Nepal has officially ushered in a new era for the nation after President Ram Baran Yadav signed the country’s new constitution on Sept. 20, 2015.
Citizens expressed mixed emotions after the historic event. Much of the country cheered, celebrating the nation’s attempt to move forward and bring peace after decades of instability, which included a 10-year civil war that dissolved the nation’s monarchy in 2008. Others continued to protest, unhappy with certain articles in the constitution that they believe put them at a disadvantage.
The new constitution officially divides the country into seven federal states, or provinces, and allows each state to have its own legislature. The borders of these states have yet to be determined. Many of Nepal’s ethnic minorities living in the southern regions have protested this division, fearing it will lead to further marginalization and little political representation.
The constitution also makes Nepal a secular nation after centuries of being a Hindu kingdom. The country’s secularism affords its citizens the right to freely practice, profess and preserve their religion according to their faith. However, the constitution also makes it illegal to perform any act that is seen as “disturb[ing] the religion of other people.”
The issue of citizenship has also sparked contention, especially among the women of Nepal. The constitution allows a father to pass on his Nepali citizenship to his children, but those born to Nepali women who are married to foreign citizens can attain citizenship only by naturalization.
Nepal’s current governing officials say amendments can be made to the constitution to address any discontentment. President Yadav has asked Prime Minister Sushil Koirala to open talks with the disgruntled parties in an effort to quell the unrest.
Please pray for:
- The government of Nepal as it works to implement the new constitution.
- Wisdom for Nepal’s leaders.
- Grace and peace for the people of Nepal.
- Discernment and wisdom for believers as they live out their faith in Jesus.
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