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Tough times for Tibetans in China, Nepal, says US report

Tibetans in China face torture and travel restrictions and even those who move to neighbouring Nepal lack adequate rights, says the latest US state department human rights report for 2009.

world Updated: Mar 13, 2010 12:36 IST
Utpal Parashar

Tibetans in China face torture and travel restrictions and even those who move to neighbouring Nepal lack adequate rights, says the latest US state department human rights report for 2009.

“Tibetans repatriated from Nepal reportedly suffered torture, including electric shocks, exposure to cold and severe beatings and were forced to perform heavy physical labour,” the report tabled on Thursday said.

Travel to Nepal and India by Tibetans for religious and educational purposes is strictly regulated and they also face lot of obstacles in obtaining passports and renewing old ones, the report stated.

“There were reports of arbitrary detention of persons, particularly monks and nuns, returning from India and Nepal. Detentions generally lasted for several months,” the report added.

According to estimates, nearly 2500 to 3000 Tibetans flee to India via Nepal every year to meet their spiritual leader Dalai Lama. But since March 2008, the figure has dropped to less than 1000.

Tibetan refugees in Nepal also witnessed curtailment of freedom of expression as police imposed restrictions on demonstrations and sometimes detained demonstrators.

Between 1959 and 1989, Nepal accepted approximately 20,000 Tibetans as refugees, but since 1990, the government stopped granting refugee status to them and either handed them over to Chinese or UN authorities

Reports of harassment by Chinese border guards within Nepal’s borders and joint patrol by Chinese and Nepali border officials more than 30 miles inside Nepal have been mentioned in the report.

Tibetans who arrived after 1990 generally had neither status nor documentation and even those with acknowledged refugee status had no legal rights beyond the ability to remain in the country.

Harassment of Tibetans in Nepal by police and other local officials including random checks of identity documents, threats of deportation and requests for bribes were also mentioned in the report.

Nepal follows a One China policy, which regards both Tibet and Taiwan as inalienable parts of China and does not allow its territory to be used for anti-China activities.

In the past week, 26 Tibetan exiles have been arrested by police in Kathmandu in order to stop them from carrying out demonstrations to mark 51 st anniversary of the failed Tibet uprising of 1959.