For Immediate Release
22 September 2011
Contact: Ms. Dukthen Kyi (English) / Mr. Jampel Monlam (Tibetan, Chinese)
Urgent Appeal to Nepal Govt; Hand over the 23 Tibetans to UNHCR
On 11 September 2011, 20 Tibetan refugees were arrested by Nepal police for illegally entering Nepal. The 20 Tibetan escapees included 15 boys and 5 girls, mostly teenagers.
They were arrested for illegally trying to enter Delhi via Bajura-Kathmandu route and were held in Bajura, at the district police office. They had reached there after 17 days walk. Few days later, around 13 September, three more Tibetans were arrested. All of them have been turned over to Nepal’s Department of Immigration (DOI) in Kathmandu, Nepal.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) had sent a letter to the Nepalese Administration requesting them to hand the Tibetans over to them which is accordance with the ‘Gentlemen’s Agreement’ between the UNHCR and Nepal. Even the HURON (Human Rights Organization of Nepal) approached the Immigrant Chief and Home Secretary with concerns for the arrested Tibetans and said that decision will be taken in accordance with the law by Sunday.
However, the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu, in a letter, termed the incident as a case of Human Trafficking and so has asked the Nepal Government to repatriate the Tibetans back to them, promising not to take legal action against the youngsters but instead will educate them. This Chinese interference has delayed transit clearance of the 23 Tibetan refugees who remains in Nepal custody for the last 10-12 days.
The fate of these 23 Tibetans is greatly feared if Nepal repatriates them to China.
TCHRD urges the Nepal Government to hand over the 23 Tibetans to UNHRC, in accordance with the agreement and which is only righteous.
These 23 Tibetan refugees risked their lives like the hundreds who do every year to escape the Chinese government’s oppression and to enjoy Human Rights such as freedom of expression, freedom of religion and cultural rights.
Dukthen Kyi (Ms)
Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy