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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Nepal clamps down on protests by Tibetans

March 16, 2012

A hundred Tibetan exiles have been arrested by security officials in Nepal over the past five days during protests to mark the 53rd anniversary of the Tibetan uprising.

Six protestors were arrested on March 10, the day when Tibetans revolted against China in 1959. And 94 others were arrested on Wednesday, the fourth anniversary of the 2008 Chinese clampdown in Tibet.

Nepal follows a 'one China' policy and doesn't allow any form of demonstration by the nearly 22,000 Tibetan refugees based in the country.

Under pressure from its northern neighbour, Nepal has stopped issuing identity cards to these refugees since 1989 and strictly monitors their movement and activities.

Fears of a month-long protests by these refugees to mark the Tibetan Uprising has forced police to strengthen security around the Chinese embassy and visa office in Kathmandu.

There is round the clock police presence in these areas and vehicles are being diverted in order to deter protestors from reaching them.

According to, Tinley Lama, the Tibetan Welfare Office coordinator for Nepal was also arrested by police on Wednesday and released in the evening after over five hours.

The website also quoted a Human Rights Organization of Nepal (HURON) employee stating that those arrested on Wednesday were just walking on the street and not planning any protest.

The Tibetans who have been arrested are yet to be released. Reports say they will be kept in police custody for further investigation.

"This year there was no formal organized protests. Those who have been arrested were either volunteers or activists," said a Tibetan refugee in Kathmandu on condition of anonymity.

Under directions from the police, the Tibetan Welfare Office had requested all refugees not to indulge in protests and demonstrations to mark the Tibetan Uprising anniversary.

"There seems no possibility of more protests in Kathmandu. But we are closely watching developments in Tibet. If the situation there worsens, more demonstrations could happen," he said.

The plight of Tibetan refugees in Nepal was also discussed at the ongoing UN Human Rights Council's 19th session in Geneva last week in a report by Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nepal.

The report expressed concern at the restrictions imposed by Nepal on the "freedom of movement, assembly and association" and "arbitrary arrests and other inappropriate methods" against Tibetan refugees.

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