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Sun Myung Moon møter Kim Il Sung

From Death Camp to Palace Embrace: A Miraculous Meeting in 1991

As reported by CNN on Dec. 28, 2011, the elaborate funeral of the late Kim Jung Il in Pyongyang was closed to foreign dignitaries and to Western media. Some have wondered why the North Korean regime invited the American-born Hyung Jin Moon, head of the Unification Church International, and several members of his party to participate in the funeral rites that day. The special relationship between Rev. Sun Myung Moon, founder of the Unification Church, and the ruling family of North Korea goes back two decades to a surprise meeting between Rev. Moon and North Korean President Kim Il Sung. Rev. Moon’s motivation for visiting his homeland in 1991 can only be understood within the terms of his enduring religious vision, as explained in the following commentary by Dr. Thomas J. Ward, Dean of the International College, University of Bridgeport.

Rev. Sun Myung Moon's teachings on restoration and reconciliation attribute special meaning to the biblical reunion of Jacob and Esau after their twenty-one-year period of separation. Jacob had fled to Haran until the opportune moment to make peace with his brother. At the end of that period, they met near the site that Jacob named Penuel (meaning "face of God"). On meeting and embracing his brother Esau, Jacob told him, "For to see your face is like seeing the face of God, now that you have received me favorably" (Gen 33:10).

In November 1991, Rev. Moon returned to North Korea after an absence of some forty years. He met Kim Il Sung in the North Korean leader's residence located near Heungnam. The fertilizer factory at Heungnam had been the location of the North Korean death camp where Rev. Moon spent two years and eight months as a prisoner of conscience from early 1948 until late 1950.

Rev. Moon's and Kim Il Sung's November 1991 encounter was videotaped. Rev. Moon embraced Kim Il Sung without any hesitation. His earnest desire was to dissolve the chasm of the past and to greet President Kim as his lost elder brother. He even addressed President Kim as "Elder Brother." Like Jacob, he made peace with his brother and chose to forget the past.

Kim Il Sung felt liberated and found in Rev. Moon a long-lost brother who reminded Kim that "blood was thicker than water." The two exchanged gifts, and there was talk of investments in North Korea. However, Rev. Moon had not come to North Korea to do business but to open the door to peace at the highest level. His sincerity touched Kim Il Sung, and it touched his son Kim Jong Il who, from that time, sent a gift to Rev. Moon every year on the occasion of Rev. Moon's birthday.

Rev. Hyung Jin Moon's visit to the North at the time of the memorial services for Kim Jong Il are consistent with Rev. Moon's ongoing effort to build trust and a sense of family with the Kim family and the Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea (DPRK). The visit is definitely not about economic relations. It is about a man of God visiting Pyongyang in its hour of grief and extending his hand in friendship as the DPRK's leaders ponder the future. 

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I opprinnelseslandet Korea er fokuset på en fredelig gjenforening mellom nord og sør.

and Democracy in South Asia
Member of the National Security Advisory Board in India, vise-executive in Universal Peace Federation in India: Ambassador Krishna V Rajan:

Thank you very much. I take it that what is expected of me is a kind of "broad brush" presentation on the situation in South Asia in general and with reference to Nepal in particular. I will try my best to do this in the few minutes that I have.

My family and I have just completed a beautiful tour in Norway which is called "Norway in a nutshell", and in a sense what I am trying to do is to give you "South Asia in a nutshell". The scenery will be a little more mixed, a little more different. If I were to identify four or five major issues which will determine the wellbeing and future of South Asia’s 1.5 billion people--when I say South Asia, I include the seven original members of SAARC, and Afghanistan which has recently joined South Asia-- I would say these basic challenges are 1) how to bring in and improve democracy so that it is as inclusive as possible, 2) governance: how to improve it, make it more inclusive, make it more sensitive, 3) Whether these countries can adjust notions of nationalism and security which are quite outdated, to the reality that the destinies of the peoples of all these eight countries are interlinked. And finally, the realization has to spread, and it is not there at the moment, that the state is there to serve and protect the people, and not the other way round. I am afraid in South Asia the state expects the people to serve the state, to suffer for the state, to die for the state but the state doesn’t yet see itself as an entity which is there to serve the people.

We in India have just observed the sixtieth anniversary of our independence, last year. And the mood I would say was one of reflection rather than celebration. Undoubtedly there have been achievements. We are proud to be the world’s largest democracy. We are proud of the fact that we are now united in a way which cannot be challenged. India’s unity is not at risk. India’s political and economic integration are not at risk, it is totally irreversible. The political integration is something that perhaps even the EU, which is trying desperately to achieve it, can admire and envy. And then there is the economic growth rate: eight to nine percent, perhaps a little more, which means it is one of the fastest growing economies in the world.

You have heard of the slogan of "Incredible India", but I have to say that people in India, including the common man, including the villager, are very, very modest about India’s achievements. They are quite sceptical about these grand declarations of India’s achievements. In fact a few years ago in our last general election, the BJP, who were then in government, invented the slogan of "India Shining". They lost that election, because the people rejected the slogan. They were scandalized that when there are 800 million Indians who are so poor, whose basic needs are not being met, just because 300 or 350 million people are doing so well, that India is described as "shining". So basically we are quite aware of our short comings.

And if I were to summarize the shortcomings, I would say the Naxalite insurgency, which is similar to the Maoist insurgency, which has been growing all over India , it has spread is now something like one third of our entire country. And this insurgency is a result of a few factors. One is continuing social inequalities - despite the fact that the constitution says that there should not be inequalities. It is very difficult to change mindsets, so you have continuing social inequalities, you have uneven quality of governance and democracy, and you also have perhaps a shortage of leadership, which is essential even to democratically manage rising expectations.

And I think this is one of the key factors in any democracy. Democracy, as somebody said, is a utopia - it can never be perfect. But the art of managing people’s frustrations and expectations is the indicator of whether a democracy is successful or not, and there I don’t think we have been very successful. The problem of non-inclusive growth, and this is a major thing, all these years we have achieved economic growth but now we realize, that, for example, the so called depressed classes, the lower castes, dalits, muslims, women, etc.--- there are categories of people who are not getting their fair share of the cake. So that is a major preoccupation of the government and civil society in India. We are not doing too well in agriculture. We had the agricultural revolution - the green revolution - a few decades ago, which made India self-sufficient in food. Today somehow agriculture is stagnant, it is in a state of crisis for a variety of reasons. And we have fairly frequently cases of farmers committing suicide and so on.

We have a huge and growing problem of energy and security. We also have uneven relationships with our neighbours. And an unstable neighbourhood environment which creates more problems for us. So while India is very aware of the fact that it has really no entitlement to lecture to it’s neighbours, we also feel that we have a responsibility in ensuring that as India grows. India is an opportunity for it’s neighbours. And there I have to say that the South Asian scene generally has been characterised by assymetrical relationships - a psyche among our small neighbours which is not uncommon in the world, where nationalism tends to be a little self destructive. You deny yourself, you cut off your nose to spite your face. We were talking about hydro-power - for the last sixty years we have been discussing hydro power issues with Nepal. But Nepal’s nationalism, and I have to say India’s inability to manage that psyche efficiently, both are responsible for the fact that India continues to be short of power and Nepal continues to have 83,000 megawatts of hydro power potential of which perhaps maybe under 200 megawatts alone are in production. So India’s failure over several decades to factor in that psyche, in its policies so that suspicions and misconceptions of our neighbours can be removed, has also been responsible for the current situation - which is a situation marked by mutual distrust, absence of regional cooperation and any kind of substantial interdependence - of the kind that Europe has been able to achieve.

We admire and envy Europe. That a continent where countries used to routinely fight wars a few decades ago, has been completely freed of war. It is unthinkable now that Europe will have a war. We don’t have that kind of interdependence, and that is largely because of these ultra-nationalistic tendencies on the one hand and perhaps insensitive responses from India on the other. We have tried just about every trick in the diplomatic book over the years to have a stable relationship with our neighbours. When we became independent, Nehru, who was a great liberal, a man of great vision, tried to apply that liberalism to India’s neighbours. Fear of China, what was happening in Tibet, a combination of factors, led him to dilute his liberalism with good old-fashioned British- India colonial pro-consularism, I would say, towards our neighbours. With the result that suspicions towards India, instead of declining, grew. And then we had a time when we tried even slightly hegemonistic policies, stern policies, towards our neighbours, saying "Look, don’t do this - it affects our security, or else etc.": that did not work. We tried the Gujral doctrine, which is a doctrine of non-reciprocity. As a result we said to our neighbours - You tell us what you want - we will give it to you and we don’t expect any reciprocity in return . That did not work. Then there was a period of benign neglect during the BJP tenure, when the government said - "Look we are a major power. We are going to be hopefully a superpower in the not too distant future. If our neighbours don’t know how to deal with us and respect our concerns, let them do what they want to - a kind of realpolitik, which also has not worked. And now I think what has happened in India is that there is a lowering of the threshold in terms of our expectations from our neighbours. We are occupied with our own problems, our own aspirations. We are really talking more of connectivity. Building up connectivity and normal day-to-day relations with our neighbours, in the hope that things will work out.

If we look around us we see that there has been improvement on many fronts. With Pakistan, we have had, as you know, several wars. Both are nuclear weapon powers. But I think in Pakistan now there is a genuine desire for better relations. And that people are really setting the tone for a new relationship with India. There are people-to-people contacts, which are making borders slightly irrelevant. There is a trend towards real democracy which gives hope. But the fact is that there are challenges in Pakistan which Pakistan has to overcome. You have religious fundamentalism, you have a problem of terrorism, which incidentally, India, very wisely, has decided is a shared, a common problem for India and Pakistan. Gone are the days when India used to point a finger at Pakistan and say - "Look you people, you are the other, you are creating problems for us." Now India and Pakistan are discussing a common problem that they face from terrorism, and that has certainly improved the atmosphere considerably.

I would say that the prospects of another war between India and Pakistan have been very drastically reduced. I don’t think that is likely to happen, partly because of the new sense of confidence and the desires of the people on both sides of the border not to have a war. But also because of the fact that both countries now have nuclear weapons and it would be suicidal to have any kind of a conflict. However, at the end of the day the situation continues to be very dangerous and very unpredictable.

In Sri Lanka, and I am glad to see that we have our friend from Sri Lanka also here. I think India’s dilemma is, after having tried once, at the request of the Sri Lankan government, to try and mediate in the problem there- to try and intervene, and having burnt it’s fingers, India is somehow very reluctant to do so again. Although it repeatedly asked by all sides in Sri Lanka to do so. The problem in Sri Lanka is - that it is undoubtedly a democracy, a thriving democracy, but it is a democracy where the majority, by it’s own admission, has not been able to accommodate the aspirations of the Tamil minority. And that unfortunately has led to the LTTE - a major organisation committed to violence in order to achieve the fulfilment of these aspirations. As you know, only a couple of days ago, there have been tragic civilian casualties in yet another attack. The Sri Lankan government seems determined to find a military solution to this conflict, against the advice of all it’s friends, including India, including Norway - which had done a very commendable job, to create conditions for a ceasefire which is now in tatters --has postponed effectively the accommodation of the Tamil demands to some degree. India’s dilemma is how not to interfere, in fact how to assist the Sri Lankan government in its attempt to deal with the problem of terrorist violence, without encouraging it also to postpone indefinitely the need to address the aspirations and expectations of the Tamils, which unfortunately is happening.

