Nepal: The Nepal Family Party (Nepal Parivar [Pariwar] Dal, NPD), including leadership, membership, objectives, political platform, and activities; requirements and procedures to become a member of the party, including documents issued to members (2017-November 2018) [NPL106196.E]

Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ottawa

1. Overview

According to sources, the NPD was founded in 2008 (Nepali TimesApr. 2016) or was first seen in the "political spectrum" in 2008 (Nepalnews.com 25 Apr. 2008). In correspondence with the Research Directorate, a lecturer at Edinburgh Napier University who has conducted research on political change in Nepal [1] indicated that the NPD is a "relatively new" party (Lecturer 9 Nov. 2018). Without providing further details, sources describe the NPD as a "small" political party in Nepal (Lecturer 9 Nov. 2018; Professor 9 Nov. 2018; República 17 Feb. 2018). República , a Nepalese newspaper, also describes the NPD as a "fringe" party (República 14 Jan. 2017).

According to the Political Handbook of the World 2016-2017, the NPD was founded "on the vision of Nepal as a single family" and is a "utopian socialist party" (Political Handbook of the World2017, 1077). In correspondence with the Research Directorate, the director of an independent consultancy group who has worked in Nepal for more than 40 years, including as a researcher and as a journalist, indicated, based on Nepali media articles, that the NPD's slogan is "'nation and people first'," and that the NPD "may be seen as a 'traditionalist' party emphasizing what is considered … [the] 'basics' of Nepali society, including family values and national unity" (Director 9 Nov. 2018).

2. Leadership

According to sources, Eknath [Ek Nath] Dhakal is the NPD leader (Political Handbook of the World2017, 1077; Associate Professor 16 Nov. 2018) or its chairman (The Himalayan Times28 Dec. 2016; The Kathmandu Post26 Feb. 2014; República 17 Feb. 2018). Sources report that Eknath Dhakal was appointed "Minister for Peace and Reconstruction" in 2015 (The Katmandu Post26 Dec. 2015; República 17 Feb. 2018) and served in this capacity until 2016 (República 17 Feb. 2018). In an interview with República , Eknath Dhakal also said that he served as "Minister for Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation" in 2011 and 2012 (República 17 Feb. 2018). Sources report that he is a member of the Constituent Assembly of Nepal (UPF 21 Feb. 2015; Nepal [as captured on 2 Mar. 2012]) for the NPD in the district of Gorkha, and that he belongs to the Constitutional Committee, the Judicial System Committee, the Legislative Committee, the Security Special Committee and the Parliamentary Hearing Special Committee (Nepal [as captured on 2 Mar. 2012]). In a 2016 interview with the Nepali Times, an English-language newspaper based in Nepal, Eknath Dhakal said that he is Hindu and that he is "associated with the Unification Movement," a South Korean movement [2] (Nepali TimesApr. 2016).

On its blog, which was last updated in 2013, the NPD also mentions Binod Dangi as the NPD "leader" (NPD 6 Oct. 2013). Both the 2008 and the 2009 editions of the CIA's World Factbookmention that Binod Dangi is the leader of the NPD (US 21 Oct. 2008; US 1 Oct. 2009). However, the same source indicates, in its 2010 version, that the leader of the NPD is Eknath Dhakal (US 3 Aug. 2010). Similarly, the Political Handbook of the World 2010states that the NPD is "represented by" Eknath Dhakal (Political Handbook of the World 2010, 1039). In correspondence with the Research Directorate, a professor of Nepali studies at SOAS University of London stated that "[w]eb research suggests that … Binod Dangi appears to have some links with South Korea and the Unification Church" (Professor 9 Nov. 2018). Corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

3. Objectives and Political Platform

Information on the NPD's objectives and political platform was scarce among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

In his 2016 interview with the Nepali Times, Eknath Dhakal said that the NPD is "kind of a conservative party with a manifesto that promotes values, interfaith dialogue and harmony" and that the party's "core view is to honour the institution of marriage" (Nepali TimesApr. 2016). In his interview with República , Eknath Dhakal stated that his party aims "'to contribute toward nation building through socio-economic development'" (República 17 Feb. 2018). He further stated that the NPD advocates "'for value system in politics [and] believe[s] that healthy family lays the foundation for nation building and lasting peace'" (República 17 Feb. 2018).

