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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?"

Tibet refugees in lurch without RC

August 2, 2008

BY KULCHANDRA NEUPANE
Kantipur Online
July 31, 2008

KASKI, July 31 - Tibetans at 18 refugee camps, including the one in
Kaski district, have not been able to get jobs or start businesses
due to lack of Refugee Cards (RCs). The government stopped issuing
RCs to the refugees some 13 years ago, without giving any reasons for the move.

Until 1995 the government used to issue RCs to Tibetan refugees above
18 years of age. RCs enabled the refugees not only to get jobs or
start businesses but even go abroad for higher studies.

As the government stopped issuing the RCs, thousands of educated
Tibetan refugees across the country have been left unemployed and
frustrated. Worse, they don't have anything to identify themselves by
- neither RCs nor citizenship papers.

Sonam Tengdel, 27, a Tibetan refugee at Hemja camp, wanted to go to
the US for further studies but could not do so as he did not have his RC.

"I then completed my Bachelor's degree and started to look for a job.
And this time also I was asked to produce identification documents,
which I do not have," said Sonam, who now works inside the camp at a
juice factory.

Around 14,000 Tibetans are staying in refugee camps nationwide,
according to government statistics. However, the refugees claim that
their numbers are at around 20,000, of which more than 30 per cent
are without RCs.

Chhodun Mendo, a mother of four, said, "My daughters wanted to join a
nursing course but they could not due to lack of RCs. Two of my sons
have completed their campus studies and are now staying idle."

Chief District Officer of Kaski Baliram Prasad Singh said, "Besides
RC renewal we do not issue new RCs and I don't know why they were stopped."

Refugees are required to earn their living. In India, there are
around 100,000 Tibetan refugees, and they are free to work in
offices, buy land and run businesses, all on the basis of the RC.
However, the situation of their brethren in Nepal is quite different.
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