In 2006, a peace accord ended a civil war and Nepal began a new era as a secular, democratic republic. After eight years of political negotiation, over two weeks ago, Nepal announced its new constitution. It is alandmark document, a boon for South Asian democracy and pluralism, with provisions aimed at protecting minorities, including LGBT and Dalit communities.
Like the initially unamended constitutions of many nations around the world, however, it has flaws. For a significant number of Nepalis, the foremost among these is its failure to adequately safeguard the rights and representation of women, indigenous communities like the Tharus, and important Terai communities like the Madhesis. Dissatisfaction with the constitution resulted in widespread protests, some of which involved violence by police and protesters, resulting in over 40 deaths.
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