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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 hands over Tibetan after late night raid on Tibetan refugee center in Kathmandu

February 26, 2008

ICT Report
February 25, 2008

Nepal handed over a Tibetan man in his twenties to Chinese authorities
today after he was taken into custody during a February 23 late-night
raid by 50 to 60 armed police on the Tibetan Refugee Reception Center.
The center is administered by the Lutheran World Federation and funded
by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. The excessive show of
police force was unprecedented at the Kathmandu center, a place where
emergency humanitarian assistance is provided to Tibetan refugees
transiting to India after escaping from Tibet. Twenty-seven year old
Tsering Dhundup from Qinghai Province was held in a cell by the
Nepalese immigration department before being handed back to the
Chinese authorities at the Tibet-Nepal border at 4:15 pm local time
today (5:30 am EST).

Tsering Dhundup's detention by the Nepalese authorities was apparently
linked to allegations by the Chinese authorities that he had been
involved in stabbing a Chinese man in Tibet. There are serious
concerns for the outcome of his case given the use of torture and the
lack of due process in legal proceedings in China and Tibet.

Mary Beth Markey, Vice President of the International Campaign for
Tibet, said today: "We are alarmed by the intimidating nature of the
late night police raid on Tibetan refugees who are vulnerable to scare
tactics, having just escaped repression in Tibet. The show of force
was likely staged for a Chinese government audience, which apparently
determines Nepal's policies with regard to Tibetans."

The raid on the Reception Center took place on Saturday night at
around 10:30 pm local time when between 50 and 60 Nepalese police,
some in plain clothes, entered and headed for one of the male
dormitories. They searched beds where Tibetan refugees were sleeping
until they located 27-year old Tsering Dhundup, from Tsoshar or Bayan
Khar Hui Autonomous County (Chinese: Hualong Hui Autonomous County) in
the Tibetan area of Amdo (present-day Qinghai Province), confirming
his identity with a photograph. Tsering Dhundup was taken into custody
and handcuffed in a cell at the offices of the immigration
authorities, who also took a statement from him through an
interpreter.

This latest situation indicates the increasing vulnerability of
Tibetans in Nepal due to Chinese influence on Kathmandu - particularly
following the 2005 closures of the Office of the Representative of His
Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Welfare Office in Kathmandu,
both critical to the welfare of Tibetans in Nepal and an established
presence there since the 1960s.

Earlier in February, the Nepal Supreme Court ruled against the
registration of the Bhota Welfare Society, a Nepalese run NGO intended
to provide community and humanitarian services to both long-staying
and newly arrived Tibetan refugees in Nepal. The Chinese Embassy in
Kathmandu had made known to the court its opposition to the
registration, accusing the NGO of being an operation of the "Dalai
clique".

Around 2500 to 3500 Tibetans make the dangerous crossing through the
Himalayas into exile in Nepal, and from there to India, each year. In
2006 and 2007, fewer traveled into Nepal compared to 2004 and 2005.
For many, the main or only purpose of their journey is to see their
religious leader, the Dalai Lama. A high percentage of the new
refugees are children sent by their parents to study in Tibetan exile
schools due to inadequate or unaffordable schools in Tibet, and monks
and nuns seeking to practice their religion in exile due to
persecution in Tibet.

China's acute sensitivity over Tibet continues to be the primary
feature of China-Nepal relations, and there is continued concern over
the possibility of refoulements, often due to the close relationships
cultivated between Chinese border guards and their counterparts on the
Nepalese side of the border. Tibetans caught attempting to escape from
Tibet or to re-enter Tibet after a period in exile are at risk of
torture and imprisonment. A group of Tibetans who were refouled from
Kathmandu in a high-profile case in May 2003 reported being beaten and
forced to carry out hard labor in prison.

Several high-level Chinese delegations have visited Kathmandu in
recently months and the Nepalese authorities have reiterated their
commitment not to tolerate 'anti-China' activities on its soil, while
China continued to prioritize security and surveillance of the
Tibet-Nepal border.
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