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Tibetans Detained In Nepal

Tibetans Detained In Nepal
Tibetans Detained In Nepal
The international community continues to express concern over the arrests of peaceful demonstrators and Tibetan community activists by security forces in Nepal. U.S. State Department deputy spokesman Tom Casey issued a statement following the detention of three Tibetan community leaders, Ngawang Sangmo, Tashi Dolma, and Kelsang Chung on June 19th. The three activists are being held without charge by Nepali authorities. The U.S., said Mr. Casey, is calling for their immediate and unconditional release.

Hundreds of Tibetan refugees have also been arrested in protests outside the Chinese consulate in Nepal. Nepali authorities have reportedly used excessive force in making the arrests. “The ongoing harsh treatment of peaceful protesters during their arrests by the Nepali police is distressing,” said Mr. Casey. He said the U.S. understands and respects Nepal’s national security concerns and the importance of protecting diplomatic premises. Mr. Casey also said that the United States urges 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.”

A joint statement issued by diplomatic missions to Nepal of Austria, Canada, Denmark, France, the European Union, Germany, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States also expressed strong concern over the detention of the Tibetan community leaders and the reported mistreatment of protesters by Nepali police.

Protecting the rights to free speech and assembly, including the right to conduct peaceful public demonstrations, is an important test for Nepal’s new government. Nepal recently abolished its two-hundred-forty-year-old monarchy and established a Constituent Assembly. U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Evan Feigenbaum called it a “very historic leap for Nepal.” But political violence remains a concern. “Our basic message to every party in Nepal,” said Mr. Feigenbaum, “is that the degree to which we can work with parties in Nepal will depend very directly on the degree to which they continue to embrace the political process and abandon violence.”

Nepali security forces too need to use restraint and respect the human rights of Nepali citizens and foreigners alike.