INPaT brief aan Premier Nepal over gedwongen terugkeer van Tibetaanse vluchtelingen
Mr. Madhav Kumar Nepal
Rt. Honorable Prime Minister of Nepal
P.O Box 23312
Amsterdam, 26 August 2010
Dear Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal,
I am writing to you on behalf of the International Network of Parliamentarians on Tibet (INPaT).
We are deeply concerned by reports of Nepals forcible repatriation of three Tibetan refugees to Chinese border police in early June. We understand that two of the Tibetans who were returned have been imprisoned in Tibet.
Nepal has violated the Gentlemens Agreement with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The refoulement of this agreement, which provides for safe transit of Tibetan refugees through Nepalese territory to India, is a clear indication of Nepals disregard for proper procedures and international human rights.
The US State Department 2009 Country Report on Human Rights points out that Tibetans repatriated from Nepal suffered torture, including electric shocks, exposure to cold and severe beatings, and were forced to perform heavy physical labour. Thousands of Tibetan refugees transit through Nepal each year. The UNHCR operates a center in Kathmandu and assists those refugees who have made it to the capital to move forward to India.
With Chinese government pressure on Nepal steadily increasing, economic inducements are being used to move Nepal towards positions favourable to China. INPaT is concerned about the welfare of Tibetan refugees in Nepal, who are at a considerable risk of forced repatriation.
INPaT joins people of conscience worldwide in iterating the following recommendations from the report Dangerous Crossing: Conditions Impacting the Flight of Tibetan Refugees by the International Campaign for Tibet :
Recommendations to UNHCR:
1. Resume UNHCR monitoring of border regions to educate local authorities in the proper treatment of refugees, monitor adherence to the policy of non-refoulement by immigration and local security forces, and intervene when refoulement and/or abuse occurs.
2. Urge the Nepal government to adhere to the principle of non-refoulement by taking the adequate policy and administrative steps, which include written policy instruction to all border immigration and police, and training of Nepalese policy, security forces and immigration authorities in proper procedures (as per the Gentlemens Agreement) and international human rights standards and practices.
3. Press the Nepal government on finding durable solutions for the long-staying Tibetan refugee population in Nepal, including issuance of RCs, opening the path to citizenship, and cooperation with the US government-proposed refugee resettlement program for certain Tibetans in Nepal.
4. Make every effort, in concert with supportive governments, to preserve the Tibetan Refugee Reception Center in Kathmandu and its integrity as a secure place of temporary refuge and respite for Tibetans fleeing Tibet through Nepal and onward to India.
Recommendations to the Nepal Government:
1. Systematically issue refugee (identity) certificated to all Tibetan refugees who meet the criteria set by the Nepal government, having entered Nepal before December 31, 1989, and their eligible offspring.
2. Expeditiously issue travel permits to Tibetans resident in Nepal.
3. Adhere to the Gentlemens Agreement with the UNHCR on the safe transit of Tibetans fleeing Tibet through Nepal and onward to India. With heightened vigilance of concerning possible violations of the agreement at or near the Tibet-Nepal border.
4. Consent to the US government-proposed Tibetan refugee resettlement program for certain Tibetans from Nepal and provide necessary co-operation for its successful implementation.
5. Provide absolute guarantee for the preservation of the Tibetan Refugee Reception Center in Kathmandu and its integrity as a secure place of temporary refuge and respite for Tibetans fleeing Tibet through Nepal and onward to India.
6. Investigate incidents of theft from Tibetans in transit through Nepal, in keeping with normal standards and practices and consistent with the governments attempts to fight corruption.
Recommendations to the Canadian, US, EU and Other Foreign Governments:
1. Work multilaterally to urge the Nepal government to implement a formal protection policy for refugees, including to preserve the integrity of the Tibetan Refugee Reception Center, to regularize the status of eligible Tibetans, and on other Tibetan refugee issues.
2. Direct appropriate embassy officials to monitor the Tibetan refugee situation in Nepal, which includes meeting regularly with NGOs and Tibetans in Nepal, with particular attention to the situation at and near the Tibet-Nepal border.
3. Take a clear position against any Nepal-China extradition treaty that would codify the PRC position that Tibetans are economic migrants and turn Tibetan refugees in Nepal into criminal illegal aliens that could lead to their extradition to China, where they would face a credible fear of persecution.
INPaT urges the government of Nepal and the UNHCR to work together to investigate this incident and to adopt measures that prevent future occurrences of refoulement from Nepal, including written instructions and trainings for immigration and border police in proper procedures and international human rights standards. We urge our government to do all it can to support the UNHCRs efforts to reach an accommodation with the government of Nepal that respects the rights of Tibetan refugees.
Matteo Mecacci, Co-Chair, INPaT Working Group
Thomas Mann, Co-Chair, INPaT, Working Group
INPaT secretariat – Vijzelstraat 77 1017 HG Amsterdam The Netherlands