Leaders and representatives of indigenous governing institutions of six indigenous groups of Nepal have initiated an informal alliance to make collective efforts for the rights of indigenous peoples.
The alliance named ‘Nepal’s Indigenous Governing Institutions Coordination Assembly’ includes representatives from traditional institutions (given in parenthesis) of Majhi (Majhe Saba), Thakali (Mukhiya), Dhimal (Majhi Warang), Tharu (Badhgar or Bhalmansha), Santhal (Majhihi Hadam) and Newar (Guthi) indigenous communities of Nepal. The alliance aims to empower, strengthen capacities and build alliances of traditional leaders of indigenous governing institutions of Nepal, reads the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by those representatives.
Indigenous governing institutions in Nepal have been practicing self-governance and autonomy in terms of handling political, legal, administrative and judicial affairs. Thus, the alliance will, the MoU states, undertake activities for sharing information and public mobilization and advocacies to assert rights to and affect stronger practice of local self-governance and self-determination of indigenous communities for autonomy and federalism.
Further, the alliance will work for raising community awareness on International Labor Organization (ILO)’s Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention 169 and United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) for enjoyment of the rights therein. Exchanges among indigenous governing institutions for sharing knowledge and skills within the alliance and expanding the alliance to include other indigenous groups of Nepal are also planned.
The alliance was formed at the conclusion of a two and a half-day national workshop on strengthening indigenous governing institutions for improving human rights and democratic participation of indigenous peoples in Nepal on Sunday. The workshop was organized in Lalitpur in coordination with National Coalition against Racial Discrimination and Lawyers Association for Human Rights of Nepalese Indigenous Peoples with support from Sungkonghoe University, Master of Arts in Inter-Asia NGO Studies – Korea Asia Research programme.