Nepal on the move: Conflict, migration and stability
Migration within Nepal, to India and to join the British army have been practiced for generations. However, flows of migration have intensified during the decade of armed conflict. Migrant destinations such as the Gulf countries, Europe, North America, Southeast Asia and Australia have attracted an increasing number of young Nepalis in search of work and education. These changing patterns of migration have led to diverse forms of multi-locality. We seek to understand how these mobility processes challenge and stimulate the current nation-building project. We address the implications of mobility for designing in a new constitution binding notions of citizenship and civil rights that have traditionally been linked to place of birth or registered place of residence. Bearing in mind that a large and increasing proportion of the population is residing outside Nepal, it is of utmost importance for democracy in Nepal to adequately address these issues. Scrutinizing how migration and political involvement are intertwined in the post-conflict nation-building for people involved, the project aims at breaking new ground methodologically and analytically in migration and conflict studies. We also engage in knowledge-sharing workshops with relevant stakeholders to encourage dialogue on the political importance of migration in relation to the political processes within Nepal.
Project completion report:
The project has contributed substantial new knowledge on a range of migration patterns and practices and their societal implications for the development of Nepalese society. This pertains to both internal migration in Nepal, Nepal’s governance of migration to e.g. the Gulf, rural-urban multi-local mobility patterns, educational migration to Denmark, gendered migration, and military migration in relation to the UK.
Brief popularized abstract
The objective of the project was to explore migration and societal implications from a migrant/bottom up perspective. Seven case studies covered various types of migration, including internal and transnational migration; and labour- educational and military migration. Five topics are of general interest across the case studies and point to issues of general importance:
1. Place-based rights and mobility
2. Migration and diaspora - network dynamics
3. Future making - spatial and social mobility
4. Mobility and identity transformation
5. Inequity and mobility
The findings identified tensions inherent in Nepalese society today, which may be understood as societal change agents in social transformation with potential implications for current debates on public policies, governance practices and national and local politics. Thus, the big discussions in Nepal today regarding the implementation of new Constitution, ethnic politics, citizenship, social inclusion and gender could positively benefit from the insights from this project.