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Nepal releases 23 Tibetan refugees PDF Print E-mail
[22 September] A group of 23 young Tibetans detained in Nepal after escaping from Tibet has been released following intense international pressure.

Tibetans gaining freedom in NepalThe group included 20 young Tibetans who were detained by Nepalese police in the district of Bajura on 11 September. The group had escaped from Tibet by walking for 17 days and crossing the Humla Lumi valley. The other three Tibetans were arrested on 13 September. The group consisted of 18 males and 5 females mostly aged between 13 and 28 years old.

On 22 September, the Nepalese Supreme Court issued an order calling for the government not to hand the refugees over to China. The Nepalese Immigration Department released the group into the care of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and are understood to being taken to the Tibetan Reception Centre in Kathmandu. From there it is expected they will continue their journey to Dharamsala in northern India.

The release of the refugees follows pressure from the US, British and other governments as well as from human rights groups in Nepal and Tibet groups around the world.

Until recently several thousand Tibetans would escape Tibet each year by crossing the Himalayas into Nepal. A 'gentleman's agreement' allowed safe passage of Tibetan refugees through Nepal to India, under the auspices of the UNHCR. Since 2008 the Nepalese authorities, under pressure from China, have not always adhered to the agreement and have deported Tibetan refugees back to China, where they can face torture and imprisonment.

Further reading: Voice of America I Times of India

Tibetans gaining freedom in NepalTibetans gaining freedom in Nepal

Photos courtesy of Tsewang Rangzen.
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