Recently the former Australian Foreign Minister, Gareth Evans, was in Sri Lanka and he said that the International community had what he called an"R2P." - the Responsibility to Protect people, because the government, even if it is a legitimate government, is not able or not willing, to deal with the problems of ethnic violence and human rights violations on a major scale. Many countries do not subscribe to the "R2P" doctrine because they are afraid that it might be misused. As indeed is has been perhaps misused, as in places such as Iraq. But I believe there is a "R2A" for all of us. We have a right to be aware, a right to be concerned and a responsibility to act - not necessarily to intervene, so that human lives are not in danger. There I think Norway’s approach is a very commendable one.

In Nepal, which was until a few years ago, described as a failed state, something extraordinary has happened, due to a number of circumstances. The Maoists came to the conclusion that they could not win the war militarily. The king made the astonishing miscalculation of taking over all power for himself, and fighting both the political parties as well as the Maoists, and this led inevitably to this three way confrontation between the king, the Maoists and the political parties , who all hated each other, to convert this into a two way struggle between the political parties and the Maoists on the one hand and the king on the other. Today is a very historic day in Nepal. The newly elected Constituent Assembly has met. It has probably already passed a resolution declaring Nepal to be a republic. And there will be a ceremonial president , an executive prime minister who will be the Maoist Chairman Prachanda.

It is perhaps for the first time in world history that you have an ultra-left violent insurgency, without being defeated, joining the mainstream of competitive politics. Where politicians have got together and they have tried to create the conditions for a totally new country. Nepal is going to be unrecognisable in another few years. Already, until the other day, it was the only Hindu kingdom in the world. It will no longer be a kingdom from today and it will probably will no longer be Hindu in the sense that it will be a secular country - with a lot of Hindus, but it will not be a Hindu Kingdom. But more than that, it will be a federal dispensation. The attempt, I think, will be to create an inclusive governance, an inclusive democracy, where marginalized groups, groups which have been discriminated against for centuries, will hopefully have a chance to participate in the power structure. If it succeeds, and it is a big if, this will be a remarkable transition. As was said earlier there are huge challenges for Nepal and the first challenge is for the Maoists to prove that their DNA has changed and they have given up the cult of intimidation and violence. They have not done it until now. The elections might have been free, but they were not really fair. There has been a lot of intimidation, a lot of violence, a fear of the Maoists going back to the jungle, which I feel has been responsible for the vote which has brought them to power. But the onus is really on them now, and on the international community which brought about these elections , to see that Nepal moves on from having a constituent assembly, to actually having a stable inclusive governance and to having a peace process which is absolutely safe.

We know about the situation in Bangladesh where there is disillusionment with democracy. The army is really in control. There is an interim administration that says it is determined to root out corruption. But the political parties, political leaders, are still in jail and nobody knows how they can have fair and free elections unless the political leaders are also allowed to fight them. Then you have problems of religious fundamentalism, of terrorism, of migration, of poverty, which also constitute a huge question mark for that country.

Finally I will refer to Bhutan, which appears to be the shining exception in all of this because there you had an absolute monarchy with a very wise king. The former king decided that he would step down on his own, that he would have constitutional monarchy, before people started getting ideas and marching on the streets and the palace. He was immensely popular. He wasloved so much by his own people. They begged him to stay on. He refused. He in fact stepped down one year ahead of the deadline he had set for himself. The first stirrings of democracy have taken place. And in terms of cooperation with India, Bhutan is a shining example among our neighbours. Bhutan decided that it was good for its own people to have good relations with India. They have a number of power projects. And very soon Bhutan will have the fastest growing economy in South Asia.

I will not talk about Afghanistan because that is in a separate case by itself. But there I think we have to accept the fact that instability, violence, the fact that the centre does not hold, will determine the scenario in that country for some time to come.

Against this background, I would simply like to say that I personally have been arguing that we need a new paradigm for regional cooperation and cross-border policies and priorities. The scale of poverty and the deep-rooted ethnic and religious discontent throughout this region is serious. Together with the mutual distrust, the shortcomings in governance, the limited capacity of democracy that exists, the prospects for democracy where democracy does not exist. To deal with these problems conventional diplomacy has serious limitations. What we all need to do, as a departure from our previous policies, is to urgently recognize the importance of human security in parallel with the reality of conventional military security - the treaties, the agreements, the defence. There are many more people dying throughout South Asia - due to infant mortality, due to poor maternity facilities, due to HIV-AIDS, lack of drinking water, sanitation. These are the problems which are causing deaths on a scale which would make the deaths being caused by terrorism, of the so-called hard threats to security, look insignificant. We have to forget about our nationalism, forget about borders and create a situation where we first think of human beings and people, and build our security efforts, our developmental activities around them. I think the governments also have to accept that the problem is beyond them now. It is not possible just by governments getting together to have good policies and implement them sincerely and expect that these problems will recede. It is a race against time. South Asia has to do so many things so quickly that governments by themselves, even with the help of the international community may not be able to do that. It is very important that civil society is fully involved, fully empowered, and that the international community is also really working with one objective in mind, which is how to improve governance, how to build sustainable peace and how to accelerate economic growth of the inclusive kind. Dialogue and reconciliation, rather than violence as a means to resolve problems, is the bottom line.

Here I would like to mention that in the UPF, in which I have the honour to be involved, we did a number of exercises in Nepal. We went in there about three years ago, at a time when the king, the political parties and the Maoists were not talking to each other. What we said was "Let us have a series of conferences built around the theme of common problems in South Asia - whether they relate to human rights or governance or democracy etc. We used to invite the Maoists, who would not come in the beginning, but after a few of these conferences where many of us made public statements, the Maoists understood that, unlike many other conferences, we were not considering them to be a threat. And just as you said we also invited the great grandson of Mahatma Gandhi to our conferences and he made a public statement which was reported in all the papers, where he said "Why are we talking about the need for the Maoists to give up violence...Why don’t we talk to the Maoists?" And the Maoists saw all of this in the media and they started attending our conferences. I think from around the fourth conference.

In the beginning they did not speak, they just listened to what the others were saying and they heard all the criticism about the Maoists and so on - from the political leaders, from the king’s people etc. But from the sixth conference onwards they began to speak, stating their point of view, talking about the need for social reform, a more equal society, an end of feudalism etc. And on the margins of these conference, sometimes with our help, they had their own little meetings, they began to know each other and to communicate with each other. Until then they were not even talking to each other.

Now in the last few months, for example, before the elections and after the elections, we have been meeting regularly with the Maoist leaders. And they are extremely positive. In between, I should say there are other things, and that is why I talk about civil society, and the importance of civil society. We had for example Mr C P Gaujrel, who is probably going to be the foreign minister, the Maoist foreign minister, who was in jail in India as a "terrorist". Nobody was willing to help him. A Gandhian lady, who is an Ambassador of Peace of the UPF, by the name of Nirmala Dershpande, she visited him in jail, repeatedly. Single-handedly she fought for his release, - argued, lobbied with the government of India, the media, etc. The other day unfortunately she passed away. She was quite senior in age and there was a Maoist gathering in Nepal where Gaujrel was in tears—and he was once a hard boiled terrorist.

And in another context, and I just want to mention this as an aside, as the new sort of thinking that fits in with the UPF philosophy - reaching out to people who you consider to be your enemies. The other day Sonia Gandhi’s daughter, Priyanka Gandhi, made a quiet unpublicized visit to a jail in South India where the one of the people accused of assassinating Rajiv Gandhi, Nalini is undergoing life imprisonment. She happens to be a mother of three or four children and Prianka met her in secret. The idea was not to publicise this, just to tell her that she had no hatred against her and to express her concern that as a mother she was having to undergo all this suffering. And this lady who was directly responsible for killing the prime minister, the father of Priyanka, was again moved to tears. So what I am trying to say is that you need a different attitude where you reach out to people who you would otherwise condemn as being dangerous etc. etc.

In Afghanistan recently there was a case of some Koreans who were abducted. And there was a representative of the UPF who went with Muslim scholars to talk to the people who had done this, who were responsible, who were holding these South Koreans. And they talked about Islam and what a great religion it was and how much it had taught the rest of the world including the West about the great human ideals of compassion, of forgiveness, of understanding, of respecting human life etc. And then this gentleman from the Taliban, he heard all of this very attentively and he said "You know I agree with you entirely but the one reason I am doing this is that my brother died at the hands of American bombardmentand that is why I hate them."

And in an other instance - this is not connected with the UPF - Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, one of our great spiritual leaders, told us about his visit to Iraq, where he met all the leaders in Iraq asking them to stop the violence and the bloodshed. He talked about doing things at a human level - improving the plight of people etc. And there was only one Shia leader who said very respectfully to him "I have a lot of respect for you - please stay on here, be our guest. We get this message of peace, but don’t ask us to give up our hate, because if we give up our hatred of the Americans, then all is lost. We will be finished. They will destroy us." So there is this sense of insecurity on one side or the other. One man’s insecurity feeds the other’s, and you ultimately have this cycle of violence.

This really brings me to the concluding point, which is the UPF philosophy that the role of the individual is terribly important. That world peace has to begin with each one of us. I think that is very important, that is what Gandhi used to say. In fact if you go to his resting place in Delhi, you will find that quotation from him, where he says that "If only the individual can sacrifice himself for the family, the family for the society, the society for the state, the state for the nation, and the nation for the world, then you will have world peace, otherwise you cannot have world peace" . I think this is basically what we have been trying to say. We are one of many organisations saying this - that the world is one family. If only we could include everyone, including the faith-based organisations, who sometimes tend to be left out because today all of us tend to be secular. India is also a secular country. I think we have made the mistake of assuming that because we as individuals or as policy makers or as an elite, because we are secular - that there is no room for God for our people. Whereas the truth is that the vast majority of people will listen to a religious leader rather than to a politician. So I think in our own way we have also been trying to bring in all the faith organisations together and contribute towards the building of a more peaceful world. 

PRIO briefing to Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, by Jason Miklian

Executive Summary and Recommendations

After the government of Nepal signed a peace agreement with the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist in 2006 to end a 10 year civil war, local and international observers were surprised to see new fighting erupt in the Terai region of southern Nepal. The violence, however, was initiated not by either party to the civil war but by groups targeting both the state and the Maoists, polarizing citizens along ethnic issues largely unaddressed during the civil war. In 2007, three of these groups joined forces to create a coalition called the United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF).

The UDMF’s stated goal is to transform the Terai into a single autonomous province of Madhes. To accomplish this, the UDMF has redefined the identity of those people living in the Terai and those outside of it, in turn exacerbating ethnic division and violence at the grassroots level. This narrative has benefited the UDMF by binding otherwise disparate ethnic groups together, constructing a history of the Terai that makes it their exclusive political domain, polarizing society into a ‘Madhesi vs. Pahadi (Kathmandu valley)' dichotomy that scapegoats elite ethnicities for local problems, and dissociating Madhesi political leaders from their Maoist past.

