At the end of the European Parliament’s Plenary Session in Strasbourg on 29 September, the current human rights situation in Nepal was debated. In an adopted resolution on Nepal, MEP’s called “firmly once again on the Nepalese Government to re-establish the Tibetan Refugee Welfare Office (TRWO) in Kathmandu and to allow the representative office of the Dalai Lama to resume operations in providing relief services to Tibetan refugees as an implementing partner of the UNHCR.”
ICT’s 2004 Refugee Report, Dangerous Crossing, outlined that there are continued risks of refoulement for Tibetans, particularly in the border areas, and increasing concern for Tibetans resident in Nepal. With the aggravating factors of the Maoist insurgency, the shifting Nepalese approach to Tibetan refugees and the increasing Chinese influence on policy and implementation in Nepal, the situation of many Tibetan refugees in Nepal deteriorated dramatically in 2004, a trend that has continued into 2005.
Nepal is seen to be forging ever-closer economic ties with China and this has led to increased pressures on Tibetan refugees arriving or residing in Nepal and the organizations that aid them.
The complete text of the European Parliament Resolution follows:
In the resolution on Nepal, Parliament welcomes the ceasefire declaration by the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and the first steps by the seven-party alliance to start a political process to resolve the armed conflict. It calls for an indefinite extension of the Maoist ceasefire and for King Gyanendra to reciprocate the ceasefire and engage in constructive talks with political groups, which should include the Maoist rebels, with a view to restoring democratic processes in Nepal.
It call for urgent action by the Nepalese authorities with a view to the upcoming Troika visit and asks them to cooperate at these meetings to enable a fruitful discussion to take place, with a view to furthering the peace process and reinstating democracy, with the guidance and encouragement of the international community. MEPs call on King Gyanendra to guarantee the full sovereignty of parliamentary democratic authorities. They ask for the international community to establish a Contact Group, made up of Nepal’s key partners and international organisations (the EU, the US, India and the UN), to provide coordinated international action with regard to Nepal. They also propose that the European Parliament appoint a special rapporteur to monitor the situation.
Parliament welcomes the UN initiative of deploying a Special Rapporteur and a UN Office of Human Rights in Nepal, which will carefully monitor the human rights situation and calls for a follow-up to the 2002 London International Conference, to be organised by the Contact Group of key partners, which should set out the principles and values needed to underpin a peace process in Nepal and bring together all major players from the international community, as well as King Gyanendra, the Maoist rebel groups and the main political parties.
MEPs call on the Council and the Member States for suspension of military aid to continue. They ask that all aid to Nepal be monitored and that smart sanctions be imposed in order to maintain pressure on the royal government to restore democratic governance and explore all avenues to peace talks. They call on the Commission and the Member States to scrutinise closely all development assistance to Nepal and to make sure that it serves its prime purpose of poverty alleviation and addresses the underlying causes of conflict in the country.
MEPs note that municipal elections are to be held in April 2006. The House calls for parliamentary elections to be held at the same time. Parliament calls for the EU to send an election observation mission to monitor these elections, MEPs calls for all political parties to be able to participate fully in the elections. They strongly condemn violence in all forms and by all parties. They stress that basic human rights and freedoms must be upheld in Nepal, and therefore ask that both the King and the Maoists sign human rights accords to curb abuses. They note the release of some political prisoners, but remain deeply concerned that other political leaders, students and human rights activists are still being detained in prison.
Parliament stresses that any restrictions on media freedom should be lifted immediately and that all political prisoners in detention should be either released or charged. It asks the King to provide rehabilitation for the 30 000 Kapilvastu villagers displaced by violent conflict.
Finally, Parliament calls firmly once again on the Nepalese Government to re-establish the Tibetan Refugee Welfare Office (TRWO) in Kathmandu and to allow the representative office of the Dalai Lama to resume operations in providing relief services to Tibetan refugees as an implementing partner of the UNHCR.