Nepal returned three Tibetan refugees to Chinese border police in early June, the United Nations said on Wednesday, adding it was "extremely concerned" by the move. The UN refugee agency said it had written to the Nepalese government about Nepal's repatriation of the three Tibetans.
A report published by Washington-based Tibet advocacy group International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) said two Tibetan monks, 20-year old Dawa and 21-year old Dorjee, and a 22-year old woman called Penpa, were detained by Nepalese police in Nepal's Humla district bordering Purang (Chinese: Burang) county in Ngari prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region.
Two of the Tibetans who were returned, a young woman from Shigatse and a monk from Korchak monastery, have been jailed in Tibet and will serve around six months, the report said.
According to the ICT, the three Tibetans were held at the police post in the village of Muchu, about a day's walk from the Tibet-Nepal border. The Chinese border police were in touch with the Nepalese police, and the three Tibetans were taken by helicopter to the border at Hilsa, accompanied by a Nepalese politician and a policeman, from where Chinese security personnel collected them there and took them back into Tibet, said the report.
Nepal's actions run counter to established procedure under the "Gentlemen's Agreement" which assumes cooperation among Nepalese police and government officials with the UNHCR in providing for the safe transit of Tibetan refugees through Nepal and onward to India.
Nepal is home to about 20,000 exiled Tibetans who began arriving in large numbers in 1959 after the Dalai Lama fled Tibet following a failed uprising against the Chinese.
Approximately 2,500 Tibetan refugees escape into exile annually, travelling through Nepal en route to Dharamsala in northern India where their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government-in-exile are based. However the number of the Tibetan refugees escaping from Nepal has decreased in the recent years following China’s growing influence in Nepal.
Some information for this report was provided by ICT and AP