Nepal became a member of the World League for Freedom and Democracy (WLFD) last year. To welcome the new member, the WLFD sent a delegation to Nepal to attend the founding ceremony of the Nepal Chapter on December 17.2005
On this occasion, the WLFD built links with high-ranking officials of the Nepalese government as well as leaders of the opposition parties. Through the efforts of WLFD, Taiwan's bilateral relations with Nepal especially in tourism, culture and religion are getting a boost.
The WLFD delegation's visit to Nepal was short but fruitful. With its long history and certain leverage with the international community, WLFD can assist Taiwan in its foreign affairs.
"We hope that Taiwan's government agencies can give more attention and support to WLFD in the future, so that it can further strengthen its capacity and play a bigger role in Taiwan's public diplomacy efforts," said Yao Eng-chi, president of WLFD.
The Nepal Chapter of WLFD was set up only after three years, However, the country is facing a turning point in political development.
With globalization sweeping Nepal, the Nepalese King found himself confronted by opposition forces bent on dethroning him and adopting a democratic system of government. The King ordered his army to crush the protest, resulting in the death of 12 people.
When the WLFD delegation arrived in Kathmandu at 5 p.m..on December 16,2005, the welcome ceremony was cancelled due to the tense atmosphere and security concern. Headed by Yao Eng-chi , the president, the WLFD delegation consisted of Ger Yeong-kuang, secretary general of WLFD; Fan Yang-shang (范揚盛), advisor to WLFD; T. T. Liu, (劉?同) executive director of Foundation for World Freedom and Democracy; and Rama Swarup, former chairman of the India Chapter. They were greeted by Khagendra Sherchan, secretary general of the Nepal Chapter.
Along the way, the delegation witnessed a confrontation between the army, police and the people. Bricks and stones were thrown from all directions.
Members of WFLD Nepal Chapter
The delegation and the executive committee members of Nepal Chapter held a seminar on the morning of December 17. Ten representatives from the Nepal Chapter, including Padma Narayan Chaudhary, chapter chairman and former Nepalese minister of industry and commerce, and Revati Prasad Bhusal, the chapter's vice chairman and former minister of culture, tourism and civil aviation. Nepal's former minister of national defense and a Nepalese parliamentarian were also there. These committee members hoped to use their influence to enhance bilateral relations especially in the areas of tourism, culture and religion.
Meanwhile Yao particularly pointed out in his speech that a WLFD delegation once visited Mainland China and had serious talks with high-ranking officials on democracy and the issue of cross-strait peace. At the same time he expressed the wish that the establishment of the Nepal Chapter could boost freedom, democracy and human rights in this country.
"We all share some degree of democracy and freedom." said Yao. "The problem is how to arrive at a consensus. We start by becoming friends. Then we are ready to communicate about improve the human rights situation."
Meeting Nepal's opposition leaders
On the night of December 18, the delegation met with Madhav Kumar Nepal, Nepal's former deputy prime minister as well as defense and foreign affairs minister from 1992-1994. Nepal is at present the secretary general of Nepal's Communist Party and one of the leading opposition leaders against the Nepalese King. He just came back from India. He likewise met and talked to James Moriarty, the American ambassador to Nepal, before his encounter with the delegation.
Nepal spoke of the fighting opposition's three goals democracy, peace and social progress for the country. As the King is taking a tough attitude now, the opposition is prepared for a long-term fight, including a large-scale public protest scheduled to take place on January 20. At the same time he hoped that the WLFD could work with its chapters around the world to pressure the King to reinstate democracy in Nepal. In response, the delegation promised to call on world leaders to support the cause of Nepal's democracy at the annual conference. They also gave their word about writing a letter to the King, asking him to reinstate democracy.
The delegation met with Gopal Man Sherstha, another opposition leader, on the morning of December 19. Sherstha is the acting chairman of the Nepali Congress-Democratic (NCD) because the party's chairman remains under house arrest in a military camp. The two differ in their positions: although both oppose the King. The NCD takes a moderate approach whereas the Communist Party tends to take a tougher stand. Besides, the NCD finds constitutional monarchy acceptable, but the Communist Party leans toward republicanism. Like the Communist Party, the NCD hopes that the WLFD can support Nepal's democratic movement more often in the international community.