Human Rights Norms vs. the Peace Process: The Agenda of Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Nepal’s Peace Process

By Anil Sigdel.

Published by The International Journal of Civic, Political, and Community Studies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: May 7, 2014 $US5.00

According to constructivist theorists, international norms have succeeded in becoming something more than just ethics and moral values or secondary elements to actors’ interests. However, constructivists still have to broaden the research on how norms independently project their power over domestic actors who are trying to reconcile their violent past with a peaceful co-existence. To find the answer, the case study of Nepal's peace process in relation to the norms of human rights and humanitarian law has been studied using the issue of the formation of Truth and Reconciliation Commission. This study introduces the recent debate over granting general amnesty to those who were involved in human rights violations during the Maoist insurgency versus finding the truth and bringing violators to justice. The research shows a striking fact: the debate is dominated by opposing understandings, that is, norms versus interests. The hypotheses about the post-conflict transition are tested positive and they are: actors comply with norms only up to the extent to which their own existence is not jeopardized; actors who were involved in war tend to think strategically because of their concern about survival, hence disregard for norms; norms compliance is contingent upon the strength of norms promoters’ action. The study has shed further light on the norms vs. interests debate in the discipline of international relations, and has implications for the peacemakers’ approach in conflict resolution.

Keywords: Human Rights, Norms and Interests, Conflict and Peace, Truth and Reconciliation Commission

The International Journal of Civic, Political, and Community Studies, Volume 11, Issue 3, May 2014, pp.1-13. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: May 7, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 543.649KB)).

Anil Sigdel

Ph.D Candidate, Institute of Political Science, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria

Anil Sigdel is a doctorate candidate at the Institute of Political Science, University of Vienna. He was a merit scholar under the Spanish Agency of International Cooperation at the Diplomatic School of Madrid where he achieved his master degree in International Studies.Anil has published several research-based articles in relation to international relations. His research interests include the theories of international relations, human rights and conflicts as well as the geo-politics of South Asia.