Tibetans in Nepal 'sitting ducks' as China presses Kathmandu to sign extradition treaty
Phayul[Tuesday, October 08, 2019 21:28]
By Tenzin Dharpo

Tibetan refugees in Nepal manhandled by Nepalese police. File Photo- AsiaNews
Tibetan refugees in Nepal manhandled by Nepalese police. File Photo- AsiaNews
DHARAMSHALA, Oct. 8: Tibetan exiles in Nepal are set to be further endangered as Beijing is pressing the Kathmandu government to sign an extradition treaty during the Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to the country in mid October for talks.

The extradition treaty if signed will allow the two nations to extradite criminals or suspected individuals. China will most likely target exile Tibetans in Nepal, many of whom are already restricted over the years following China’s growing influence in the small Himalayan country.

Kathmandu based Khabarhub reported on October 4 that a draft of the treaty has been prepared and that a Council of Ministers needs to endorse it before it is signed. While there is no confirmation if the Nepalese cabinet has approved the treaty or not but Beijing is adamant that the two countries put pen to paper during Xi’s visit to Nepal in the next few days.

Khabarhub
cited an unnamed expert warning the Kathmandu government to not sign the treaty under pressure. “While Nepal has not endorsed such an agreement with India, China is pressing Nepal to sign the treaty during the high-level visit. Such issue is of serious nature and treaties of this nature need to be discussed thoroughly across the political spectrum before being finalized,” the expert said.

Researcher at Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy Tenzin Dawa told Phayul that such a treaty will be detrimental to Tibetans in Nepal. She said, “If a treaty of this nature gets passed, it is imperative that Nepal government should take into account the international human rights standards particularly the principle of non-refoulement of international refugee law. Signing extradition bill would definitely show how The judicial independence of Nepal is at stake.

“Nepal in the past have not been a safe country for Tibetan refugees to reside moreover, I think the human rights situation of Tibetans will be worse given the no. of undocumented Tibetans.”

Phayul has also learned that over 80 Tibetans in Nepal have already been blacklisted ahead of the Chinese President’s visit to the country. A source also told Phayul that people who have earlier been associated with pro-Tibet activities and even celebration of the Dalai Lama’s birthday will be either detained or kept under close supervision by Nepalese special forces during the entirety of Xi’s visit.

China’s push in gaining extradition passage in other countries for so-called “criminals” has been severely criticised as a tool for Beijing to target dissidents and pro-democracy activists. The ongoing clash between Hong Kong residents and the police was sparked by pressure from Beijing to pass a legislation that allows extradition of individuals from Hong Kong to China.

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