June 3, 2005

Tibet: UN Concerned over the Closure of Tibetan Refugee Centre in Nepal

Adopting a concluding observation on Nepals second report to the Committee, the UN regretted that there was no domestic legislation in the Nepal that covers the rights of refugees and asylum-seeking persons
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Geneva, 03 June - The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child today expressed concern over the closure of the Tibetan Refugee Centre and on refoulement of Tibetan refugees to the Chinese authorities by the Kingdom of Nepal. Adopting a concluding observation on Nepal’s second report to the Committee, the body regretted that there was no domestic legislation in the Kingdom that covers the rights of refugees and asylum-seeking persons.

As to the situation of Tibetan refugees the Committee expressed concern over “the reports of deportation of Tibetan asylum seekers to China by Nepal, including unaccompanied minors, and the closure of the Tibetan Refugee Welfare Office in January 2005.”

In the 26-page concluding observation on Nepal, the Committee highlighted the importance of the role of civil society in the full implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and recommended that Nepal “remove all legal, practical and administrative obstacles to the free functioning of civil society organizations” in the country.

On refugee status determination, the Committee expressed concern about “the rule that refugees status can only be sought by certain categories of asylum-seekers, specifically, the Tibetan who arrived in Nepal before 1990.” The Committee also urged Nepal to “as a matter of priority, review its policy regarding birth registration of refugee children and ensure that all children of refugees and asylum seekers born in the State party are issued with birth certificate.”

The 34th session of the Committee on the Rights of the Child which took place from 17 May to 2 June, 2005, at the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, also recommended that the Kingdom of Nepal, “ratify, as a matter of priority, the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, 1954 Convention on the Status of Stateless Persons and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.”

By Ngawang Drakmargyapon, UNPO Geneva Representative

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