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Recording Nepal Conflict: Victims in Numbers

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These review compiles and updates hard data on casualties and effects of Nepal conflict.

The number of casualties and the extent of damage caused in any conflict can be difficult to determine. It takes time to collect information and to verify it with new numbers and statistics continuing to come in. The numbers by different agencies vary depending on their definitions of victims and their methods of data collection. Nepal's decade-long conflict is no different.

Deaths: Media reports often cite 13,000 deaths. Some put the figures at around 14,000. According to Informal Sector Serve Center (INSEC), during the conflict, between 13 February 1996 and 31 August 2006, there were 13,265 fatalities.

In 2009, the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction updated the records, putting the total at 16,278. On March 29, 2011, citing figures compiled by an official taskforce responsible for ascertaining the loss of life and property during Moist conflict, the government said the conflict has left 17,265 people dead.

Disappeared: For both 2003 and 2004, Nepal had the highest number of disappeared people in the world, according to the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances. As of August 30, 2010, some 3,397 complaints on the disappeared persons during the armed conflict were registered at the National Human Rights Commission - Nepal. In March 2011 the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction said the conflict had left 1,302 people missing in the country.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) estimated in April 2011 that there were more than 1,300 people missing in Nepal due to conflict-related causes. Some local NGOs or family groups put the number of missing much higher. For example, the Society of the Families of the Disappeared (SOFD) has said that there are about 5,700 cases of conflict-related disappearances in Nepal.

Displaced: The number of internally displaced people (IDPs) at the end of 2002 was estimated in the range of 100,000-150,000. According to the March 2011 data from MoPR, the number of internally displaced people owing to conflict was 78,675. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) estimate of July 2010 put the figures at 50,000. These numbers do not include thousands of people forced to leave the country due conflict.

Disabled: The March 2011 data from the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction says there are 4305 disabled people as a result of the conflict. Some other sources put the number as high as 5,800.

Orphaned: More than 8,000 children were orphaned, according to a report released by Child Workers in Nepal (CWIN) September 2006. The March 2011 data from the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction puts the number of orphans at 121. Other estimates put the number of orphaned children as high as 25,000.

Widowed: As of April 2011, the government's Emergency Support Project (ESP) recorded 419 widows who were compensated for their loss during the conflict. Other estimates run up to 9,000 widows as a result of the conflict.

Loss of property: A total number of 12657 private properties were lost or damaged (Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction, March 2011). In addition, several government offices, schools, bridges and police posts were damaged. The ministry estimated in 2007 that the total destruction of government property was worth about 5 billion rupees. The UK Department for International Development (DFID) estimated that US $ 246.6 million worth of physical infrastructures was destroyed.

Other effects: The conflict directly affected the life of the family members of those killed, disappeared, or displaced. The number of such family members is estimated to be around 400,000 to 500,000. Many of these victims suffer from metal and psychological trauma of the war and having lost one or more of their bread winners in conflict, some continue to face economic hardship.

Recording the War

It is necessary to record any conflict extensively in order to identify the victims accurately, and in the hope that the conflict does not repeat, and lessons can be learnt from it. The recording of a conflict continues long after the war since new facts keep adding up as time passes by. Nepal's decade-long conflict has not yet been recorded in a comprehensive manner. However, some efforts have been made in this regard.

For example, INSEC maintains one of the most comprehensive online databases consisting of conflict victims' profile. Information on individual victims by type of victimization, place of incident, gender, address, political affiliation, ethnicity, education, profession, language, age, economic and marital status, etc. can be retrieved from its Website here: http://www.insec.org.np/victim/

The official website of Emergency Peace Support Program (EPSP) under the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction also maintains a database of deceased people and single women or widows with their names, addresses and reparation details: http://www.epsp.gov.np/

A notable project in documenting the victims of conflict and the effects of the decade-long war on the people is the pictorial trilogy by nepa~laya. The first book in the trilogy, A People War: Images of the Nepal Conflict 1996-2006 (December 2006) is a collection of 172 photographs of ordinary people affected by the war. Never Again (2008) compiles comments by the visitors of the traveling photographic exhibitions based on the first book. The third book in the trilogy, People After War (2009) revisits 55 of the individuals profiled in the first book to see where they were three years after the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) of 2006. These books are published in Nepali also. These materials are not available free of cost, however, information about these works are available online at http://www.apeoplewar.com

Source: Healing the Wounds: Stories from Nepal's Transitional Justice Process (Kathmandu: Media Foundation), pp. 72-74.

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CPA
Brihát Śhānti Sámjhautā, 2006
(Comprehensive Peace Agreement)








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