KATHMANDU: Tibetan refugees living in Nepal face tighter curbs on freedom of expression and assembly as the tiny Himalayan nation succumbs to pressure from neighbour China, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said yesterday.
Nepal is home to more than 20,000 Tibetans — for many from as far back as 1959, when their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, fled to India after a failed uprising against China.
In its report, HRW said Tibetans in Nepal faced a “de facto ban” on political protests against China and curbs on public activities promoting their culture and religion. Tibetans interviewed by the rights body accused Nepali security forces of abuses such as excessive use of force, arbitrary detention, intimidation and intrusive surveillance.
“The situation for the Tibetan refugee community in Nepal has markedly deteriorated since China’s violent crackdown on protests in Tibet in 2008,” said HRW’s Asia director, Brad Adams.
“While good relations with China are important, restricting basic rights crosses a red line,” Adams said in a statement.
Nepali officials dismissed the report, denying the accusations of mistreatment. REUTERS