IDPs back to their home communities in the remote hill districts of Humla, Kalikot, Jumla, Accham and Dang, all 400-600km northwest of Kathmandu. On 12 March, his office helped with the return of an additional 150 IDPs, he said.
Government says it is providing help
The government's Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction told IRIN they have been making serious efforts to help the IDPs.
The ministry had disbursed US$5.6 million to district administration offices all over the country to provide relief aid to displaced families. The government estimated that nearly 35,000 IDPs would get such support. The ministry had also recently proposed implementing IDP legislation introduced in 2007.
But IDP experts are concerned that the government's lack of monitoring means most relief packages fail to reach the most needy IDPs.
"The Peace Ministry should have more resources and a greater presence at the field level to monitor," said Clerc. He said the ministry needed to put more officials on the ground, especially at strategic places, so as to ensure there is mechanism for helping IDPs.