Nepal | August 12, 2020

US Congressmen urge govt not to sign treaty


Himalayan News Service
Share Now:

Kathmandu, November 24

United States Congressmen James P McGovern and Christopher H Smith, co-chairs of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, have released a letter to Nepal’s Ambassador to US urging the Government of Nepal to fully protect the human rights of Tibetans in Nepal.

According to a press release issued by Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission of the US Congress, the letter was sent to Government of Nepal expressing concern about the deportation to China of six Tibetans who crossed into Nepal from China in September, in ‘apparent violation of Nepal’s obligation of non-refoulement.’

The co-chairs were joined by six other Members of Congress including Chairman Eliot L Engel and ranking member Michael T McCaul of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Chairman David Price and Co-chair Vern Buchanan of the House Democracy Partnership, and Reps Pramila Jayapal and Steve Chabot.

The letter raised the issues of crackdown on the Tibetan community at the time of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s October visit to Nepal, ‘the worrying prospect of an extradition treaty between Nepal and China, the increasingly stringent restrictions on freedom of assembly and expression suffered by Tibetans in Nepal and the essentially stateless status of many Tibetans.’

They urged Nepal to halt deportation of Tibetans, refrain from use of preventive detention and register all Tibetan refugees living in Nepal. “These steps would ensure that Tibetans’ human rights would be fully protected in keeping with Nepal’s international obligations and moral imperatives as a multi-ethnic, multi-faith society,” the US Congressmen said in their letter.  The letter said when six Tibetans arrived on foot at Legme on September 5, Nepalese border police arrested the refugees, took them to Simikot, in Humla district, and turned them over to Chinese border police the same evening.

“This was done even though Nepal is bound by customary international law to not return people to a place where they may face persecution, which is clearly the case for Tibetans in China.”

These actions, the US Congressmen said, appear to be a violation of the longstanding ‘Gentlemen’s Agreement’ between Nepal and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to protect Tibetan refugees in transit.

“Nepal’s adherence to its obligations in this regard remains a priority interest for Congress, as it was in 2003 when a trade bill regarding the Nepalese garment industry was withdrawn in the Senate after Nepal returned 18 Tibetan refugees to China,” the letter added. The letter said prior to Xi Jinping’s Nepal visit, Nepal Police cracked down on Tibetans in Nepal, closing monasteries and detaining a number of Tibetans.

“According to witnesses, police went to the homes of Tibetans to apprehend them. They locked down the Jawalakhel Tibetan refugee settlement and closely monitored Tibetan homes for the elderly,” the letter added, “Nepal also reportedly prevented more than 30 Tibetans residing in Nepal from returning from travel to Dharamsala, until Xi departed.”

They said they were disappointed and concerned that the joint statement between China and Nepal issued during Xi’s trip expressed hope for an early conclusion of the Treaty on Extradition’ They said recognising China’s longstanding repression of Tibetans within its borders, they feared an extradition treaty would
be used to persecute Tibetans living in Nepal.

They said Nepal’s stated determination not to allow any ‘anti-China activities on its soil’ cannot justify restrictions on fundamental civil and political rights. “Nor is it tenable that many Tibetans who fled to Nepal after 1989 are essentially stateless, whereas those Tibetans who arrived between 1959 and 1989 were recognised and registered as refugees by your government,” the US Congressmen said in their letter.

Foreign ministry officials could not be reached for comments.

A version of this article appears in print on November 25, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.

Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

Hotels, restaurants to offer take away services only, 50pc staff to operate BFIs

KATHMANDU: With the steady surge in the number of coronavirus cases across the nation, the Cabinet meeting held on Monday has decided to re-impose restrictions on various service providing units. In the same, Hotels and Restaurants can no longer host guests and can only offer take away services w Read More...

Feast of football awaits but no party time in Lisbon

LISBON: It is arguably the biggest sports event of this COVID-infected year -- eight of Europe's top teams in a knockout tournament over 12 days in the Portuguese capital, with the Champions League winner to be crowned at the final on Aug. 23. But while millions will tune in around the globe, Read More...

Europa League, Shakhtar Donetsk

Four-goal Shakhtar set up Europa semi against Inter

GELSENKIRCHEN: Shakhtar Donetsk booked a clash with Inter Milan in the Europa League semi-finals after goals from Brazilians Junior Moraes, Taison, Alan Patrick and Dodo gave them a 4-1 win over FC Basel in a one-sided last-eight clash on Tuesday. The Ukrainian champions will take on In Read More...

Woman, daughter held in Gongabu murder case

Kathmandu, August 11 Nepal Police today made public the woman, who was arrested on the charge of murdering a man in Gongabu. The headless body of Krishna Bahadur Bohora, 45, of Rolpa was found inside a suitcase, around 100meters away from her rented room at Ganesthan, Gongabu on Sunday. Pol Read More...

COVID-19 likely to persist until India gets rid of it: Health Minister

Kathmandu, August 11 Minister of Health and Population Bhanubhakta Dhakal has said the risk of COVID-19 will remain in Nepal until the pandemic is totally contained in India. Addressing the 61st Anniversary Programme of Paropakar Maternity and Gynaecology Hospital here today, he argued that as Read More...

Bajura village cut off from rest of Nepal

BAJURA, AUGUST 11 Ajaytodki village in Ward 2 of Gaumul Rural Municipality in Bajura has been cut-off from the rest of the country for the past two days after the swollen Budhiganga River swept away a bailey bridge at Jadanga along the Sanfe-Martadi road. The sweeping away of the bridge has disco Read More...

Informal, salaried workers hit hard by COVID-19 in Kathmandu valley: Study

Kathmandu, August 11 Nearly 29 per cent of the respondents interviewed by Kathmandu Metropolitan City in a survey on ‘Impact of COVID-19 on Livelihood’ said their families were stressed due to the uncertain future facing them in the metropolis. Families living in rented rooms or houses sai Read More...

Bharatpur Hospital

Human resource crunch hits COVID lab

CHITWAN, AUGUST 11 Bharatpur COVID-19 laboratory built in April in a short period of time, is struggling to perform. Shortage of human resources has marred the laboratory’s service delivery. The lab established under Bharatpur Hospital has not made any visible progress compared to its initia Read More...