In correspondence with the Research Directorate, an associate professor at the University of British Columbia, who is also engaged in post-conflict and post-disaster research projects in Nepal, provided the following information:

Purportedly the name "Nepal Family Party" alludes to what Dhakal calls "traditional family values", in other words, the international UPF [Universal Peace Federation] platform for marriage between men and women through orchestrated mass weddings, which excludes LGBT and other forms of non-traditional relationships. In Nepal, this agenda also resonates politically with the ultra-nationalist desire to maintain citizenship rights on the basis of descent through the father only ... The term "Pariwar" in a political party name in the South Asian context has obvious resonance with [the] "Sangh Pariwar" family of Hindu nationalist organizations based in India, but which also has affiliates in Nepal. (Associate Professor 16 Nov. 2018)

4. Activities

According to sources, the NPD won one seat in the Constituent Assembly elections of 2008 (Political Handbook of the World2017, 1077; Nepalnews.com 25 Apr. 2008). According to a 2014 report on Nepal prepared by the Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF) [3], the NPD received 23,512 votes (0.22 percent) in the Constituent Assembly elections of 2008; therefore the party obtained a "representation" of 0.30 percent and won 1 "proportional" seat (VIP July 2014, 50).

Sources indicate that the NPD won two seats in the Constituent Assembly of Nepal elections in 2013 (Political Handbook of the World2017, 1077; República 3 Dec. 2013; VIF July 2014, 84). According to the VIF, the NPD had 180 candidates during the Constituent Assembly elections of 2013, none of which were directly elected (VIF July 2014, 81). The same source reports that the party received 51,823 votes out of 9,563,862votes during the Constituent Assembly elections of 2013 (VIF July 2014, 84).

In 2017, República reported that the NPD had two seats in Parliament (República 13 Mar. 2017). Similarly, a June 2017 article published by the Nepali news portal Online Khabar refers to "two [NPD] lawmakers" (Online Khabar 5 June 2017).

In 2017, theHimalayan Times, a Nepalese English-language newspaper, indicated that the NPD was part of a "nine party-alliance led by the main opposition [Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML)] [4]" (The Himalayan Times27 Apr. 2017). Similarly, in a 2017 article, República indicates that the NPD is part of the "UML-led leftist alliance" (República 21 Nov. 2017). In his interview with República , Eknath Dhakal provided the following information about his party:

"We worked together both with left-wing and right-wing parties in the past. ... Our electoral alliance with CPN-UML was for the sake of nation, development, constitution implementation, peace and democracy. Our party decided to join [the] left alliance because it has [a] clear agenda for [the] economic transformation of the country. We must give them a chance. Democracy without economic prosperity of the general public becomes the source of great illusion. I have all good wishes for the left alliance but we have not thought about merging with CPN-UML at the moment." (República 17 Feb. 2018)

Eknath Dhakal added that his party will form a "'political alliance with the likeminded bigger parties in accordance with the Political Parties Act … [but will also] strengthen and consolidate [its] base across the country'" (República 17 Feb. 2018).

5. Membership and Documents Issued

Information on NPD membership, as well as on the procedures and requirements to become a member, could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

The Professor said, based on Internet research, that the NPD "has had a local base in Baglung district" [which is part of Gandaki Pradesh, a federal province in Nepal] (Professor 9 Nov. 2018). On their blog, the NPD published a message saying that it "appeals to all voters of Baglung district to please vote for the candidates of 2nd constituent assembly election, Ganga Devi Chapagain from Baglung-1, Nil Prasad Acharya from Baglund-2 and Kaladhar Sharma from Baglung-3" (NPD 6 Oct. 2013).

According to sources, the NPD's election symbol is a key (Director 9 Nov. 2018; NPD 6 Oct. 2013). The Director of the consultancy group indicated that the NPD's logo shows "what could be interpreted as two parents and their children in schematic form" (Director 9 Nov. 2018). Samples of the party's logo, with the party's symbol (the key), provided on the NPD's blog, are combined in a document attached to this Response.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

Notes

[1] The Lecturer said that he did not have the occasion to research the NPD in depth (Lecturer 9 Nov. 2018).

[2] According to the Nepali Timesarticle, the South Korea's Unification Church was founded by Sun Myung Moon in 1954, and it is "derived from Christianity" but "has its own interpretation of the Bible" (Nepali TimesApr. 2016). It believes that "Jesus should have married and [that] monogamy is the strict rule" (Nepali TimesApr. 2016).

[3] The Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF) is an India-based non-partisan institution that conducts research, including on national and international issues (VIF n.d.). B. C. Upreti, the author of the 2014 report on Nepal, is the former director of the South Asia Studies Centre of the University of Rajasthan, Jaipur (VIF July 2014, 3). He focuses his research on Nepal and Bhutan (VIF July 2014, 3).

[4] According to the US CIA's World Factbook, the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) has 27 seats at the National Assembly and 121 seats at the House of Representatives (US 29 Oct. 2018). The elections for the House of Representatives were held on 26 November and 7 December 2017 and elections for the National Assembly were held on 7 February 2018 (US 29 Oct. 2018).

