US concerned over treatment of Tibetan demonstrators in Nepal

May 1st, 2008 - 4:26 pm ICT by admin  

Kathmandu, May 1 (DPA) The United States Thursday said it was concerned over the use of force and detention of Tibetan protestors during anti-China demonstrations in the Nepalese capital. The US concern was raised during a meeting between Nepalese Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala and the US envoy to Nepal Nancy Powell.

“Ambassador Powell expressed official US concern about the treatment of Tibetans by Nepali authorities,” the US embassy in Kathmandu said.

“She urged the prime minister to ensure that the right to peaceful protest was maintained and that the human rights of Tibetans in Nepal are respected.”

The US concern followed growing protests by Tibetan exiles in Nepal against Chinese rule in their homeland and the recent crackdown against demonstrators.

Human rights organisations have accused the Nepalese police of using excessive force to break up demonstrations and sexually assaulting Tibetan women demonstrators.

“As protests over China’s abuses of Tibetans intensify in Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, police continue to arbitrarily arrest, detain, and mistreat record numbers of Tibetans in violation of their rights to freedom of expression and assembly,” the US based Human Rights Watch said in April.

The protests first erupted on March 10 and since then Nepalese police had detained more than 2,500 Tibetans for protesting peacefully, or simply because they appeared to be Tibetan, HRW said.

Nepal is home to more than 20,000 Tibetan refugees who started arriving in the country in the late 1950s following an abortive uprising in Lhasa.

According to human rights organisations, nearly 3,000 Tibetans still cross over into Nepal from Tibet each year risking their lives traversing the high Himalayas.

Tibetans have been involved in protests around the United Nations and Chinese embassy in Kathmandu almost daily since March 10, calling for a free Tibet and for the UN to investigate the recent troubles in Lhasa.

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