Tibetan refugees who manage to enter Nepal are facing dual pressure of being forcibly repatriated by Nepal Police and action at the hands of Chinese border forces inside Nepal, a report alleges.
The report ‘Fragile Welcome: China’s Influence on Nepal and its impact on Tibetans’ by Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet was released on Saturday—a day ahead of World Refugee Day.
It says, last week a group of Tibetan refugees which included mostly women and two children narrowly escaped being repatriated to Tibet by Nepal Police.
The refugees who were malnourished were also forced to remain in hiding in a forest for several days to escape action from Chinese armed police who entered Nepal to search for them.
The report highlights threats faced by the nearly 20,000 Tibetans who have been staying in Nepal and those who use the country as transit to move to Dharamsala in India, where Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama is based.
It alleges that over the past two years since Chinese clampdown in Tibet began, the Nepal government under pressure from Chinese authorities has adopted a tougher approach towards Tibetan refugees.
There is “disturbing inconsistency” in the Nepal government’s role in fulfilling a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ with UN to provide safe transit to Tibetan refugees escaping from Tibet through the Himalayan nation, the report mentioned.
“Chinese strategies to thwart the flight (of hundreds of Tibetans each year) and the reception of Tibetan refugees in Nepal have become more aggressive,” Markey Beth Markey, ICT’s vice-president of International Advocacy is quoted as saying.
Since 1959, when Dalai Lama left Tibet and took shelter in India, thousands of Tibetans have fled Tibet and nearly 20,000 of them have been staying in Nepal.
The report says that there is climate a fear of uncertainty among Tibetan refugees in Nepal who face tougher language from police and government officials threatening deportation of new arrivals.
Most Tibetans born in Nepal after 1989 are undocumented and have no right to work and travel.
An AFP report quoted a home ministry official as saying that Nepal respects Beijing’s One China Policy—which regards Tibet as an integral part of China and any Tibetan refugee found entering Nepal without a permit would be dealt according to existing laws.