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Governments criticize Nepal authorities for detention of three Tibetans and mistreatment of Tibetan protestors in Nepal

June 29, 2008

ICT Press Release
June 27, 2008

The governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany,
Canada, Denmark, Australia, Finland, and France have issued a joint
demarche to the Nepal government objecting to the detention of three
Tibetan community leaders on June 19, and to the harsh treatment of
Tibetans in Kathmandu protesting against the Chinese crackdown in
Tibet since March 10. The U.S. State Department issued a strongly
worded statement yesterday on the unfolding situation in Nepal
calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Tibetan
community activists Kelsang Chung, Director of the United
Nations-funded Tibetan Refugee Reception Center, and Ngawang Sangmo
and Tashi Dolma, president and vice president of the regional Tibetan
Women's Association, who were detained in police raids on their homes
in Kathmandu. Deliberations on the legal basis for their detention are ongoing.

ICT commends the governments' strong message to the Nepalese
authorities but urges stronger measures to press the Nepal government
to protect the fundamental rights of the Tibetans in Nepal in the
face of pressure from the Chinese government to do otherwise.

The round-up of Tibetan community leaders in Nepal suggests that an
alliance between a new Maoist-controlled government in Nepal and the
Chinese government does not bode well for the future of long-staying
Tibetan refugees and residents in Nepal. Tibetans' political rights
are already constrained and they appear to be targeted by the
Nepalese authorities, under the direction of the Chinese Embassy in
Kathmandu, for harsh treatment in the buildup to the Olympics.

Nepal's Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala announced his
resignation yesterday (June 26), yielding to mounting pressure from
the two major communist parties in Nepal, including Maoists.
Koirala's resignation paves the way for takeover by Maoist Chief
Prachanda as the new Prime Minister in the next three to four days.
The Maoists emerged as the biggest party in elections in April to a
new constituent assembly.

In recent weeks Prachanda has expressed his support for the Chinese
government's suppression of Tibetans following the wave of protests
that has swept the Tibetan plateau since March 10. "We cannot term
the Chinese government's step to check violence unleashed by the
separatists in Tibet as 'crackdown,'" he was quoted as telling
reporters on March 24 (http://www.expressindia.com). "We regard Tibet
as inseparable part of China." Last year, Prachanda ruled out
allowing the Tibetan Refugee Welfare Center to reopen their office in
Kathmandu - closed in January 2005 - on the grounds that it would
harm the country's "good relations" with its "friendly" northern
neighbor China. (IANS, April 9, 2007).

The Chinese authorities are known to be particularly concerned about
peaceful demonstrations by Tibetans outside the Chinese embassy in
Kathmandu. ICT has photographic evidence of Chinese embassy officials
behind police lines during a demonstration, appearing to direct
Nepalese police treatment of protestors.

In a statement issued yesterday by Tom Casey, Deputy Spokesman, the
US State Department said: "The ongoing harsh treatment of peaceful
protesters during their arrests by the Nepali police is distressing.
We understand and respect Nepal's national security concerns and the
importance of protecting diplomatic premises. We urge Nepal to ensure
the humane treatment of peaceful protesters and to adhere to its
international human rights obligations as Nepal continues on its path
as a democratic nation."

There are fears for the safety of Tibetan peace marchers in Nepal,
who are mainly monks and nuns in their twenties and thirties, who
began walking to the Tibetan border on Wednesday (June 25). A Tibetan
source in Kathmandu told ICT: "People here are really worried about
their safety and possible serious repercussions from both the Nepal
and Tibet side of the border."

For information on the Tibetan refugee situation in Nepal, see:
Dangerous Crossing: Conditions Impacting the Flight of Tibetan
Refugees, http://www.savetibet.org/documents/document.php?id=216

This report can be found online at
http://savetibet.org/news/newsitem.php?id=1331

Press contact:
Kate Saunders
Communications Director, ICT
Tel: +44 7947 138612
email: press@savetibet.org
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665   ctcoffice@tibet.ca
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