The U.S. State Department said it was “outraged” that Nepal turned over 18 Tibetans, including minors, to China while the EU said it was “seriously concerned” about the forced repatriation of the 18 refugees on May 31, which, it said, “clearly violates humanitarian principles and contravenes international law.” Tibetans and Tibet supporters gathered in front of Nepalese embassies to protest Nepal’s actions.
The U.S. State Department’s full June 2 statement is as follows:
“Saturday morning in Kathmandu the government of Nepal turned over to representatives of the People’s Republic of China 18 Tibetan refugees, including minors.
“We are outraged by this development. Our embassy has demarched the Nepalese government at the highest levels and more broadly this is a long-standing issue that is often raised in Kathmandu. Senior U.S. government officials met recently with People’s Republic of China and Nepalese officials in Washington and made it well known our feelings on this issue. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees has called the return of the 18 Tibetans to China without a status determination to be a clear violation of international law.
“We condemn the behavior of Chinese diplomats in Nepal and we call on the government to Nepal to return to the previous practice of allowing Tibetans to seek protection in Nepal for onward resettlement to India.”
Tibetans and Tibet supporters gathered in front of the Nepalese Embassy in Washington, D.C, earlier today to protest the deportation.
The protestors gathered peacefully across the street from the embassy holding signs for nearly an hour at mid-day. The International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) tried several times to deliver a letter to the Embassy. For the last 30 minutes, they shouted “Tibetans lives are not for sale” and “Shame on China” at the Embassy.
Officials at the Embassy agreed to accept ICT’s letter once the protesters stopped shouting. At the conclusion of the protests Mary Beth Markey, U.S. Executive Director of ICT, delivered the letter to an Embassy official.
At 5:45 am on Saturday, May 31, Nepalese authorities, under pressure from China, loaded the 18 Tibetan refugees from Hannaman Dhoka prison in Kathmandu onto a Chinese Embassy vehicle, according to eyewitnesses.
The refugees were reportedly in distress while they were loaded into the vehicle calling out to observers for help.
On Saturday morning, the refugees were reportedly taken out of the embassy vehicle and loaded into unmarked vans and driven to the Kathmandu Police Club. Approximately two hours later, the vans departed from the Police Club for the Nepal-Tibet border along with the Chinese embassy van. At approximately 12:25 pm on Saturday, the 18 Tibetans were taken across the border town of Dram.
After taking the refugees across the border, the Nepalese authorities reportedly walked back to their vehicle with gear they had used for the transport, including heavy handcuffs, ropes and guns.