The UDMF uses political violence to draw attention to the plight of those from the Madhesi ethnic group, signing two peace agreements over the past year with political leaders in Kathmandu to push reform and articulate their grievances. However, implementation of the agreements is complex and problematic. Nepal’s government is in a difficult spot: it committed to UDMF directives that, if implemented in their entirety, will likely increase conflict within the Terai while simultaneously fracturing the state and weakening Nepal’s fragile institutions. In order to reduce the risk for future armed conflict, seven factors should be addressed:

  1. Successfully sell a compromise that is not ‘one Madhes’ to Madhesi supporters. Kathmandu needs to guarantee protection of Madhesis within a framework of federal autonomy that does not exacerbate tensions among others of Nepal’s 100+ ethnic groups.
  2. Encourage the UDMF to move beyond a single-issue party. UDMF leaders currently use Terai-centric lenses for almost all political decisions; incorporating them into stakeholder positions for Nepal as a whole would help break through this mentality.
  3. Integrate Madhesis into the Nepal Army. Madhesis are currently represented at anemic levels in the armed forces. However, including battalions of untrained Madhesis would expand an already bloated Army, further militarizing Nepali society. A quota system should be created for Army enlistment, incorporating a sunset date for later review.
  4. Integrate Madhesis in the civic bureaucracy. The foreign service, civil service, and police are also all under-represented by Madhesis. Again, implementing quota systems sends a signal to Madhesis that the centre is serious about correcting past mistakes, without forcing unqualified people into easily corruptible high-ranking positions.
  5. Address the Madhesi desire for vengeance and retribution against Pahadis. Increased Madhesi political participation at the centre, representation in pan-Nepal organizations, and involvement in international programs would illustrate that discriminatory policies of the past 40 years were misguided but correctable non-violently.
  6. Address security issues in the Terai. The Terai is engulfed in a perfect storm of limited state capacity, a porous international border, easy access to weapons, financial incentives for criminality, and violent actors. National and international actors should jointly work to increase local police capacity in the hardest-hit districts.
  7. Incorporate Tharu Concerns. Tharu minority communities are substantial, also live in the Terai, and are against Madhesi autonomy. Shutting them out of the negotiation process will exacerbate inter-ethnic conflict in the Terai in the short-term.


Nepal’s recent history has been fraught with civil violence. After a peace agreement was signed to end a 10-year civil war between the government of Nepal and the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist in 2006, local and international observers were surprised to see new fighting erupt in southern Nepal, within a region known as the Terai. The violence, however, was initiated not by either party to the civil war but by groups fighting on behalf of those who profess a Madhesi ethnicity. These groups targeted both the state and the Maoists, polarizing Terai citizens along ethnic issues that were largely unaddressed during the civil war. In 2007, the three largest of these groups, the Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (MJF), Terai Madhesh Loktrantrik Party (TMLP), and Sadbhavana Party (SP), joined forces to create a coalition called the United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF). UDMF groups participated in the recent national elections, but have threatened a return to violence if their demands are not met. The UDMF’s goal is to rectify generations of discrimination through the creation of an autonomous state of Madhes that is free of direct rule by the traditional power elites in the capital of Kathmandu. To build support, the UDMF has redefined the ethnic identity of Terai citizens and those outside of it, encouraging racial and ethnic violence. The UDMF has negotiated two peace agreements with Nepal’s government, but implementation is complex, difficult, and may increase violence if ignored or done haphazardly.

Background and History

The Terai is often interchangeably called ‘Madhes’, but the terms differ in their original usage. The ‘Terai’ refers to the fertile strip of low-lying land sandwiched between the Himalayan foothills and the Indo-Gangetic alluvial plain, running from west to east throughout southern Nepal, and stretching to India and Bhutan. The Terai incorporates 20 of Nepal’s 75 districts, includes close to half the population of Nepal’s 26 million citizens, and houses well over half of Nepal’s agriculture and industry sector outputs. The origin of the word ‘Madhes’ is contested, but believed to originate from ‘medhya-desh’, a geographic marker distinguishing the plains from the hill region (or parbat, from which is derived Pahadi, meaning hill-dweller) of modern Nepal. A Madhesi, therefore, originally meant only an inhabitant of this region.

Politicians in southern Nepal have used the term ‘Madhes’ to distinguish local issues since at least 1947. However, the attempt to gain votes on a Madhes identity did not develop until after Nepal’s period of direct royal rule from 1960-1990 (the Panchayat era). During this period, the state attempted to assimilate the 100-plus ethnicities of Nepal into a pan-Nepali identity through language, schooling, and legal directives. These policies codified the cultures of upper caste Pahadis, legalizing systematic discrimination and under-representation in the government of any in Nepal who did not have this lineage. This policy was enforced rigorously; discussion of ethnic difference or inequality was a jailable offence until 1991. Further, a government-sponsored resettlement program in the mid-1980s financed migration of Pahadis to the Terai in an attempt to solidify control over the valuable agricultural and industrial region. Architects of the program viewed Terai citizens as ‘conquered people’ or illegal Indian migrants with no land rights.

The first systematic challenges to this policy were undertaken by the Indigenous Nationalities Movement (INM). Dozens of disparate indigenous groups throughout Nepal organized collectively in the early 1990s in an effort to restore and defend cultures and practices that clashed with Kathmandu’s conceptions of who is ‘Nepali’. Unification of these disparate groups was formalized through the creation of the Nepal Federation of Nationalities, which reframed Hindus as non-natives, "a rhetorical move that also enables ethnic activists to portray the dominant group as colonizers," whereas indigenous groups are "the bearers of the ‘original’...Nepal, and thus more authentically Nepali than caste Hindus." The movement also intentionally worked to introduce race as a form of self-identification in Nepal, in the process strengthening racial identities for both the marginalized and their oppressors.

Political elites in the Terai recognized how ethnic divisions could be used to mobilize supporters and pressure Kathmandu, and began to build a Madhesi identity movement along similar lines. The formation of the MJF in 1997 by activist Upendra Yadav was a milestone in this development. Originally an academic platform for Terai citizens to air their grievances and discuss ways in which discrimination of Madhesis by Pahadis could be addressed, the MJF became more political and radicalized during the 10-year civil war between the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist and the government, and MJF leaders including Yadav either sympathized with or joined the Maoists. With the greater financial and military standing that this alliance provided, the MJF was able to more quickly mobilize and coalesce than the INM before it.

MJF documents during the war were integral in the effort to reframe the word ‘Madhesi’ to incorporate ethno-racial elements. The MJF hand-selected historical events damning to Pahadis, dismissing others that muddled their claim of Madhesis as a uniform people. MJF pamphlets demonize Pahadis from the Kathmandu valley, accusing Pahadis of operating a ‘colony of torture’ rooted in racial discrimination, with Madhesis ‘under the threat of extinction’ due to their domination and suppression by Pahadis ‘since the foundation of the state of all levels’ of society. Madhesis are not just Terai citizens, but a true ethnicity with caste structures, languages, names, and religious rituals distinct from both Indians and Nepali Pahadis. Madhes identity was thus re-invented, incorporating ethnicity, caste, and class in addition to geography.

These efforts have been largely successful. In common usage, ‘Madhesi’ now refers specifically to non-tribal, caste Hindus of Indian origin that live in the Terai, thus adding racial/ethnic connotations in addition to the geographic association. Those living in the Terai who do not fit this definition (including Muslims, Tharus, Pahadis, and indigenous groups who predated Madhesi immigration) are therefore not officially ‘Madhesi’, but foreigners. Several different groups have gained politically from this re-definition, none more so than the UDMF.

The United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF): Leadership Through Ethnic Division

After the Maoists signed a 2006 peace agreement with the Nepal government, high-ranking Madhesis in the Maoist movement were relegated to the sidelines, observing firsthand how Maoist rhetoric of equality did not apply in their case. In response, large numbers of supporters from the Terai broke away from the Maoists to start their own movements, combining indigenous social mobilization tactics with knowledge gained on how to strategically attack the state from involvement in the Maoists. Groups flying the Madhesi banner have proliferated by exploiting popular demands for change and attacking both the state and other actors who would challenge their supremacty in the vacuum created by the civil war. Hoping to dissociate themselves from this violent past, the three largest Madhesi organizations formed the UDMF in 2007 in order to project a united front, create a platform for negotiation with Kathmandu and distance the larger political players from criminal gangs who use Madhesi slogans as cover for their actions.

UDMF demands were crystallized in two peace agreements signed with the Government of Nepal following non-violent agitations in August 2007 and February 2008. The principal demand calls for the ‘liberation’ of the entire Terai by redrawing the region into a single autonomous unit called Madhes that will have the right to self-determination under Nepal’s yet to be finalized federal system. This demand is known in common parlance as ‘One Madhes’ in Nepal. The first post-war nationwide elections in Nepal were held in April 2008, and each of the organizations of the UDMF chose to participate with an election slogan of ‘Ek Madhes, ek Pradesh’ (one Madhes, one state, collectively gaining 11.3% of the nationwide vote and 81 of 601 seats. Other political promises made included greater representation in the political, bureaucratic, and military spheres, recognition of Nepali citizenship, recognition of Maithili as an official language of Nepal, and ending discrimination of Madhesis by Pahadis by evicting Pahadis from the Terai if necessary.

The UDMF has gained politically from selling Madhes identity through the One Madhes ideal. Madhes identity has been used in order to turn historical grievances into political opportunities, mobilize grassroots support and justify violence against the state. Shifting the definition of Madhes from its geographic origins into a racial and ethnic identity has benefited the UDMF by:

  • Requiring any Terai political leaders to be Madhesi. In the process, this disqualifies members of the traditional Kathmandu power elite that wish to dictate policy in the Terai, ensuring that the Terai is the exclusive domain of UDMF leaders.
  • Enabling the UDMF to forward a historical narrative that rewrites the complex history of the Terai. By reframing history through the lens of current events, UDMF politicians can dismiss inconvenient facts. For example, most of those who identify themselves as ‘Madhesi’ can only trace their Terai roots to around 1955. The Madhesi narrative excludes those indigenous groups who populated the Terai before this migration.
  • Polarizing society into a ‘Pahadi vs. Madhesi’ dichotomy, allowing Madhesi leaders to scapegoat a monolithic ‘Pahadi’ population as cause for varying social and economic ills. Although discrimination against the Madhesi community from the Kathmandu elite is evident in almost every sphere of bureaucracy, many ethnicities lumped under the constructed ‘Pahadi’ umbrella have been equally passed over in favor of traditionally well-connected castes and groups, such as high-caste Bahun and Chhetri Pahadi groups. Being the glue that binds otherwise disparate groups together against a common cause.
  • Dissociating influential Madhesis from their Maoist past. Several UDMF leaders, including Upendra Yadav and Rajendra Mahato, were associated with the Maoist movement, which has lost most of its support in the Terai (see below). To maintain political relevance, playing Madhes identity politics fills this legitimacy gap.

UDMF leaders alternate between threatening rhetoric and conciliatory statements to press their demands. For example, Yadav professes that, "We would like to govern ourselves now...if the government does not respect our demands, we will be forced to divide the Terai region from Nepal." Further, "the people of the Madhes want one province. This is a non-negotiable demand for us and not a bargaining chip. If we compromise on this issue, the Madhes will be finished...If there are internal issues within the Terai, we will deal with it ourselves within one Madhes, that is our business. If the other parties do not agree, we will launch a decisive movement and go back to the streets." Yadav has also promised to "capture" the Terai unless an autonomous Madhes with the right to self-determination is created. SP head Rajendra Mahato has said "We will wage the struggle for one Madhes one Pradesh. There are no other alternatives...We will not allow Pahadis to rule us." Other Madhesi leaders have advocated separatist movements if the Nepal Army is deployed into the Terai for peacekeeping purposes.

