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 i-LRFGBjQ-LDharamshala:  Former President of the United States, Jimmy Carter, criticised China for increasing the pressure on Nepal to impede the flow of Tibetan refugees into their country on April 1.

Hundreds of refugees from Tibet cross into Nepal each year; to reach Nepal Tibetans have to journey for 34 days in treacherous conditions across the Himalayas. However, as Chinese power and influence grows in Tibet this journey has become even more difficult to achieve.

Previously, the Tibetans who enter Tibet were captured by the Nepali police and then handed to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees whereupon they could continue on their journey to India.

Jimmy Carter highlighted the harassment that Tibetans now face by Nepali authorities when they reach the boarder of Nepal. He also spoke of his disagreement of this new development.

"My hope is that the Nepali government will not accede," he told reporters.

Nepal is a country that is itself trying to get back on track after a decade-long civil war that ended in 2006. Although situated between these two powerful countries, China and India, China is Nepal’s key trading partner and also their top donor.

 Home to about 20,000 Tibetans who have fled Chinese rule in their own region, Nepal’s government has thwarted any protests by Tibetans against China.

On March 25 authorities in Nepal secretly cremated a Tibetan Buddhist who self-immolated in the country’s capital Kathmandu. The Monk, whose identity has not been confirmed, was cremated without observance of religious or cultural rituals. Tibetan advocacy and rights groups have accused Beijing of pressuring Nepal’s government into this action.

The Carter Centre, an organisation of whom the former president is the founder with a mission “to prevent and resolve conflicts, enhance freedom and democracy” observed Nepal’s last elections in 2008. Carter, who said that his organisation would also observe the next set of polls, arrived in Nepal to push forward a peace process in the country, in the wake of the war.

"I think it will not be possible to hold elections in June because a lot of things have to be done before the election," Carter, told press after a meeting with the head of the interim government, election commission and political party leaders

Carter said that the next plausible time for the polls to be carried out would be in November after the monsoon rains have ended.

Carter, who travels widely to conduct peace negotiations, is scheduled to leave for Myanmar on Tuesday on a visit amid concerns over rising religious violence there.

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