“Human Rights Watch reports a disturbing development that Nepalese police have forcibly returned Tibetans refugees back across the border of Tibet. The Nepalese Government has an urgent responsibility to investigate the role of its personnel in violating Nepal’s international and national obligations to protect those fleeing a credible fear of persecution, and to take measures to prevent future incidents.”

“ICT fears that Chinese officials are encouraging Nepalese personnel to violate those obligations. The HRW report details cooperative agreements between Chinese and Nepalese security personnel on border control and monitoring, and notes that China has pressed Nepal not to allow safe passage of Tibetan refugees. This interference in Nepal’s internal affairs is wrong and contradictory to China’s stated principles.

“The reality is that there is very little independent monitoring of Nepal’s northern border areas even as there are indications that Chinese agents operating inside Nepal are encouraging Nepalese personnel to turn over Tibetan refugees. Tibetans who are forcibly returned after attempting to escape face torture and hard labor in prison, often for many months.

“The establishment of a new government in Kathmandu offers a fresh opportunity for Nepal to reaffirm its adherence to its obligations including the ‘Gentleman’s Agreement’ that ensures Tibetans have a safe passage through Nepal. We urge Chinese officials to respect Nepal’s sovereignty and stop interfering with the established refugee transit process. We urge the United Nations and foreign embassies in Nepal to provide technical support to Nepalese authorities to promote implementation of the Gentleman’s Agreement. Further, we call on the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to resume border missions to ensure that Nepalese police and security personnel are aware of, and abide by, its obligations.”

The Human Rights Watch report can be downloaded a http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/nepal0314_ForUpload_2.pdf. ICT documents the challenges facing Tibetans who transit Nepal as they flee repression and the status of Tibetan refugees in Nepal in its ‘Dangerous Crossings’ report. The latest edition can be found here »