KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) – A senior U.S. official met with Nepal’s prime minister Thursday to express concerns about the situation of Tibetan refugees in the Himalayan country bordering China.
U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman said she talked with Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai about Tibetan refugees’ demands for documents that would entitle them to rights.
Many of the thousands of Tibetan refugees who live in Nepal complain they have not been issued proper papers to allow them to travel, seek employment or have their children attend public schools.
Nepal used to recognize fleeing Tibetans as refugees, but it has not given papers to new migrants for a few years.
Sherman says she was assured that over time this issue will get resolved.
“There is no question in my mind that the government here supports international rights of refugees and I know are going to continue to resolve the remaining concerns of the Tibetan refugees,” Sherman said.
Sherman’s comments are expected to ease pressure on Nepal, which has been criticized by rights groups for not allowing Tibetans to demonstrate against China.
Tibetans exiles regularly demonstrate outside the Chinese embassy in Nepal and are stopped by police and generally detained for a few hours or days before being freed. Chinese officials have asked Nepal to stop these protests.
Nepalese authorities say protests against any friendly nations including China will not be tolerated.