Nepal police beat Tibetan protestors, UN concerned

March 17th, 2008 - 4:35 pm ICT by admin  

By Sudeshna Sarkar
Kathmandu, March 17 (IANS) The UN in Nepal Monday said it was concerned that Nepalese police could have used excessive force on unarmed Tibetan protesters and would investigate the assault of a monk that left the 30-year-old with head injuries. The monk, Tseten Dorjee, managed to flee from Tibet to Kathmandu. But here the , police in riot gear and wielding wooden batons beat him up in front of the UN headquarters for protesting against Beijing’s use of force on demonstrators in Lhasa.

Blood streaming down his face, the red-robe clad monk stood stoically on the street, surrounded by policemen and his peers, who raised slogans for a free Tibet.

A spokesman from the office of the UN resident and humanitarian coordinator Robert Piper told IANS that the UN was concerned that “excessive force may have been used to disperse the protesters” in Nepal.

He said the UN was following it up with the concerned authorities in Nepal.

Meanwhile, the spokesman at the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Marty Logan, said his agency was also investigating Monday’s protest by Tibetans before the UN headquarters here, including the “police response to the protests and whether the instructions given to police were in accordance with human rights standards”.

Logan also said the probe would seek to see if the right to freedom of expression and assembly were respected or violated.

The UN reaction came after three peaceful protests by the Tibetan diaspora in Kathmandu were brutally broken up by riot police.

Over 100 Tibetans, including refugees, monks and young men and women who had come from India and Tibet, Monday sat in protest for the third day before the UN office, demanding an investigation into Chinese crackdown on protesters in Lhasa last week, in which between 20 to 80 people are feared killed.

“China lie, Tibetans die,” read a placard held by a young Tibetan, who had a red bandanna round his head that said “Free Tibet”.

“Tibet not politicising Olympics, China showing true brutal nature,” read another placard.

Tenzing Shedup, 28, who came to Nepal as a three-year-old in the arms of his fleeing parents, said after last week’s protests before the Chinese Embassy and the UN office that they had resumed the demonstrations as an ultimatum issued by the Chinese government was nearing expiry.

The Tibet Autonomous Region High People’s Court, Tibet Autonomous Regions High People’s Procuratorate and Tibet Autonomous Region Public Security Department issued the ultimatum two days ago, warning protesters that those who voluntarily surrendered by midnight March 17 would be let off with a light punishment while “criminal elements who did not submit” would be “punished severely according to law”.

The International Campaign for Tibet, which is fighting for Tibetans’ rights, alleges that last week’s attacks on protesters, who were mostly young people and monks, were instigated by officials from the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu.

China, grappling with protests in Tibet and the blaze of negative publicity ahead of the Olympic games in August, is especially concerned about the demonstrations in Kathmandu.

With UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon having expressed his desire to visit Nepal next month to observe the crucial constituent assembly election, protests by Tibetans would generate even wider publicity.

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