The lawmakers tasked with it also bear the weight of the responsibility of the country’s direction on their shoulders. However, coming to agreement on the words that govern is another issue and one that has delayed Nepal’s constitution for almost a decade.
Nepal’s Constituent Assembly tabled the final draft of a new constitution almost three weeks ago amid protests on the streets. The strikes are also having an adverse effect on children. So far, the strikes have forced schools to shut down for about 50 of 220 school days. When schools are closed, that hits roughly 3.2 million children and affects 20,000 schools and colleges.
An Asian Access partner (name withheld for security reasons) says, [SIC] “They are striking and demonstrating on the street. All the Southern part of Nepal is totally closed down. No movement is going on; and the burning and killing to each other: that’s what’s happening.”
Add to that the struggle to recover from the April earthquake, and it becomes essential that the constitution moves forward so the country can right itself.
In short, Nepal is in the final stages of carving the country of 28 million people into 7 federal provinces. Hindu nationalists also pushed to develop the country into a religious state. That was met by protests from the minority religions who support secularism. The unnamed A2 partner explains, [SIC] “Under the secular constitution, all religion will be treated equally, and there will be more freedom for all the minority religious groups.”
A2 partners have provided input for the draft, too. Christians prayed for wisdom and boldness. Then, [SIC] ”The day before yesterday, what happened was the government and the political leaders decided to give the secularism,” says their partner. It’s an answer to prayer, but it’s not a done deal. If there is one thing that characterizes Nepal’s constitution draft, it’s waffling. The legislature has gone back and forth between those favoring a secular government and those seeking a Hindu nationalist state.
Two weeks from today, the Constituent Assembly will vote on the final draft. It needs a two-thirds majority vote to pass. If it passes, the Speaker of the Assembly will sign the new constitution which will be presented to the country in an official ceremony led by the President of Nepal.
In the interim, A2 leaders are asking you to pray [SIC] “so that the government will put this secular constitution into the practice, because still the churches in Nepal, not legally recognized.”
Christians sounded the alarm on an earlier draft that included anti-conversion language. If it passed as written, regular Christian activities–such as holding church services accessible to all, or even simply organizing events to aid the disadvantaged–could be interpreted as “evangelistic” and therefore punishable by law. To that end, it would affect A2 programs because [SIC] “Asian Access is developing leaders and encouraging them to multiply God's kingdom and make more disciples.”
Because the program unifies church leadership throughout the country, it influences the country as the Gospel takes root. Keeping freedom alive is essential because, says this partner, “The growth of the church taking place, I think it’s one of the fastest-growing church in Asia.” (Click here if you’d like to come alongside Asian Access with a Family Rebuilding Package.)
Listen to the broadcast (story starts at 0:14)
- Originally published on Mission Network News
- Download audio file: http://www.asianaccess.org/mnn/4-5min-Sep10-2015.mp3
- Photo credits: First two images courtesy Asian Access; photo of reflective man courtesy Leland Francisco via Flickr.