However, Yadav has also stated "We are ready to support any party...that can forge a national consensus." MJF spokesperson Jaya Prakash Gupta states that "our demand is one Madhes one Pradesh," and "one Pahad one Pradesh," arguing for separate states for the two groups. The UDMF has shifted allegiances several times among political parties on the left and right in Kathmandu since elections, hoping to strike a deal with any party that will support One Madhes. However, The lack of implementation of either peace agreement has hardened demands, as UDMF leaders now push for constitutional guarantees of autonomy, military representation and even secession if the foot-dragging continues. Privately, Yadav admitted that secession and self-determination are merely political mobilization and bargaining tools, designed to get the SPA to the table when more conciliatory measures have failed. He encourages the UDMF to begin negotiations from an extreme position, to provide opportunities to compromise within a final agreement that is closer to their original demands of just representation and a more equitable distribution of Nepal’s jobs and resources. Although Yadav uses examples of other ethnic struggles for autonomy from around the world in his speeches, he is ambivalent about the long-term ramifications of these struggles.

From the Centre: Delayed Responses and a Promise Forward

Most political moderates in the Seven Party Alliance (SPA) of mainstream political parties are fighting the One Madhes proposal. Outgoing Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala (NC) argues that it would split the country, stating: "I cannot fulfill the demand creating whole Madhes as a one state no matter what power on this world forces me to do so." Although Maoist leader Prachanda has been more conciliatory towards the idea of self-determination in the Terai, the Maoists and CPN-UML released a joint statement on 27 June firmly rejecting the ‘One Madhes’ proposal as it stands. Other political parties were equally ambivalent after the UDMF’s continued attempts to incorporate a Madhes autonomy amendment into the current constitution.

SPA leaders are pragmatic about ‘One Madhes’, choosing to ignore the most inflammatory rhetoric while at the same time signing multiple agreements with the UDMF in a conciliatory short-term attempt to diminish violence. However, the SPA has not seriously considered sharing power with Madhesi groups in the new Constituent Assembly, and few non-Terai parties have supported their demands to implement many of the promised points in either the August 2007 or March 2008 agreements. The SPA has used two tools for leverage: blaming Madhesi parties for negotiation difficulties in order to attempt to fracture them, and saying that Madhesi parties are nothing more than tools of Indian political and security forces. Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and the Maoists continue to limit representation in post-election coalition building and negotiation, viewing the UDMF as easily swayed due to their one-issue mandate. SPA leaders have also attempted to fuel divisions, leaking to the press how the UDMF ruins ‘tantalizingly close’ negotiations because of ‘cracks in their alliance.’

Most SPA politicians consider Madhesi rights as a topic to be addressed within the greater umbrella of federalism and/or decentralization of a ‘New Nepal’. In high-level workshops, SPA representatives have discussed the degree of decentralization, whether to create ethnic or administrative federalism, where to draw boundary lines, and how many provinces to create (anywhere from 8 to 40). Members from Madhesi parties have been included in some of these meetings, with the One Madhes demand dominating their platform. The exact number of states is a political bargaining chip and not the primary concern, aside from the near-universal wish of SPA members to subdivide the Terai into at least 4-5 subunits. While decentralizing power to the existing district level is possible, most SPA members and international observers feel that Nepal has neither the institutional capacity nor infrastructure to support 75 autonomous regions.

In return, UDMF leaders perceive that the SPA takes neither their movement nor their demands seriously. During the height of pre-election Terai agitations, Upendra Yadav was summoned to PM Koirala’s office for talks, responding: "We have sacrificed everything for the negotiation but it is the government which has shown complete apathy towards us...we spent all the night sitting at the sofa in prime minister's residence." The UDMF now feels that it must resort to large public demonstrations of its power in the Terai in order to bring the SPA to the table. Thus far, the most effective mobilization technique has been to demonize Pahadis at the grassroots level.

From the Grassroots: Belief in Leadership, Increasing Polarization

The anti-Pahadi fire stoked by the UDMF in grassroots supporters has manifested into action, resulting in calls for not only autonomy, but also secession and a Pahadi-free Terai. In response, ethnic cleansing of Pahadis by hardcore supporters has already begun in some parts of eastern Terai. The UDMF stokes the expectations of supporters by promising to fulfill a One Madhes demand that is increasingly unlikely. In turn, supporters promise to return to violence and fight for secession if the February 2008 agreement is not implemented ‘line by line’, with the One Madhes promise top on the priority list. Echoing UDMF rhetoric, grassroots supporters feel that One Madhes is the only way to reverse the injustices perpetuated against Madhesi peoples. The MJF has splintered because of peace agreements made with the government that some members felt compromised this ideal. Although most continue to back the MJF for the time being, this backing is not unconditional. To note from one supporter: "We fully support the current party line (of the MJF), but if the party line deviates from ‘Ek Madhes’, we will return to revolution."

Despite the rise of Madhesi politics, citizens in rural areas of the Terai continue to struggle with legacies of Pahadi placement in social services, as many feel that they have been denied hospital and schooling services solely because of their race. Local anger is directed towards the Kathmandu ‘ruling elite’, at the Maoists, and at international organizations, as populations see the practice of hiring almost exclusively Pahadi field staff as a form of neo-colonization, particularly when Pahadis are hired to work in Madhesi areas. Regarding the Maoists, Madhesi farmers have threatened ‘a flood of blood’ if the Maoists attempt any form of land redistribution, a central campaign promise. Several current UDMF supporters who left the Maoists did so after they saw less skilled Pahadi comrades rising up the chain of Maoist command much faster than themselves or their Madhesi brethren. Supporters viewed this glass ceiling as the product of a directive from senior Maoist leadership to only accept fellow Pahadis into high-ranking positions.

Madhesi political gains came at the expense of the Nepali Congress and UML, where the Terai had traditionally been a strong base of support, the Maoists, who fared better in other parts of Nepal, and Madhesi militant groups, as voting was an act of resistance against their tactics of violence. Most Madhesi politicians had been members or supporters of at least one of these three groups before 2006. Those from the Nepali Congress left because they felt that Madhesi populations where being used simply as a vote bank, offering little in return in terms of Madhesi leadership positions or pro-Terai policies. When the Maoist agitation moved to the Terai in 2001, Maoist slogans promised rectification of longstanding discriminations, but Madhesis were under-represented in top levels as key Madhesi leaders (including Upendra Yadav) were relegated to lower levels of Maoist hierarchy. Even Madhesi politicians who remained with the Maoists through 2008 elections seemed unenthusiastic, hoping that party leadership would adapt quickly after elections to better accommodate Madhesi aspirations. Maoist leaders were quick to blame the voters themselves for falling into the ‘ethnic trap’ of the UDMF, as "the root cause of the Maoist decline is the lack of political sense among people of the Terai."

Widespread institutationalization and legitimization of Madhesi identity impacts dozens of other ethnic minorities within the Terai. The One Madhes policy challenges a Teraian’s conception of self, as individuals are forced to choose between being Nepali and Madhesi, in the process abandoning the overlapping, coexisting, and sometimes contradictory identities of class, caste, and religion that are commonplace in Nepal. UDMF leaders give discouraging statements on the fate of these erstwhile minorities. When asked about how minority concerns would be addressed within an autonomous Madhes state, Upendra Yadav was ominous, saying "These people will not exist in Madhes. We will not have any minorities."

Statements like this have created significant tensions between Madhesi-dominated eastern Terai and western regions heavily populated with the Tharu ethnic community. Tharus have begun to mobilize and protest against the UDMF’s One Madhes policy, fearing ostracization, discrimination and violence against Tharus if it is pushed through. Tharu organizations have begun to assert greater political muscle as they resist Madhesi efforts to label all Terai citizens as Madhesis. The Tharu Kalyankari Sabha is the most visible, launching several agitations as it attempts to unite all 32 elected Constituent Assembly politicians under a Tharu ethnic banner. Also, the Tharu Welfare Assembly has stated that "the Tharus will create a havoc sort of situation in the country immediately and the situation thus could not be controlled by the State", because "the lands which the Madhesi leaders claim to be theirs is in effect a land inhabited by the Tharus primarily since time immemorial-much ahead of the Madhesis." Tharu leaders are finding it increasingly politically advantageous to play up anti-Madhesi sentiment, evidenced by recent bandhs called to resist the One Madhes policy.

Post-election violence is also on the rise in eastern Terai, particularly in the form of kidnappings, killings and extortions that target workers of industrial sites by criminal Madhesi organizations including the Terai Army and Janatantrik Terai Mukti Morcha (JTMM)-Jwala Singh faction. JTMM-Singh is one of several militant groups that forward political agendas, as Singh declares Madhes independence in speeches and literature. JTMM and UDMF supporters have also clashed in turf wars with the Young Communist League, the youth wing of the Maoists. Further, grassroots UDMF supporters are increasingly rigid in their One Madhes support, and say that although they are tired of violence, they will not hesitate to go to war with either the YCL, Tharu groups, or the state if this demand is not met.

Madhesi leadership movement on structural issues in Nepal beyond identity and/or federalism will determine how serious they are about institutional change instead of their own legacies and coffers to consolidate personal power. Many Madhesi supporters were frustrated during the election, openly wondering why Madhesi parties seemed more interested in securing exclusive power in the Terai than ensuring a share of power in Kathmandu, lending credence to fears that secession is the final endgame of the UDMF. UDMF lionizing of the Madhesi brand threatens to increase violence and ethnic cleansing, and it will be tempting for UDMF leadership to scapegoat further to distract from a lack of real leadership or development in the area. At some point grassroots supporters may expect more than identity from their leadership, recognizing that the Madhes agenda is only a peripheral cover used to push personal and institutional goals. Further, demands of independence and cultural division can take a life of their own, as followers increasingly subscribe to the narratives politicians broadcast.

India: The Elephant Next Door

Nepal’s relationship with India is complex and intimately intertwined with the Terai. The roots of Indo-Nepal cooperation and angst lie in the 1950 Treaty of Peace and Friendship. The Maoists and other politicians in Nepal have attacked this treaty for the last several years, arguing that it should be scrapped because the security arrangement benefits India’s neo-colonialist designs on Nepal. In particular, Article V is interpreted to limit Nepal’s ability to import weapons, noting that ‘(t)he Government of Nepal shall be free to import, from or through the territory of India, arms, ammunition or warlike material and equipment necessary for to this arrangement shall be worked out by the two Governments acting in consultation.’ Further exacerbating the struggle is the porous border and lack of police on either side of the border, giving easy access to weapons and encouraging violent separatist groups to proliferate. Criminal organizations, political parties, and separatist groups have all used the Indian state of Bihar as a safe haven, exploiting the porous border to withdraw from Nepal when threatened by Kathmandu.

India’s relationship with Madhesi leaders elicits varied responses in Kathmandu. Maoist Minister of Local Development Dev Gurung stated: "By inviting UMDF...leaders in Embassy premises for negotiations, India has shown how it is meddling in Nepal's internal affairs...This kind of interference is unacceptable to us." Former-PM Koirala, on the other hand, believes that only a joint Indo-Nepal commission can solve the Madhes issue, officially approaching the Indian government for assistance. Support of India by Madhesi leaders is by no means universal, however. TMLP leader Hridayesh Tripathi is an outspoken advocate against Indian involvement in Madhes, viewing any Indian involvement as a conspiracy of the Nepal government against Madhesis. Yadav, however, has met several times with right wing organizations in India, declaring in December 2006 that he would help make Nepal a Hindu nation again.

