Community Mediation Centres become popular

Satisfied with community mediation
Satisfied with community mediation. Photo: UNDP Nepal

Lila and her husband have reconciled after a decade of break-up, all thanks to the Community Mediation Centre in Tulsipur, Dang district. After being unable to tolerate her husband’s gambling and alcoholism, Lila started living separately since 1999. Her husband married again while the children’s responsibilities fell on Lila. Single handedly she managed to get her daughters educated and married off. After years of struggle and waiting, in June 2010, she approached the Mediation Centre for justice.

The Community Mediation Centre created a good environment for discussion. The mediators facilitated the duo to come to a consensus and patch up their differences—helped them draw up an agreement paper where Lila’s husband agreed to provide her financial support and agreed to visit her regularly. Lila is happy that things have turned out positive for herself and her children who are meeting their father after a decade.

Highlights

  • In 2011, out of the 1300 cases registered, almost 1200 were successfully resolved through community mediation centres.
  • At the policy level, UNDP has supported the Ministry of Law and Justice to draft Civil Code, Civil Procedure Code, Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Code and Sentencing Bill. These are more specialized than the old generic Muluki Ain and comply with international standards. The project supported the finalization of the mediation bill, which became law in May 2011.

The formal justice system in Nepal suffers from several drawbacks. It is cumbersome, time consuming and expensive, leaving behind a major portion of the marginalized and poor people, deprived from getting access to justice. In order to enhance people’s access to justice, UNDP Enhancing Access to Justice project has established Community Mediation Centers in the four districts of Nepal – Kailali, Surkhet, Dang and Udaypur. The community mediation initiatives are implemented in 4 villages and 1 Municipality of each district.

The cases are related to partition, family disputes, defamation, transaction, land disputes, house rent and petty domestic violence issues. In community mediation, the disputants get the right to engage in the settlement of their disputes through negotiation with facilitation of trained mediators. Community mediation guarantees an easy access to justice for all, is free of cost, informal and the disputing parties can ensure their participation without any hesitation—with win-win solutions.