Updated: May 20, 2016 7:09:25 pm
As political stability and economic growth – the two key objectives of the 2006 agenda for change – continue to elude Nepal, the government appears less and less tolerant of outsiders.
Three weeks ago, it cancelled the work visa of a Canadian youth without any warning, on the ground that his tweets supporting the agitation in Madhesh violated the visa conditions. Last week, it arrested and handed over two British tourists to their embassy in Kathmandu after they participated in a protest rally called by 30-party federal alliance including the Madhesi Front.
The two incidents are unusual in a country traditionally known for being hospitable to the guests from near and far. But it comes in the wake of an angry response by the government towards certain diplomats for their ‘meddling’ in Nepal’s internal affairs.
Last year, British Ambassador Andrew Sparkes was reprimanded –and he ultimately resigned the post and from the foreign service–after he began to lobby openly for inclusion of the right to ‘conversion’ as fundamental right in the constitution. In November, UN Resident Coordinator Jamie McGoldrick was asked to pack his bags after his comments in the media about the government’s slackness in letting relief pour in from abroad in the aftermath of the April earthquake.
He complied, but the government seems to be so angry with the UN that it required a high level UN intervention to approve the agreement for his successor, Valerie Julliand. The UN and other diplomatic missions and donor agencies have at times played the role of activists or catalyst role in Nepal politics, but whether the government is justified in the delay in welcoming the new resident commissioner is something that the government has not addressed publicly.
This latest method of expressing its displeasure is also being seen as a message that the government may take a tough line on some donor agencies and NGOs in future.
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