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US envoy urges Nepal to take own, humanitarian decision on the Tibetan refugee issue

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(TibetanReview.net, Jan13’23) – Following the assumption of power by a pro-China communists-led coalition government, the US ambassador to Nepal has on Jan 12 said his government was keenly watching the country’s initiatives on several significant issues, including the implementation of the $630 million Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Nepal Compact, which China has strongly criticized as a geopolitical challenge to it, and resolving the issue of Tibetan refugees, which he has asserted is humanitarian, not a political one.

Other significant issues the ambassador, Mr Dean R Thompson, has mentioned included the transitional justice process and others like defense cooperation, climate change, and strengthening the democratic process.

“We are not going to be involved in any political process in Nepal,” the kathmandupost.com Jan 12 quoted Thompson as saying, while thanking the government of Nepal for taking in thousands of Tibetan refugees although the country is not part of the Refugee Convention of 1951.

The report noted that Nepal was hosting over 15,000 Tibetan refugees on humanitarian grounds, but had stopped issuing them identity cards since 1995. It added that the UN refugee agency, the US government and the Western bloc had been lobbying with successive Nepali governments for the issuance of the identity cards to the remaining Tibetan refugees in Nepal who remain deprived of basic rights like school and college admissions, opening bank accounts, and doing business, among other things.

Ambassador Dean R. Thompson, US Ambassador to Nepal. (Photo courtesy: Himal Sanchar)

The report noted that due to strong pressure from Beijing, successive governments in Kathmandu had declined to distribute refugee identity cards to Tibetans who entered the country after 1995 and their children.

“Nepal should be able to make its own decisions,” he has said during an interaction with a group of journalists in Kathmandu on Jan 11.

Mr Thompson has noted, “they are facing a very abnormal situation due to the lack of a refugee identity card. Their children are deprived of basic facilities including healthcare and others.

“This is not a political issue; this is a humanitarian issue. The United States is benefitted from refugees coming across the globe. We support them to integrate in society. We will work with the UN agency and others to find a lasting solution for the refugees. They are also human, they need respect. We want to help them,” the US envoy was quoted as saying.

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