Given India’s role as a regional hegemon, Nepalis naturally feel wariness towards Indian aims, even if well-intended. As International Crisis Group notes, India ‘appears to have lost none of its appetite for interventionist micromanagement’ rankling Nepali politicians on all sides. Suspicions in Kathmandu are high that there is covert or even overt Indian involvement in the Madhesi movement. Security forces from both the Research and Analysis Wing (India’s national intelligence agency) and Sashastra Seema Bal (Indian border police) have entered Nepali territory without permission ‘in pursuit of criminals’. Delhi is rumored to have extensive relationships with the TMLP. Madhesi criminal groups openly use Indian border towns as bases of operation, tacitly supported by the Indian government. There are also fears that India wishes to undermine a Maoist-led government by supporting an armed Madhesi uprising. Delhi-based analysts fuel this fire, with comments such as: "India needs some strategic space. And Madhesi groups can provide us that leverage with Kathmandu if the Maoists ever get too belligerent. I am not saying support armed groups, but Delhi must use Madhesi politicians for its benefit."


Given the expected transition of Nepal to a federal state, international actors can assist by illustrating which structures of federalism best encourage long-term security and individual protections while at the same time discouraging those that serve only to bolster sub-national groups and ethnic politics at the expense of the state. Regardless, Madhesi identity must now be respected as a genuine movement. To ignore the demands for autonomy now would likely only create a hollow short-term fix that will encourage state dissolution and violence. However, empirical evidence suggests that federal state division along ethnic lines generally causes more conflict than it prevents, and serves to concretize differences, especially if the structuring was done in a post-conflict setting. A solution more conducive to durable peace involves dividing large-block ethnic groups into distinct districts in order to temper the lure that political leaders will surely face to play upon ethnic, caste, or religious identity to gain votes.

Several sticking points remain to potential resolution, however. First are the agreements already signed between the SPA and UDMF explicitly granting ‘an autonomous Madhes state.’ The language of the agreements, however, do not specify the size of what this Madhes state must be or what kind of autonomy it will have, leaving it up to the Constituent Assembly to ‘devise a way to apply the formulation of such states and the rights attributed to the region and the centre while keeping national sovereignty, unity and integrity intact.’ This suggests that the ramifications of a One Madhes policy have not been calculated beyond short-term political gain. This provides an opportunity, however; as all sides continue to focus on the ‘what’ of the agreements, the vagaries of the documents allow for a wide degree of latitude in the ‘how’, or implementation phase.

Recognizing the fact that a One Madhes policy would result in a pyrrhic victory for people of the Terai, it remains necessary to incorporate a solution that addresses the issue in a fundamental way that satisfies both UDMF leadership and the expectations from the grassroots. Even the most militant One Madhes supporters may accept a Terai divided into a small number of autonomous units if the UDMF publicly and strongly backs such an agreement, articulating how greater decentralization will allow Madhesis to assume more ownership and control than a One Madhes alone would. To that end, hybrid, multi-subunit provincial solutions may serve to allow for Terai co-operative political mobilization without incorporating or necessitating a ‘One Madhes’ solution. Likelihood for resolution and/or future armed conflict depends on seven factors:

Successfully sell a compromise that is not ‘one Madhes’ to Madhesi supporters. In order to get beyond the political impasse of the ‘one Madhes’ debate, SPA leadership in Kathmandu needs to work with UDMF leaders to change their frame of reference. The UDMF feels that federal autonomy is the only way to guarantee protection of Madhesis, and with both Madhesis and other indigenous groups strongly backing ethnic federalism, attempting to force through a purely administrative federal structure is an invitation to further agitation. However, Tharus and others within what would be ‘one Madhes’ are determined to prevent their rule by Madhesi leaders. Although respected international observers are suggesting that Nepal ‘respect the pre-election implementing fully the agreements’ with the UMDF, constructing an ethnic federal framework solely along the lines of agreement will increase the risk of ethnic conflict and exacerbate the problems of internal displacement that proliferated during the civil war. One potential solution is to maintain the one Madhes philosophy by shifting Nepal’s regional alignment boundaries from the current north-south framework to an east-west configuration, decentralizing limited powers to provinces drawn on a map based either upon the existing 75 provinces or roughly two dozen states. A Madhes that can lean upon regional ties while at the same time devolve certain administrative power to four or five geographically defined regions satisfies the spirit of autonomy and assuages fears of exacerbating a north-south rift. This type of hybrid system has also been successful in other states for addressing the demands of the aggrieved as well as protecting those who become minorities in new provinces defined partially by ethnicity.

    1. Encourage the UDMF to move beyond a single-issue party. Implementation of non- controversial peace agreement points, and providing credible assurances that negotiation channels remain open for the two most contentious issues (Madhesi representation in the Army and autonomy), would signal to the UDMF that Madhesi politics alone is not a viable platform. Although placing a Madhesi leader in the largely ceremonial role of President is encouraging, it is unlikely to temper autonomy demands. The UDMF has shown little interest in playing "post-identity" politics, even as those who consider themselves Madhesi are beginning to examine what they voted for beyond One Madhes. UDMF leaders use Terai-centric lenses for almost all political decisions; incorporating them into stakeholder positions for Nepal as a whole would help break through this mentality. UDMF leaders can also be brought on board to help tackle some of Nepal’s many challenges of poverty and development if given a limited number of important ministerial positions. Further, while fracturing Madhesi parties for short-term political gain is tempting for SPA parties, it should be resisted. The SPA has squandered previous opportunities to implement Madhesi agreement points, encouraging greater radicalization. As a warning, Yadav has promised that "I hope that this agreement is fully implemented so that Madhesis do not have to launch another agitation. If we...launch another agitation it would be decisive and much more intense."
    2. Integrate Madhesis into the Nepal Army. Here, Madhesi groups see a double dishonor: not only are Madhesis currently represented at anemic levels in the armed forces (figures vary from 1% to 4%), but ongoing negotiations to integrate some 10,000 Maoist troops (who are almost exclusively Pahadi) into the Nepal Army would mean a further reduction in representation. In response, the UDMF has insisted that a significant number of Madhesi troops be integrated into the Army at the same time as the Maoists. However, incorporating battalions of Madhesi and Maoists would unnecessarily expand an already bloated Nepal Army and further militarize Nepali society. Further, these erstwhile Madhesi forces collectively have almost no practical training or military expertise, a fact noted by the Nepal Army as it has resisted these calls. A more reasonable solution would be to incorporate a quota system directly proportional to self-identified population for future Army enlistment, incorporating a sunset date for later review.
    3. Integrate Madhesis in the civic bureaucracy. The foreign service, civil service, and police are also all under-represented by Madhesis, due as much to Panchayat language policies as corruption and discrimination. Again, implementing quota systems sends a signal to Madhesis that the centre is serious about correcting past mistakes, without requiring entire systems to be scrapped or forcing unqualified people into high-ranking positions, thus providing a powerful incentive to contribute to Nepal’s endemic corruption. However, these provisions must be implemented in more than just name only, and a straight quota under a simple ‘Madhesi’ umbrella may only mask the tremendous caste, class, and ethnic variations within the Terai. Unfulfilled promises to Madhesi groups from peace agreements and politicians using Madhesis as vote banks have increased skepticism; implementation requires dedication and willingness to implement needed change.
    4. Address the Madhesi desire for vengeance and retribution against Pahadis. Implementation of the above recommendations would illustrate a willingness to accept responsibility for and address historical wrongs, but there also needs to be a shift in Pahadi mentality to recognize that a) Madhesis are also Nepali, and b) that the current popular groundswell for One Madhes would not have happened without the institutionalized discrimination of the past 40 years. To call the movement ‘groundless’, as some senior ministers have done, or propose solutions without consulting Madhesi leadership, are counterproductive and only reinforce Madhesi fears. International actors should encourage the SPA to allocate Madhesi political participation at the centre, support greater Madhesi representation in pan-Nepal organizations, and have better representation of Madhesi workers in their own Nepal programs. Beyond the political sphere, social inclusion measures addressing north-south gaps in poverty, land assets, and education would temper the need for vengeance if applied transparently.
    5. Address security issues in the Terai. The Terai is engulfed in a perfect storm of limited state capacity, a porous international border, easy access to weapons, financial incentives for criminality, and groups using violence to compete for territorial supremacy. India can play a central role, using its more extensive border-patrol resources to limit Uttar Pradesh and Bihar as ‘safe havens’ for Madhesi criminal organizations, and cracking down on drug, weapon, and human trafficking both from and to Nepal. Political parties, criminal organizations and official forces all engage in heavy-handed tactics that breed insecurity among Terai citizens, encouraging them to support armed groups in the absence of state capacity. However, bringing in the Nepal Army would encourage violence and be derided by the UDMF as neo-colonization. Instead, national and international actors should jointly work to increase local police capacity in the hardest-hit districts. As an example, a new community police initiative by the Nepal Police established 179 ‘community service centers’ in 72 of 75 districts of Nepal in an effort to better local relations. However, although the programs are successful in other parts of the country, they have yet to gain traction in the Terai because of continued placement of Pahadis in key posts, a problem typified by a lack of cultural awareness in the original planning document. Further, the program contained a Special Task Force designed specifically to track down ‘separatist’ Terai movements by force. Again, addressing security issues need to incorporate more than rhetoric if they are to address violence.
    6. Incorporate Tharu Concerns. Tharu communities are of a substantial size, also located in the Terai, and are against both the One Madhes philosophy and any sort of Madhesi autonomy that is not coupled with Tharuhat autonomy in western Terai. Shutting them out of the negotiation process on the future of the Terai will not only exacerbate the inter-ethnic conflict has recently begun, but also provide the foundation for another conflict modeled upon the Madhesi struggle. However, simply breaking the Terai into ‘separate but equal’ provinces of Tharuhat and Madhes would likely stimulate huge population transfers and additional ethnic cleansing while providing no protections to groups who are neither Tharu nor Madhesi. Tharu leadership should be invited to negotiations on the new federal map for Nepal, but given the clear statement that the process is not just to reward ethnic statehood to groups that agitate violently.

Appendix 1

Madhesi Political Organizations

  • Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (MJF, also called Madhesi People’s Rights Forum or MPRF)
    • Leader Upendra Yadav, 51 seats (of 601) in new constituent assembly
  • Terai Madhesh Loktrantrik Party (TMLP, also called Terai Madhes Democratic Party)
    • Leader Mahantha Thakur, 20 seats.
  • Nepal Sadhvawana Party (SP)
    • Leader Rajendra Mahato, 10 seats
  • Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Madhesh (MJF-M)
    • Bhagyanath Prasad Gupta, president

Terai Political Alliances

United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF), consisting of:

  • Madhesi Janadhikar Forum
  • Terai Madhes Loktrantrik Party
  • Nepal Sadhvawana Party

Federal Republican National Front (FRNF), consisting of:

  • Madhesi Janadhikar Forum,
  • Federal Democratic National Forum, (2 seats)
  • United Tharu National Front,
  • Federal Limbhuwan State Council (FLSC), leader: Sanjuhang Palungwa
  • Dalit Janjati Party, leader Birendra Paswan
  • Tamangsaling Autonomous State Council, leader Singman Tamang
  • Madhesi Democratic Front.

