European Parliament asks Nepal to let Tibetan refugees vote

April 9th, 2011 - 1:58 pm ICT by IANS  

Kathmandu, April 9 (IANS) Strongly reacting to Nepal forcibly preventing Tibetan refugees from taking part in an election to choose a new “government-in-exile”, the European Parliament (EP) has asked the communist government of Nepal to allow the refugees to vote, calling it a fundamental right that must be upheld, protected and guaranteed.

The EP issued a resolution Thursday, saying though more than 82,000 exiled Tibetans across the world were invited to vote last month to elect a new Kalon Tripa-prime minister-of the Tibetan government in exile, Nepal did not allow several thousand Tibetans in Nepal to take part in the exercise, under increasing pressure from the Chinese government.

It said the unique internal election process had existed since 1960 and was important for the strengthening and preservation of the Tibetan identity both inside and outside Tibet.

The European Union High Representative in Kathmandu has been asked to address the concerns about the actions taken by the Nepal government to block the Tibetan elections, with Nepali and Chinese authorities.

The EP also urged Nepal, which has been preventing the Tibetan diaspora from holding prayer meets and celebrating the birthday of their exiled leader, the Dalai Lama, to respect the refugees’ right to freedom of expression, assembly and association as guaranteed to everyone in Nepal by international human rights conventions, to which Nepal is a party.

The EP is also seeking an end to preventive arrests and restrictions on peaceful expression and assembly by the Tibetan community, saying such rights and religious freedom should be included in Nepal’s new constitution, due to be promulgated May 28, 2011.

Stepping up diplomatic pressure on Nepal, the EP said the government should resist the pressure exerted by the Chinese government to “silence” the Tibetan community in Nepal using restrictions “which are not only unjustified but also illegal under domestic and international law”.

It has asked the European External Action Service through its delegation in Kathmandu to closely monitor the political situation in Nepal, especially the treatment of the Tibetan refugees and respect for their constitutionally and internationally enshrined rights.

Nepal says demonstrations by Tibetans violate its ‘One China’ policy and has repeatedly assured Chinese authorities that it would not allow ‘anti-Beijing activities’.

The EP said Nepal police have repeatedly been reported as violating Tibetans’ basic human rights and the overall situation of many refugees in Nepal, in particular Tibetans, gave cause for concern.

(Sudeshna Sarkar can be contacted at

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