(New York) - The government of Nepal should end arbitrary detention, threats and harassment against peaceful Tibetan protesters, Human Rights Watch said today. Government forces are pre-emptively arresting Tibetans in Kathmandu as they attempt to move around the city on foot, in taxis, or on buses. The police have directly threatened several individuals in detention with deportation to China.
“The threat of detention and deportation to China is being used by the government of Nepal to silence peaceful dissent,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Police have used excessive force to disperse some protesters and to arrest others, while beating some of those in detention.”
On March 25, 73 protesters were arrested around 11 a.m. in front of the Chinese consulate in Kathmandu and were detained until around 9:45 p.m. the same evening. Three of the individuals detained received some medical treatment, but were returned to detention while in obvious need of further medical care. Most of those released, along with eight friends, boarded two buses to travel back to their homes in Boudha. Shortly before reaching their destination, the buses were stopped and two Nepal police officers boarded each bus. The buses then reached a roadblock manned by police in front of the Boudha police station, where the passengers were forcibly removed from the buses and beaten as they were dragged into the police station at around 10:15 p.m. One individual was reportedly told by the district superintendent of police that if the person were seen demonstrating again, deportation would follow.
In separate incidents on March 25, Tibetans in the Swayambu area were stopped on the street by police and threatened with violence if they continue to protest.
On March 24 alone, at least 461 people were detained, including 13 Nepali human rights defenders. The government has ignored calls from national and international human rights organizations, including the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, to respect freedom of expression, assembly, and movement.
“Kathmandu has been a sanctuary for Tibetans for decades,” said Adams. “These arbitrary arrests and intimidation tactics go against this tradition and sadly reflect the behavior of Chinese authorities across the border in Tibet.”