Tharu Kalyankari Sabha (TKS)

  • Raj Kumar Lekhi (Joint Secretary), working to consolidate an alliance with 32 Tharu politicians elected in the Constituent Assembly under different parties

Other Organizations using violence within the past 18 months in the Terai:

  • Janatantrik Tarai Mukti Morcha (JTMM) - Jwala Singh faction
    • Leader Nagendra Kumar Paswan aka Jwala Singh, did not contest elections
  • Janatantrik Tarai Mukti Morcha (JTMM) - Goit faction
    • Leader Jaya Krishna Goit, did not contest (aka Akhil Terai Mukti Morcha (ATMM))
  • Janatantrik Tarai Mukti Morcha (JTMM) - Bishfot Singh faction
  • Madhesi Mukti Rashtriya Morcha (Madhesi National Liberation Front), leader Prabhu Shah
  • Madhesi Mukti Tigers (Maoist splinter, leader Sher Singh Rajput, chairman Rajan Mukti)
  • Nepal Janatantrik Party (pro-King, leader Rana Bahadur Chanda 'Samrat')
  • Terai Tigers (leader alias ‘Arjun’)
  • Tharu Mukti Morcha, leader Laxman Tharu, President
  • Chure Bhawar Ekata Samaj (demands the establishment of a Chure Bhawar state. Pro-Pahadi, UML-supported, early splinter group from MJF. Leaders Somnath Lama & Keshav Mainali)
  • Janajati Mahasangh, leader Pasang Sherpa
  • TM Don Group (operating in western Terai)-leader undisclosed
  • AASK Group-leader undisclosed
  • Terai Army (Leader ‘Mr. John’/’Mr. Deva’)
  • Terai Utthan Sangat, leader Rajendra Singh, coordinator
  • Samyukta Janatantrik Tarai Mukti Morcha (SJTMM), leader ’Mr. Pawan’
  • Liberation Tigers of Terai Elam, President Ram Lochan Singh
  • Terai Cobras (pro-Terai independence, leader Nagraj)
  • Madhesi Virus Killers, Mr. Sanket
  • Nepal People’s Army-leader undisclosed
  • Nepal Defence Army (pro-King, leader 'Parivartan')
  • Madhesh Raksha Bahini (Madhesh Security Brigade): Leader Shiva Patel
  • Terai Baagi, leader Shyam Baagi
  • Samyukta Jankranti Party, coordinator Kishan Mandal

Appendix 2

Agreement between the Nepal Government and United Democratic Madhesi Front, 28 February 2008 (unofficial full-text translation)

Respecting the sentiments and aspirations of the Madhesi people of Nepal, expressed during the protests and movements that they have organized time and again for equal rights, this agreement was signed between the Government of Nepal and the United Democratic Madhesi Front, to ensure (the establishment of) a federal democratic republic in Nepal (with a) multiparty democratic system of governance, by guaranteeing equality, freedom and justice for all the nation’s people, as well as by putting an end to all types of discrimination. This agreement will be immediately implemented. The points of the agreement are as follows.

1. The state shall declare as martyrs those who were killed during the Madhes movement and shall provide adequate compensation to those maimed and those who are yet to receive compensation. Similarly, arrangements shall be made for those injured during the movement to receive medical expenses and those martyred shall be given due recognition and their families shall be provided rupees 1 million as relief, and those arrested shall be immediately released.

2. By accepting the Madhesi people’s call for an autonomous Madhes and other people’s desire for a federal structure with autonomous regions, Nepal shall become a federal democratic republic. In the federal structure, power shall be divided between the centre and states in a clear manner according to the (constitutional) list. The states shall be fully autonomous and shall enjoy full rights. By keeping Nepal’s sovereignty and integrity intact, the decision regarding details of the (constitutional) list and the division of power between the centre and the states shall be made by the Constituent Assembly.

3. The existing legal provision for 20 percent, in Sub-section 14 of Section 7 of the Election of Members to the Constituent Assembly Act 2064, shall be changed to 30 percent.

4. It shall be mandatory for the state to carry out appointments, promotions and nominations in a manner such that there is inclusive proportional representation of Madhesis, indigenous nationalities, women, Dalits, (people from) backward regions and minority communities in all state bodies, including the security sector.

5. Proportional, inclusive and group entry [tr. entry in the army as a group] of Madhesis and other communities shall be ensured in order to give the Nepal Army a national and inclusive character.

6. The Government of Nepal and the United Democratic Madhesi Front request all armed groups agitating in the Tarai to come to talks for a peaceful political process and to find a solution through dialogue. The Government of Nepal will take immediate steps to create a conducive environment for this purpose. We appeal to everyone to help conduct the Constituent Assembly election on 10 April in a peaceful, violence-free, impartial, fair and fear-free environment.

7. The Government of Nepal will immediately release all those who have been detained, withdraw cases filed against Madhesi leaders and party cadres of the Forum as well as of other parties, and immediately implement all other points of the 22-point Agreement signed between the Government of Nepal and the Madhesi People’s Rights Forum on 30 August 2007 (2064 Bhadau 13).

8.All protest programs called by United Democratic Madhesi Forum shall be immediately withdrawn.

The Government of Nepal will be responsible for the constitutional, legal, political and administrative aspects of the points of this agreement. The government shall form a high-level monitoring committee including members of the Front to monitor the implementation of this agreement.


Rajendra Mahato, National Chairman Sadbhavana Party

Upendra Yadav, Madhesi People’s Rights Forum

Mahantha Thakur, Chairman, Tarai Madhes Democratic Party

Girija Prasad Koirala, Prime Minister, Government of Nepal

2008- 08.20. Fersk rapport fra PRIO/Jason Miklian: Les hele rapporten...

2008-05.28. Ambassadør Krishna V. Rajan om Fred og Demokrati i Sør Asia: Se hele talen...

Beringstredet fredsprosjektet
"For fredens skyld foreslår jeg å bygge en passasje gjennom Beringstredet. Denne passasjen vil være et knutepunkt i et internasjonalt motorveisystem som vil gjøre det mulig å reise fra Afrikas Kapp det Gode Håp til Santiago i Chile og fra NewYork til London og binde verden sammen til et felles samfunn.
Dette prosjektet vil bryte ned menneskeskapte barrierer mellom raser, kulturer, religioner og nasjoner og etablere et rike med fred; en ideell verden som også har vært Guds etterlengtede ønske.
USA og Russland kan forenes. EU, Kina, India, Japan, Brazil og alle nasjoner kan samle sine krefter for å lykkes i dette prosjektet. Å lykkes i dette prosjektet vil være avgjørende for å bygge en fredelig ideell verden, hvor mennesker ikke lenger vil krige mot hverandre
". UFs grunnlegger Dr. Sun Myung Moon, i sin tale fra stiftelsesmøtet for UF

Dr. Moon oppfordrer til å gripe den historiske muligheten å bygge bro over barrierene mellom raser, kulturer, religioner og nasjoner. Gjennom sitt liv har han hatt en visjon om et internasjonalt veisystem som forbinder alle kontinenter.

En tidlig tilhenger husker at Moon som flykning i det krigsherjede Sør Korea, en vårdag i 1950, forutsa at det en dag ville komme en tunell mellom fiendenasjonene Korea og Japan, mens de betraktet strømmen av fartøy som ankom havnen.

På en konferanse med nobelprisvinnere og andre vitenskapsmenn i 1981, gjentok Moon ideen om en tunell fra Kina via Korea gjennom en undersjøisk tunnel til Japans Kyushu-øyer og nordover til Hokkaido.

I 2005 og på hans verdensomspennende taleturne har han fremmet et enda mer ambisisøst prosjekt, konstuksjonen av en Fredstunell gjennom Beringstredet. En tunell på 85 km med et budsjett på 200 milliarder dollar for å forbinde øst og vest, Amerika og Asia. "En slik forbindelse vil bidra til å gjøre verden til et felles samfunn".

En slik forbindelse vil åpne for en friere handel. Økonomisk og kulturell utveksling ville hjelpe til å skape sosial utjevning. Selv om vær-forholdene ville favorisere gods-tog aller først, så har Moon en visjon om passasjer-trafikk, turisme og til og med ekteskap mellom mennesker langs ruten.
"Noen tviler kanskje på at et slikt prosjekt kan fullføres, men der det er vilje er det vei - spesielt hvis det er Guds vilje. Både vitenskap og teknologi i det 21. århundre gjør det mulig å konstruere en tunell under Beringstredet".

Angående kostnadene på 200 milliarder dollar for tunellen og 400 milliarder dollar for en jernbanelinje så er Moon sikker på at ressursene finnes. "Tenk på hvor mye penger verden sløser bort på kriger, tiden er kommet for nasjoner å arbeide sammen og forene sine krefter og som profeten Esaias en gang lærte", "å smi sin sverd og spyd til hakker og vingårdskniver".
Eller i det minste til gravemaskiner og jernbaneskinner.

Yakunin vil ha tunnel, 11.april 2012

President Medvedev støtter tunell-prosjektet



"Beringstrede-prosjektet er ikke bare et godt prosjekt, men et essentielt prosjekt for verdensfred".
Craig Burroughs, president i Beringstrait Project and Railway Group.

"Hvorfor skulle noen ønske å bygge en tunell over det avsidesliggende Beringstredet? Den raskeste veien mellom New York og Beijing går faktisk nord for Beringstredet. Slik sett er Beringstredet for langt syd.
Louis Cerney, Fhv. Direktør i American Railway Engineering Association.

"En forbindelse over Beringstredet ville skape nødvendig infrastruktur for videre utvikling. Det vil gjøre det mulig å frakte gods i volum som ville være umulig med fly. Det vil skape arbeidsplasser, og mulighet for handel som ikke eksisterer i dag".
Craig Burroughs, President i Beringstrait Project Tunnell and Railway Group.

"Når gode prosjekter kommer på bordet så vil pengene komme. Tilgangen til nye områder vil skape nye økonomiske muligheter. Utviklingen av en fattig region vil skape et nytt skattegrunnlag for myndighetene".
James Edgerly, Ambassadør for Fred

"En naturlig måte å bringe mennesker sammen på for å løse problemer som fattigdom, mangel på ressurser, mangel på arbeidsplasser og mangel på forståelse.
Craig Burrougs, President i Beringstrait Project Tunnell and Railway Group. 

Sun Myung Moon og Kim Il Sung
"Jeg reiste til Nord-Korea med en ånd av sann kjærlighet. Jeg reiste ikke til min fiendes hus, men til min brors hus. Jeg reiste med en innstilling om å tilgi, elske og forene."
Dr. Sun Myung Moon, UF grunnlegger.
Etter et historisk møte med Kim Il Sung.

Den koreanske halvøy er delt i to langs den 38. breddegrad. Siden grensen ble lukket i 1953 har Nord- og Sør-Korea levd i en spent situasjon med våpenstillstand og uten formell fred. Et folk med samme språk og med samme historiske og kulturelle bakgrunn ble atskilt uten reelle muligheter til gjenforening.

Etter å ha overlevd to år og åtte måneder i en konsentrasjonsleir i Nord-Korea, flyktet pastor Sun Myung Moon sørover i 1950, da krigen begynte. Fra den tiden har han arbeidet for å overvinne fiendskap og fremme fredelig gjenforening av sitt hjemland, gjennom det som i dag heter "Nordøst Asia Fredsinitiativet".

Veiledende prinsipp:

  1. Sann kjærlighet; som inspirerer mennesker til å leve for andre, sentrert om Gud
  2. Forening; ved å overvinne hindringer gjennom å fremme forsoning og samarbeide. 


Møter mellom mennesker:
En avtale mellom Seoul og Pyongyang ble undertegnet en uke etter at dr. Moons reise til Nord Korea i 1991 der han møtte Kim Il Sung.
Arbeid bak kulissene muliggjorde CNN's verdensomspennende dekning av tidligere president Carters møte i 1994 med Kim Il Sung, noe som avverget den første atomkrisen.
Turisme til Pyongyang startet 2002. Kvinner dro til Nord-Korea for å møte andre kvinner og knytte forbindelser med dem, flere familier har blitt gjenforent.