References

Associate Professor, University of British Columbia. 16 November 2018. Correspondence with the Research Directorate.

Director, consultancy group. 9 November 2018. Correspondence with the Research Directorate.

The Himalayan Times. 27 April 2017. Rastriya Samachar Samiti. "UML Led Nine Party-Alliance to Foil Constitution Amendment Bill ." [Accessed 5 Nov. 2018]

The Himalayan Times.28 December 2016. "House Obstruction Continues Despite Prolonged Parleys ." [Accessed 19 Nov. 2018]

The Kathmandu Post. 26 December 2015. "Oli Creates New Ministries ." [Accessed 6 Nov. 2018]

The Kathmandu Post. 26 February 2014. "Fringe Parties Demand Representation in the Cabinet ." [Accessed 5 Nov. 2018]

Lecturer, Edinburgh Napier University. 9 November 2018. Correspondence with the Research Directorate.

Nepal. [As captured on 2 March 2012]. Constituent Assembly (CA). "CA Member Details ." [Accessed 6 Nov. 2018]

Nepali Times. April 2016. Seulki Lee. "Korean Movement Gains Political Foothold in Nepal ." [Accessed 13 Nov. 2018]

Nepalnews.com. 25 April 2008 [as captured on 4 July 2008]. "EC Declares PR Results; Maoists Bag 100 Seats, NC 73 and UML 70 ." [Accessed 6 Nov. 2018]

Nepal Pariwar Dal (NPD). 6 October 2013. "History of Nepal Pariwar Dal ." [Accessed 13 Nov. 2018]

Online Khabar. 5 June 2017. "Nepal Pariwar Dal Decides to Stay in Opposition ." [Accessed 13 Nov. 2018]

Political Handbook of the World 2016-2017. 2017. "Nepal." Edited by Thomas Lansford. Washington, DC: CQ Press. [Accessed 5 Nov. 2018]

Political Handbook of the World 2010. 2010. "Nepal." Edited by William Banks. Washington, DC: CQ.

Professor, SOAS University of London. 9 November 2018. Correspondence with the Research Directorate.

República . 17 February 2018. "Role of Smaller Parties May Change But They Won't Become Irrelevant." (Factiva) [Accessed 6 Nov. 2018]

República . 21 November 2017. Kosh Raj Koirala. "Congress, Madhes Parties Under Urge to Seek Poll Alliance to Take on Left." (Factiva) [Accessed 13 Nov. 2018]

República . 13 March 2017. "Ruling Parties Turning to 'Fence-Sitters' for Way Out." (Factiva) [Accessed 13 Nov. 2018]

República . 14 January 2017. Kosh Raj Koirala. "PM Expanding Cabinet to Secure Two-Thirds Votes for Amendment." (Factiva) [Accessed 13 Nov. 2018]

República . 3 December 2013 [as captured on 3 Dec. 2013]. Gani Ansari. "EC Allocates PR Seats; 30 Parties in New CA ." [Accessed 13 Nov. 2018]

United States (US). 29 October 2018. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). "Nepal." The World Factbook. [Accessed 6 Nov. 2018]

United States (US). 3 August 2010. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). "Nepal." The World Factbook. [Accessed 20 Nov. 2018]

United States (US). 1 October 2009. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). "Nepal." The World Factbook. [Accessed 20 Nov. 2018]

United States (US). 21 October 2008. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). "Nepal." The World Factbook. [Accessed 20 Nov. 2018]

Universal Peace Federation (UPF). 21 February 2015. Robert Kittel. "70,000 in Nepal Affirm Marriage and Family ." [Accessed 6 Nov. 2018]

Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF). July 2014. Nepal. The Framing of a New Constitution: History, Issues and Challenges . By B.C. Upreti. [Accessed 13 Nov. 2018]

Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF). N.d. "Vision & Mission ." [Accessed 13 Nov. 2018]

Additional Sources Consulted

Oral sources:associate professor who provided expert witness testimony on asylum cases for Nepali in the US; Kathmandu University – Directorate of Research, Development and Consultancy; Nepal Family Party; professor of social anthropology who carried out fieldwork in Nepal and whose interests include politics; psychologist who maintains ties to Nepal and is aware of the current political situation; República ; social anthropologist who specializes on politics in Nepal.

Internet sites, including: ecoi.net; Jane's; Nepal Research; Political Settlements Research Programme; UN – Refworld, Reliefweb; US – Department of State.

Attachment

Nepal Pariwar Dal (NPD). [2013]. "Nepal Family Party ." [Accessed 13 Nov. 2018]