(TibetanReview.net, Jul08’21) – The government of Nepal has failed or refused to commit to respecting and protecting the rights of Tibetan refugees in the country during the United Nations Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of its rights record, said the rights group International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) in a Press Release Jul 7. However, Kathmandu has accepted many recommendations which if implemented will ensure respect for freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, minority right and so on.
The release said the government of Nepal “noted” (i.e. did not accept) important recommendations it received from UN member states regarding Tibetan refugees on 21 Jan 2021, as part of the country’s third UPR cycle. In particular, it failed to accept a key recommendation that called for the registration and verification of all Tibetan refugees, followed by the issuance of identity documents.
Lack of documentation is at the root of many of the challenges Tibetan refugees face in Nepal, including lack of access to education, legal work opportunities, or medical and other government services. This lack of legal status leaves them vulnerable to crime and human rights violations with no recourse before the law, the rights group said.
Kathmandu has also refused to step up efforts in the fight against segregation and discrimination of ethnic minorities, including Tibetans.
Despite evidences to the contrary, Nepal has claimed to be abiding by the fundamental principle which stipulates that no one should be returned to a country where they would face persecution or danger but has refused to accept two other recommendations that called for respect to the principle of non-refoulement.
Nepal has also not accepted all three recommendations calling for the ratification of the 1951 Refugee Convention, and one recommendation that called for the adoption of national legislation in accordance with international standards on the protection of refugees.
The release says that on a positive note, Nepal has accepted many recommendations that, if adequately and effectively implemented, could address some of the human rights challenges that Tibetans face in Nepal. Such recommendations were stated to call on the government to: ensure the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful assembly (six recommendations); protect the rights of vulnerable groups, including ethnic minorities (four recommendations); and protect the rights of persons belonging to religious minorities (one recommendation).
The UPR report of Nepal will be adopted on Jul 8, during the 47th session of the UN Human Rights Council.
“Nepal should be praised for hosting thousands of Tibetan refugees for decades, but this is not enough. Sheltering refugees must also mean giving them full protection in accordance with relevant international human rights principles and treaties. The Nepali government must take urgent steps to grant legal status to Tibetans and ensure their fundamental rights are respected and protected,” FIDH Secretary-General Adilur Rahman Khan has said.