Humanitært hjelpearbeid:
Det ble gitt tidlig informasjon om katastrofal matmangel midt på 90-tallet. Etter en "factfinding-tour" til Nord-Korea i 2001, begynte kvinner i Seoul å samle inn midler fra hele verden for humanitært hjelpearbeid som skulle leveres personlig til mennesker i Nord-Korea.

Ris for fred: Som hjelp til sultende nordkoreanere og for å fremme dialogen i tid da forholdet mellom nord og sør er svært spent (etter senkingen av det sørkoreanske marinefartøyet i vår, 2010) ble prosjektet Ris for fred lansert. 1000 tonn er levert og nye 1000 tonn er i ferd med å klargjøres for utdeling til den trengende befolkningen. Risen vil gå direkte til trengende og ikke til militæret eller myndighetene. Egne biler fra Pyonghwa Motors (se nedenfor) vil frakte risen til riktige adresser.
Fra europeisk side har vi en avtale med Røde Kors i N.Korea om å donere medisinsk utstyr til et barnesykehus i Pyongyang.

-"Little Angels Children's Folk Ballet" opptrådte i Nord Korea i 1998.
-"The Pyongyang Children and Students Performing Arts Troupe" kom på gjenvisitt til Seoul i 2000, og fornyet vennskapet blant danserne.
-Nord-Sør Fredskunst festivalen i 2000 hadde utstilt malerier av kunstnere fra både Nord- og Sør-Korea.
-Vår lenge planlagte "fredsambassade" ble åpnet 5. august 2007 i Pyongyang.
-Dialog gjennom fotball: Atletico Sorocaba (med tilknytning til UF) har spilt flere vennskapskamper med det nord-koreanske landslaget. Det er planer om flere turneringer.


Internasjonale konferanser for studenter og politiske ledere har økt forståelsen for politiske, økonomiske og medmenneskelige spørsmål. Seminarer om koreansk gjenforening har blitt holdt i Kina for studenter fra Nord og Sør. Utdanningsprogrammer i Japan og Korea har bragt sammen atskilte koreanske borgere med tilknytning til henholdsvis Nord og Sør.

Koreanske eksilborgere i Japan har deltatt på gjenforeningsmøter i Korea og for å påvirke regjeringen til å gjøre mer for å få slutt på over femti år med atskillelse.

Pyunghwa bilfabrikk i Nampo
Pyongwha (freds) Motors Inc. startet i den nordkoreanske byen Nampo i 2002. Fabrikken monterer to bilmodeller og sørger dermed for sysselsetting av nordkoreanske arbeidere. Likeså mottar nå Botonggang Hotell i Pyongyang et stadig voksende antall internasjonale grupper.

Muligheter for fredspark i Nord-Korea?


"Jeg håper at dette tiltaket kan bidra til å bygge en uavhengig og fredelig bro av gjenforening mellom Nord og Sør"
Huh Hyuk-pil, Vice President, Kim Hyung-Jim Educational College, North Korea

"The Little Angles varmet våre hjerter ved sin friføring. Jeg håper at de politiske ledere i Nord og Sør også vil oppleve samme hjertevarme".
Mr. Byung-hwa Cho, Chairman, National Acadiy of the Arts, North Korea

"Vi kunne lett skape gode forhold til nordkoreanske innbyggere gjennom sang og dans. Hvis politikerene kunne arbeide for en god fritid for våre nasjoner, og sette til side personlige ambisjoner, då ville gjenforeningen mellom nord og sør komme snart"
Dr. Yoon Sang-won, South Korean visiting the North

"Jeg bestemte meg for å snakke åpent med min guide. Jeg fortalte henne om min familie, mitt arbeid og mine følelser. Gradvis begynte hun å åpne seg for meg, slik at vi til slutt ble nære venner".
Lan Young Moon, President, Women's Federation for World Peace

"Fra hele verden skulle vi fortsette arbeidet for et forent Korea. Menneskelivene som gikk tapt for å beskytte dette landet skulle ikke være tapt forgjeves".
Veteran fra Koreakrigen fra Puerto Rico, på gjenvisitt i Korea etter invitajon fra UF.



De 10 årene som er gått siden MEPIs begynnelse ble markert med en konferanse i Jerusalem 17. mai 2013
pdfLes mer

MEPI er et globalt fredsinitiativ som startet i 2003 med regelmessige arrangementer i Midtøsten. Deltakere fra hele verden har deltatt i fredsvandringer, konferanser, hjelpeprosjekter, forsoningsseremonier, møter med politikere og religiøse ledere og kulturelle og sportslige arrangementer. Flere delegasjoner fra Norge har deltatt
Les mer...

Gjennom sitt brede program og omfattende nettverk av mennesker fra alle lag av samfunnet er MEPI et unikt prosjekt for fred.                 

MEPI Prinsipper:

  1. Det finnes én Gud, det gjør menneskeheten til én familie med Gud som felles foreldre.
  2. Mennesker er mer enn materielle vesener. Våre høyeste verdier er av moralsk og åndelig natur.
  3. Ekteskap og familie er hellige institusjoner og en hjørnesten for fred.
  4. Grunnprinsippet for forsoning mellom fiender er å leve for andre.
  5. Interreligiøst samarbeid er nødvendig for fred.



Jøder, kristne og muslimer har gjennom en serie møter utforsket sin felles arv for å finne veier til forståelse, forsoning og en ny begynnelse. Samtalene har vært på alle nivåer, fra "grasrotnivå" til dialoger mellom politiske og religiøse ledere.

Religiøse ledere har deltatt i felles pilegrimsreiser, besøkt hverandres hellige steder, studert hellige skrifter sammen, bedt sammen og deltatt i fredsvandringer.

Personlig kontakt:
I fredsbro-serionier har mennesker fra ulike bakgrunner møtt hverandre i en ånd av tilgivelse og forsoning. Tidligere "fiender" har møttes som venner.
Mange deltakere har besøkt familier og individer for å lytte til deres bekymringer og forstå deres livssituasjon.

Kulturell utveksling:
Musikere har knyttet sammen kristne, jødiske og arabiske tradisjoner på nye måter. Musikeren Yair Dalal som sang ved Nobels Fredpris-utdeling i Oslo i 1994 har med sin musikk bidratt til fred på flere MEPI-arrangementer.



Hjelpe prosjekter:
I Gaza og Beth Shiesh ble 400 unge mennesker gitt data-opplæring og PCer ble donert. Israelsk og palestinsk ungdom fikk gjennom dette mulighet til å kommunisere med hverandre.

Flere interreligiøse fredsvandringer er gjennomført både i øst- og vest Jerusalem. Etter bombingen av Radisson Hotel i Amman (Jordan), organiserte UF en internasjonal vandring fra kondolanseveggen ved hotellet til Hyatt Hotell for å vise sin støtte til Jordans befolkning. Al Jazeera dekket deler av arrangementet.
Immamene i Al Aksa-moskeen åpnet flere ganger moskeen for hele gruppen, i takknemlighet for initiativet.

"Play Soccer Make Peace"
organiserte 16 fotballag blant ungdommer i Gaza og gjorde det mulig for mennesker fra forskjellige deler av Gaza å delta i en fotballturnering. I Israel spilte jødiske og arabisk ungdomslag om en fredscup i en vennskapelig atmosfære.


Uttalelser om MEPI:

"Dere har gitt håp til mennesker som altfor lenge har opplevd desperasjon".
Naila Kharroub, Rektor DarAl-Kalima Videregående Skole l, Bethlehi

"Dere er velkomne, velkomne, velkomne"
Yassir Arafat

"Dere driver et hellig arbeid. Dere gir oss så mye håp ved å komme hit i disse vanskelige tider."
Yona Yahov, Borgermester i Haifa

"Jeg føler at dette initiativet vil ha stor betydning i å endre oppfatningen og rollen til religionene"
Rabbi Itzhak Bar-Dea, Ramat Gan, Israel

"Når mennesker fortsetter å komme fra alle religioner og alle nasjoner så gir det oss styrke til å overvinne alle barrierer. Vi føler at verden støtter oss i våre anstrengelser for å få slutt på vold og fremme dialog og forståelse"
Sheikh Aziz Bukhari, Jerusalem

"Ambassadører for fred snakker ikke bare fred, vi arbeider for fred, vi gjør fred".
Abouna Hatoum, Melkite Catholic priest, Nazareth

Middle East peace initiative - MEPI

Middle East peace initiative
MEPI er et globalt fredsinitiativ som startet i 2002 med regelmessige arrangementer i Midtøsten. Deltakere fra hele verden har deltatt i fredsvandringer, konferanser, hjelpeprosjekter, forsoningsseremonier, møter med politikere og religiøse ledere og kulturelle og sportslige arrangementer.

Gjennom sitt brede program og omfattende nettverk av mennesker fra alle lag av samfunnet er MEPI et unikt prosjekt for fred.

MEPI Prinsipper:

  1. Det finnes én Gud, det gjør menneskeheten til én familie med Gud som felles foreldre.
  2. Mennesker er mer enn materielle vesener. Våre høyeste verdier er av moralsk og åndelig natur.
  3. Ekteskap og familie er hellige institusjoner og en hjørnesten for fred.
  4. Grunnprinsippet for forsoning mellom fiender er å leve for andre.
  5. Interreligiøst samarbeid er nødvendig for fred.


Jøder, kristne og muslimer har gjennom en serie møter utforsket sin felles arv for å finne veier til forståelse, forsoning og en ny begynnelse. Samtalene har vært på alle nivåer, fra "grasrotnivå" til dialoger mellom politiske og religiøse ledere.

Religiøse ledere har deltatt i felles pilegrimsreiser, besøkt hverandres hellige steder, studert hellige skrifter sammen, bedt sammen og deltatt i fredsvandringer.

Personlig kontakt:
I fredsbro-serionier har mennesker fra ulike bakgrunner møtt hverandre i en ånd av tilgivelse og forsoning. Tidligere "fiender" har møttes som venner.
Mange deltakere har besøkt familier og individer for å lytte til deres bekymringer og forstå deres livssituasjon.

Kulturell utveksling:
Musikere har knyttet sammen kristne, jødiske og arabiske tradisjoner på nye måter. Musikeren Yair Dalal som sang ved Nobels Fredpris-utdeling i Oslo i 1994 har med sin musikk bidratt til fred på flere MEPI-arrangementer.


Hjelpe prosjekter:
I Gaza og Beth Shiesh ble 400 unge mennesker gitt data-opplæring og tilsvarende antall PCer ble donert. Israelsk og palestinsk ungdom fikk gjennom dette mulighet til å kommunisere med hverandre.

Et fredsakademi er i utvikling i Jordan for å utdanne mennesker som vil arbeide for fred.

Flere interreligiøse fredsvandringer er gjennomført både i øst- og vest Jerusalem. Etter bombingen av Radisson Hotel i Amman (Jordan), organiserte UF en internasjonal vandring fra kondolanseveggen ved hotellet til Hyatt Hotell for å vise sin støtte til Jordans befolkning. Al Jazeera dekket deler av arrangementet.
Immamene i Al Aksa-moskeen åpnet flere ganger moskeen for hele gruppen, i takknemlighet for initiativet.

"Voices of Peace":
"Voices of Peace" er en internett-basert TV kanal som formidler budskap om fred og forsoning fra moderate stemmer fra hele regionen.
Se og

"Play Soccer Make Peace" organiserte 16 fotballag blant ungdommer i Gaza og gjorde det mulig for mennesker fra forskjellige deler av Gaza å delta i en fotballturnering. I Israel spilte jødiske og arabiske ungdomslag om en Freds Cup i en atmosfære av kjærlighet og vennskap.

