Join our Mailing List

"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."

US raises Tibetan issue with Prime Minister

February 18, 2011

Added At: 2011-02-15 12:28 AM

HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE


KATHMANDU: Visiting US under secretary of state Maria Otero today raised
the Tibetan refugee issue with Prime Minister Jhala Nath Khanal and
urged him to follow the international practice of providing safe transit
for trans-country refugees.

Otero also raised the problem of refugee identification in Nepal as they
have been taking refuge here since mainland China invaded Tibet in 1959.

“She expressed concern about the Nepal government policy with regard to
Tibetan refugees arriving in the country as well as identification of
refugees who have been living in Nepal for decades,” The prime
minister’s foreign affairs adviser Milan Tuladhar said.

Otero, who is the US Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, had visited
the Tibetan Refugee Transit Centre in Kathmandu on Sunday with the
American Ambassador to Nepal, Scott H DeLisi to talk with Tibetan
refugees, some of whom are awaiting clearance of passage to Dharmashala
of India, where their spiritual leader Dalai Lama operates the Tibetan
government in exile.

Sources said the refugees spoke to American officials about their
vulnerability, including Nepal government’s increasingly assertive
policy towards the issue of their transit to Dharmashala, upon China’s
request.

PM Khanal responded to Otero saying that the Government of Nepal has
been treating Tibetan refugees as per universal law and obligations,
stating it was a very ‘sensitive’ issue for Nepal. “The PM did not make
any commitment on the issue,” Tuladhar said.

During the half-hour-long meeting, the issue of Bhutanese refugees also
figured. PM Khanal stated that Nepal stands by the choice of Bhutanese
people to return to their home. Otero had discussed the issue with
Indian and Bhutanese authorities just before arriving in Kathmandu on
Saturday.

“We believe that the Bhutanese refugees deserve the right to return to
their motherland,” Tuladhar quoted the prime minister. Otero advised him
that resumption of dialogue wih Bhutanese authorities would be better to
address the issue permanently.

Nepal is home to some 20,000 Tibetan and over 100,000 Bhutanese
refugees. But, more than 40,000 Bhutanese refugees have already adopted
the US and seven other first world countries as home as per the UN third
country resettlement plan.

Asked whether she raised the issue of refugees in Nepal, Otero said, “It
is an important issue for us. We believe we will proceed to look at it
carefully.” She said America will be a “strong partner and supporter” in
Nepal’s peace and constitution drafting process.

CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665   ctcoffice@tibet.ca
Developed by plank