Eight Tibetans being sent to India

Kathmandu, July 26

The government is all set to send eight Tibetan refugees to the Indian city of Dharmashala, where thousands of Tibetans and their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, are living in exile.

It is coordinating with its Indian counterpart and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to make the departure of refugees as smooth as possible.

The refugees will be given exit passes and will enter India via the border in Sunauli tomorrow, according to the Department of Immigration. The Indian Embassy in Kathmandu is overseeing the matter, the DoI said.

The refugees are being sent to India based on an informal agreement among Nepal, India and the UNHCR on matters related to Tibetan refugees. The UNHCR and DoI have already verified the nationality of the refugees and are allowing the refugees to proceed to India “to protect their religious rights”.

The refugees who are leaving for India are: Lobsang Phuntsok, 17, male, Thupten Tsering, 13, female, Sherab Kunsel, 19, male, Rinchen Namgyal, 19, male, Sonam Chokdue, 19, male, Yung Tsuk, 22, male, Tenzin, 23, male, Ngawang Choeying, 38, female.

They had entered Nepal from border points in Dolakha and Rasuwa less than a year ago. They were verified as Tibetan refugees on July 20 by Tibetan Reception Centre at Halchok, Kathmandu.

On July 17, the government had detained two Tibetan refugees — Wanbo, 20, a resident of Shigatse, and Kunga, 25, from Lasha — from Tatopani border in Sindhupalchowk. They have been sent to Dharmashala, India, said DoI officials.

Earlier in June, two Tibetan refugees —  Kunsang Nyima, 24, and Pema Dhudul, 25 — were also sent to India.

Many Tibetans have been fleeing their country and seeking refuge in Nepal since the Tibet uprising of 1959.

Before 2008, Nepal used to receive around 2,000 Tibetan refugees per year. Since then the number has dropped, with annual inflow of Tibetan refugees now hovering around 100. Around 14,000 Tibetan refugees are currently living in 12 settlements across Nepal.