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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Nepal lies in dilemma of power tussle between China and USA

Kathmandu August 1, 2011: A Tibetan woman refugee was arrested here in Nepal while trying to obtain a fake Nepali passport. The 22-year-old woman who is suspected to be a refugee living in Bangalore, was arrested red handed when she tried to obtain a Nepali passport in the name of Chhintal Tamang. The Nepal police also arrested 3 Nepali citizens, Bhakta Bahadur Tamang, K.P. Thapaliya and Devendra Neupane as her accomplish.

According to the Government of Nepal, Tibetans entering Nepal after 1989 do not have permission to stay as legal refugees within Nepal, nor does the law protect their human rights. However, the principle of non-refoulement, laid out in 1954 in the UN-Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, provides in Article 33(1) that:"No Contracting State shall expel or return ('refouler') a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion."

The arrest came in action within weeks of Nepal’s Central Investigation Bureau arrest of two minors at Tribhuvan International Airport while trying to leave the country with fake Nepali passports under valid US Visa. The under aged Tibetan kids 15-year-old Jayang Tenzin, and his sister, Tsering Lhamo, 12, were arrested while trying to board a Qatar Airways flight to Turkey with other members of their family who have been living in the US under the status of Tibetan refugees.

With China trying to use its bilateral relationship and USA trying to be more flexible towards the refugee issue of Tibet, Nepal is stranded with no option except to pretend accordingly to both the sides. From the past activism practices to the recent arrest shows Nepal’s position and lack of clarity. Nepal seems to be sandwiched between the giant powers with no standing on the issue, more or less China putting ban and USA being more flexible toward the Tibetan asylum cases , Nepal has been a ground reality for the Tibetans who have been suffering from both ways.

Shreedeep Rayamajhi


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