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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Nepal has obligation not to deport Tibetan refugees, Says UN

September 9, 2010

Central Tibetan Administration (CTA)
September 8 2010

Dharamshala -- An official of the United Nations
High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in
Kathmandu said the UN agency and Nepali
government should facilitate the safe transit of
Tibetan refugees to India owing to the latter's
international obligation under the Gentlemen's Agreement.

In an interview with The Kathmandu Post, Stephane
Jaquemet, the country representative of UNHCR in
Kathmandu spoke about the issue of Tibetan
refugees and the agency’s future in Nepal.

Responding to questions on Nepal's tough line on
new Tibetan arrivals from Tibet and the UN
agency's concerns, Mr Jaquemet said both the
UNHCR and Nepali government had committed to the
Gentlemen's Agreement established in early 1990s
to facilitate the safe transit of Tibetan new arrivals to India.

Elaborating on the Gentlemen's Agreement, Mr
Jaquemet said: "Like any other country in the
world, Nepal has an obligation not to return
people seeking international protection. Although
Nepal is not a party to the 1951 Refugee
Convention, it is party to a number of human
rights instruments and treaties which contain the
obligation of non-return of people seeking international protection."

He refuted an op-ed in the newspaper which stated
that international practice says that migrants
can be deported. “This is not correct for someone
who seeks international protection. The latter cannot be deported," he said.

The UN representative said -- the pre-1990s
Tibetan refugees are recognised as refugees on a
prima facie basis by the Nepali government and
they are entitled to Refugee Cards attesting to their right to reside in Nepal.

"In practice, however, the issuance/renewal of
such documents has been inconsistent.
Accordingly, UNHCR has advocated to the
government for the issuance of documentation to
all persons of concern in the long staying
population of Tibetans in Nepal, he added.
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