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Tibet: Features Press and Statements Urgent Action: Tibetan Refugees in Severe Risk of Repatriation

Urgent Action: Tibetan Refugees in Severe Risk of Repatriation

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Dharamshala: - On 11 September 2011, twenty Tibetans fleeing Tibet were apprehended at the Tibet-Nepal border. A few days later three more caught. It has been almost ten days since their detention at the Immigration Center. Members of HURON (Human Rights Organization of Nepal) have visited the Tibetans and asked the immigration officials to release the 23 Tibetans but since the Chinese government's heavy intrusion into this issue, there is a serious risk that the 23 refugees of which 20 are teenagers between the ages of 16-18 years old, will be repatriated back into the hands of the Chinese officials any day.

The Chinese Embassy has reportedly sent a letter through diplomatic channels to the Nepal Government claiming that this is a case of ‘Cross Boarder Human Trafficking', and requested the Nepalese Administration to hand them over to the PRC diplomatic mission. The Chinese mission also claims that there are legal requests from Tibet by some of the parents of the ‘underage' refugees.

The ‘Gentlemen's Agreement' between the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Nepal government provides for cooperation in the safe transit of Tibetans from the border regions through Nepal onward to India. However, this ‘agreement' is not observed on many occasions and those repatriated in the past have suffered severe torture at the hands of the Chinese officials. Earlier this year on 22 February Wikileaks revealed that the "Chinese government rewards (Nepali forces) by providing financial incentives to officers who hand over Tibetans attempting to exit China".

Nepal and Tibet share 1,414 km of common border with 34 major passes between the two. Every year thousands of Tibetan refugees flee Tibet through these passes including toddlers whose parents spent their entire life savings for the journey. The Tibetans have already risked their lives to escape the brutal repression of the Chinese government and by allowing them to be handed back to the Chinese officials over would mean severe repercussions for the young teenagers especially the adults in the group.

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 21 September 2011 17:16 )  


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