Hva sier folk?

"Dere har gitt håp til mennesker som altfor lenge har opplevd desperasjon".
Naila Kharroub, Rektor DarAl-Kalima Videregående Skole l, Bethlehem

"Dere er velkomne, velkomne, velkomne"
Yassir Arafat

"Dere driver et hellig arbeid. Dere gir oss så mye håp ved å komme hit i disse vanskelige tider."
Yona Yahov, Borgermester i Haifa

"Jeg føler at dette initiativet vil ha stor betydning i å endre oppfatningen og rollen til religionene"
Rabbi Itzhak Bar-Dea, Ramat Gan, Israel

"Når fredsambassadører fortsetter å komme fra alle religioner og alle nasjoner så gir det oss styrke til å overvinne alle barrierer. Vi føler at verden støtter oss i våre anstrengelser for å få slutt på vold og fremme dialog og forståelse"
Sheikh Aziz Bukhari, Jerusalem

"Ambassadører for fred snakker ikke bare fred, vi arbeider for fred, vi gjør fred".
Abouna Hatoum, Melkite Catholic priest, Nazareth

er et globalt nettverk av ledere fra varierte bakgrunner og sektorer i samfunnet. Fredsambassadørene bygger på felles verdier og er aktive for å fremme forsoning, overvinne barrierer og bygge fred.

Fem universelle prinsipper for fred

  1. Troen på en Gud som Skaper og Foreldre for hele menneskeheten.
    Den beste veien vi kan følge for å heve oss over trangen til selviskhet er å anerkjenne vår felles menneskelighet, gitt oss av vår skaper. På samme måten som foreldre kan hjelpe i konflikter mellom søsken, så er det foreldrehjertet, med sin opprinnelse i Gud, som kan hjelpe oss å løse konflikter mellom verdens nasjoner, kulturer og religioner.
  2. Mennesket er primært et et åndelig vesen
    Mennesket lengter etter sannhet, skjønnhet og godhet. Livets dypeste mening og innhold kan finnes gjennom å strebe etter disse essensielle, men likevel usynlige verdiene. Hvert menneske har en evig ånd som går utover det fysiske livet. Åndelige prinsipper er ment å praktiseres i dette livet slik at vi er forberedt for den evige verden.
  3. Familien er en skole i kjærlighet og en hjørnesten for verdensfred
    Familien er hjørnestenen for fred og grunnlaget for vår karakter og kultur. I familien erfarer man kjærlighet og gjensidig avhengighet og man lærer de mest grunnleggende personlige og sosiale dyder. Konseptet om familien som som en skole i kjærlighet gjør familien til den mest essensielle menneskelige institusjon. Grunnlaget for en sunn familie er et trofast, hengivent ekteskap.
  4. Den høyeste standard i menneskelige forhold er å leve for andre
    Å praktisere prinsippet "å leve for andre" gjør oss mer oppatt av andre enn oss selv. Essensen av en god karakter er sann kjærlighet, uttrykt gjennom uselviske handlinger. Å leve for andre er et felles prinsipp i verdens religioner. Vi mener den beste praksis for å skape fred er å følge prinsippet om å leve for andre.
  5. Interreligiøst og internasjonalt samarbeid er nødvendig for verdensfred
    Varig fred kan ikke oppnås gjennom politiske vedtak alene, men krever at man berører de dypeste årsakene til konfliktene. Å overvinne rasemessige, religiøse, og etniske barrierer er en nødvendighet i vår tid. Tro kan gi mennesker kraft til å tilgi og det kan fremme kjærlighet til å overvinne hat, bitterhet og vold.

En fredsambassadørs rolle

En fredsambassdør er en del av et globalt nettverk og bidrar til å skape fred og forsoning og til å bygge ned barrierene som splitter mennesker.

Teksten på Fredsambassadør-diplomet beskriver idéen med en Fredsambassadør:
"Universelt Fredsforbund anerkjenner som Fredsambassadør de mennesker som utmerker seg ved å leve for andre, og som med hengivenhet fremmer universelle moralske verdier, et godt familieliv, interreligiøst samarbeid, internasjonal harmoni, fornying av FN, et ansvarlig media og opprettelsen av en fredskultur. Ved å overvinne rasemessige, nasjonale og religiøse barrierer vil en Fredsambassadør bidra til oppfyllelsen av alle menneskers håp; en forent verden i fred, hvor både den åndelige og materielle dimensjon er forent."

Å bli en fredsambassadør

Tittelen "Fredsambassadør" kan gis til mennesker som har bidratt til fred og forsoning og som tror på prinsippet om å leve for andre. Helt uavhengig av religion, kultur, nasjonalitet kan man motta tittelen Fredsambassadør.

Universelt Fredsforbund legger vekt på å anerkjenne menneskets åndelige natur og behov. Verdens religiøse og åndelige ledere blir derfor sett på som verdifulle og nødvendige medspillere som må inkluderes i det globale fredsskapende arbeid, i samarbeid med politiske representanter og frivillige organisasjoner. Utnevnelsen til fredsambassadør, krever ingen forandring i ens religiøse tro. Alle religiøse tradisjoner blir respektert. Universelt Fredsforbund anerkjenner ellers den innsatsen som blir gjort av samvittighetsfulle mennesker på ulike områder. Det er ikke nødvendig å være troende. Vi oppmuntrer alle til å støtte fredens sak. 

Ønsker du å bli en fredsambassadør?

Fredsambassadør Du kan søke om å bli en fredambassadør ved å:
  1. Fylle ut et søknadsskjema:
  2. Legge ved en kort biografi, CV.
  3. Legg ved en anbefaling av en representant for Universelt Fredsforbund.

Utnevnelsen til fredsambassadør, forutsetter at man er generelt enig i Universelt Fredsforbunds visjon og "prinsipper for fred". 00:17:47


 Som Fredsambassadør får du:

  • Nyhetsbrev og informasjon per e-post.
  • Invitasjoner til å delta på seminarer, konferanser og andre begivenheter i regi av UF.
  • Blir del av et nettverk av fredsskapere både i Norge og internasjonalt.

Universelt fredsforbund UF

NGO med spesiell rådgivende status hos FNs Økonomiske og Sosiale Råd, ECOSOC

Du finner mer detaljert informasjon og internasjonale rapporter på:

Norsk kontor
Colbjørnsensgate 8c
0256 Oslo
Tel: 22 55 39 75 Fax: 63 90 92 99
Denne e-postadressen er beskyttet mot programmer som samler e-postadresser. Du må aktivere javaskript for å kunne se den.


Registrer din epost adresse for å abonnere på vårt nyhtesbrev

Universelt Fredsforbund
er norsk avdeling av Universal Peace Federation, UPF, som ble stiftet av dr. Sun Myung Moon 12. september 2005 i New York. Forbundet arbeider nært til FN, som en NGO med rådgivende status ved ECOSOC.

Formålet er å arbeide for en global fredskultur som omfatter alle nasjonaliteter, religioner, raser og kulturer, i tråd med FNs resolusjon 53/243


Koreas plass i internasjonal kulturverden





Ny dokumentar fra SBS (tidligere Seoul Broadcasting Stystem) om Koreas voksende rolle på det kulturelle området. Dansegruppen Little Angels, som besøkte Norge som takk for vår hjelp under Koreakrigen er også presentert. 

Dokumentar om Sun Myung Moons innsats for fred i Korea og verden



      Ved ettårs markeringen av Sun Myung Moons bortgang produserte det koreanske TV selskapet MBC denne dokumentaren om hans innsats for fred mellom de to koreanske statene og fred i verden.
MBC er det eldste kommersielle TV selskapet i Sør-Korea og i dag blant de fire nasjonale selskapene.

Universelt Fredsforbund bygger på:

.menneskeheten er én familie skapt av Gud

..menneskets høyeste verdier er åndelige og moralske

..familien er en skole i kjærlighet og grunnlag for fred

..beste vei til fred er å leve for andre

.. fred kommer gjennom samarbeid på tvers av kultur, religion og nasjonalitet

Dr. Moons filosofi for fred:

Hva er fred: "Fred er når to partner blir ett med hverandre"

Hvordan skape fred: "Utgangspunktet for lykke og fred, ligger i å leve for andre"

Universets akse: " Ingenting er mer betydningsfullt enn forholdet foreldre-barn. Det er fordi det representerer det grunnleggende forholdet mellom Gud og mennesket."

En verden i fred: "Himmelen er en verden fyllt av sann kjærlighet, hvor alle puster sann kjærlighet overalt og til alle tider. Hele verden og alle mennesker er knyttet sammen i et usynlig forhold til Gud, som cellene i vårt legeme"

En universell familie: "Idealene frihet, fred, enhet og lykke, gjelder ikke bare for et individ, men det gjelder for alle mennesker i denne verden, som én familie under Gud"

Åndelig modenhet: "Bare gjennom et liv i sann kjærlighet kan din ånd modnes"

Om sann kjærlighet: "Kjernen i sann kjærlighet er å gi og leve for andre og for helhetens skyld. I sann kjærlighet kan vi være sammen for all evighet og hele tiden oppleve større glede i hverandres selskap. Kraften fra sann kjærlighet er sterk nok til å fjerne menneskeskapte barrierer. Ingenting kan sammenlignes med verdien av sann kjærlighet. "

Om lykke: "Lykke skapes ikke i isolasjon, men i et gjensidig forhold av kjærlighet."

En god verden: "Det er ikke bare som individer, men som familier, at vi må bygge en god verden."

Personlig vei: "Ditt ytre selv og indre selv er i stadig konflikt. Det er ditt ansvar som menneske å følge ditt indre selv; din samvittighet"


Et menneske har ikke begynt å leve før han kan gå forbi sine snevre individualistiske begrensninger til å være opptatt av hele menneskeheten.
Martin Luther King jr.

Du må være den forandringen du ønsker å se i verden
Mahatma Gandhi

Husker du hvordan elektriske strømmer og "usynlige bølger" ble latterligjort? Kunnskapen om mennesket er fortsatt i sin barndom.
Albert Einstein

Det blir ikke fred mellom sivilisasjonene uten at det blir fred mellom religionene.
Hans Küng

Salige er de fredsommelige, for de skal kalles Guds barn

Det første vi bør gjøre er å søke Gudsriket inne i oss selv. Deri består vår fred. Så snart vi har funnet freden, har vi funnet vår støtte og vi har funnet oss selv.
Inayat Khan (sufi-mester)

De som slår deg med nevene, ikke svar med samme mynt. Gå til deres hjem og kyss deres føtter
Sikhismen - Adi Grant

I påminnelsen av Gud, finner hjerter tilfredsstillelse
Islam - Koranen 13.28

Gud er fred, Hans navn er fred og alt er bundet sammen i fred
Jødedom-Zohar, Leviticus 10b

Ved hans nåde vil du finne opphøyet fred
Hinduisme - Bhagavad Gita 18.61-62

Det er bedre å tenne et lys enn å forbanne mørket

...den som råder til fred får glede
Salomos ordspråk, 12,20

Hvis du vil inngå fred med din fiende, må arbeide sammen med din fiende. Da blir han din partner
Nelson Mandela

Den som lever i harmoni med seg selv lever i harmoni med verden
Markus Aurelius

Veien er ikke i himmelen, den er i vårt hjerte

For å lære toleranse, er vår fiende den beste lærer
Dalai Lama

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