Jan 20, 2010

Tibet: Nepal Hands Over Detained Tibetans to UN

Sample ImageAfter escaping Tibet, Ten Tibetans have been handed over to the United Nations's refugee agency in Kathmandu

Below is article published by phayul.com:

 Ten Tibetans arrested in Nepal after escaping Chinese-occupied Tibet have been handed over to the United Nations and not deported back to Tibet, media reports said Monday [18 January].

The eight men and two women were arrested on Saturday [16 January] by Nepalese police from a Lamabagar village near Nepal-China border in Dolakha district.

Nepalese immigration authorities Monday said they were questioned about possible involvement in ´anti-China activities´ before handing them over to the UN’s refugee agency in Kathmandu.

The Tibetans were reportedly on their way via Nepal to India where the exiled Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama has lived since 1959.

"We took statements from each of the Tibetans, who said they crossed the border to go to India to meet their spiritual leader the Dalai Lama," AFP quoted immigration official Chandra Nath Gautam as saying.

"We found no proof of any involvement in anti-China activities in Nepal and we have decided to hand over all the arrested Tibetans to the United Nations," Gautam added.

Nepali authorities on Sunday [17 January] reportedly said the arrested Tibetans could be handed over to the Chinese embassy in Kathmandu for deportation.

 Meanwhile, Telegraph Nepal reported that the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) had been pressurizing Nepal Government to submit the refugees to their custody.

Despite massive international appeal, in May 2003, Nepal deported 18 Tibetan refugess to Tibet under pressure from the Chinese Embassy in Nepal.

 Every year, many Tibetans escape via Nepal to India, often after undertaking incredibly risky journey across the harsh Himalayan terrains. Statistics show that approximately a third are children who are being sent to study in Tibetan exile schools. Many others are monks and nuns seeking a religious education, which is made difficult in Tibet due to restrictions placed on monasteries and nunneries by the Chinese Communist government.

Past estimates suggest between 2,500 and 3,000 Tibetans escape Tibet and enter Nepal each year on their way to Dharamsala, the seat of Tibetan Government-in-Exile in north India. The number has slowed down dramatically since 2008 after Nepal beefed up security along its border with Tibet following 'Chinese pressure'.

Recently Nepal announced its decision to tighten Tibet border by deploying armed police for the first time along its northern Mustang-Tibet border, raising criticism that the move was prompted by pressure from China against the Tibetans.

 Following the massive anti-China unrest in Tibet in 2008, China has been sending a flurry of high-level official delegations to force Nepal to ensure it effectively curbs "Free-Tibet activities” on its soil. In return China promises to increase assistance to the crisis-ridden country.

Tibetans exiles in Nepal in 2008 staged some of the most dramatic and sustained demonstrations in Kathmandu, targeting the Chinese embassy, its visa office and the United Nations after unrest against Chinese rule in Tibet faced brutal Chinese military crackdown.

To apparently please China, in 2008, the then Nepal's Maoist-led government even threatened deportation of Tibetan exiles staying in the country illegally.

According to statistics, Nepal is home to over 20,000 Tibetans refugees concentrated mainly in the Kathmandu valley and Pokhara in western Nepal.