A Profile of Dr. Padma Ratna Tuladhar

Better known as a Human Rights Activist, Civil Society Leader and Independent Left politician, Mr. Tuladhar has been a facilitator and mediator of Nepal’s democratic, peace and negotiations processes since the inception of the country’s transition to democracy for more than two decades.

Dr. Padma Ratna Tuladhar in Tokyo

He became a member of the National Assembly (Rashtriya Panchayat) under the party-less Political system in 1986, elected from Kathmandu District. During his decades-long fight from within and outside of the assembly for the restoration of multi-party democracy, he was arrested, detained and jailed several times during the pro-democracy movements from 1981 to 1990, and then again in 2006.

During the period before the adoption of the country’s first democratic constitution in 1990 he brought the 12 communist groups together to form a Left Front to fight against the party-less Authoritarian Royal Regime and restore the multi-party democracy. As a result, the United Left Front was formed by seven communist parties in 1990. And he became an independent member and prominent leader of the front.

Following the formation of the Left Front, he facilitated meetings between the Left Front and the democratic patty Nepali congress that led to the several joint understandings and the historic1990 Joint People’s Movement for Democracy. The movement succeeded within two months and he was asked to facilitate talks between the party-less Royal Government and the opposition Left and Democratic forces. Multi-party democracy was eventually restored and a General Election held in 1991.

Elected to the House of Representatives from Kathmandu in 1991 and 1995 as an independent member backed and supported by the CPN (UML), Mr. Tuladhar became the Minister for Health and Labor in the first ever communist government of Nepal in 1995/96.

When the communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) declared its long term Peoples War in 1996 he played the role of a contact person and “messenger” between the Government of Nepal and the Maoist Rebels. In 2000 he facilitated secret talks between a Government Cabinet Minister and the Maoist Leader in Katmandu. These initial talks set precedence for the on going takes that followed. Mr. Tuladhar was appointed as one of the Official Facilitators in the subsequent talks between the Nepal Government and the Maoist Party in 2001 and 2003.

He continued his role as informal facilitator during most of the turbulent political times that eventually led to the Peaceful People’s Movement of April 2006. From jail, he and several other civil society and political leaders help set the conditions for the king to hand-over power to the “people” and restore parliament. After the unmanning of the Maoist Party and the start of formal talks, Mr. Tuladhar was appointed as one of the observers and advisers to the recent peace talks. He was instrumental in assisting the parties and negotiations process which produced a ceasefire agreement, arms management agreement and led to the signing of a comprehensive Peace Accord and several other agreements. These agreements prepared the way for the recently successful election for a Constituent Assembly.

Mr. Tuladhar is currently working as one of the members of the Consultative Committee in the Peace Ministry and one of the co-conveners of the Peace and Conflict Management Committee formed by the government.

(Edited by Mr. Hannes Siebert of South Africa, while in Kathmandu in June last year)