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Nepal's government agrees to peace deal with ethnic rights group in the south

Nepal's government agrees to peace deal with ethnic rights group in the south

Nepal's government reached a peace agreement Thursday with a major ethnic rights group that was fighting for greater autonomy in the restive south, officials said.
The Madhesi People's Rights Forum is one of several ethnic groups that have been organizing strikes, transportation shutdowns, and demonstrations in the south to demand greater rights for minorities. The area was hit hard by ethnic violence earlier this year which claimed at least 60 lives.
Peace and Reconstruction Minister Ram Chandra Poudel said the government will grant the group some autonomy in certain areas and expand their political and economic rights. In return, the Madhesi will end their protests, he said.
Poudel said the government also agreed to recognize their language in offices and schools and to work on reserving government jobs for Madhesi people.
The government is trying to settle several overlapping conflicts in the south so a national election can be held in November for a special assembly that will draft a new constitution and determine the country's future political system.
The Madhesi group's leader, Upendra Yadav, celebrated the deal, saying the Madhesi people "who had been oppressed for centuries will go to the November polls and shape our future ourselves."
Many southerners say their region has been neglected in favor of the more populated, mountainous north. They are demanding greater autonomy, more seats in the national legislature, and a guaranteed number of representatives in the administration.


Updated : 2021-07-26 13:10 GMT+08:00