Jimmy Carter says China pressuring Nepal on Tibetans

KATHMANDU Mon Apr 1, 2013 9:02pm IST

A Tibetan monk is pictured as he stands behind a tree during the 77th birthday celebrations of their exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama in Kathmandu July 6, 2012. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar/Files

A Tibetan monk is pictured as he stands behind a tree during the 77th birthday celebrations of their exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama in Kathmandu July 6, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Navesh Chitrakar/Files

Related Topics

KATHMANDU (Reuters) - China is putting pressure on Nepal to interrupt the flow of Tibetan refugees into the Himalayan nation, former United States President Jimmy Carter said on Monday.

Hundreds of refugees from the Chinese province of Tibet cross treacherous mountain passes to reach Nepal each year, but as the influence of China grows in its impoverished neighbour, their passage is becoming increasingly difficult.

In the past, Tibetan exiles captured by Nepali police were handed to the United Nation's High Commissioner for Refugees for their onward journey to India, where the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama lives in exile.

But the U.S. statesman said Tibetan exiles were now facing harassment at the border, and called on the government to resist pressure to impede the movement of refugees.

"My hope is that the Nepali government will not accede," he told reporters.

Sandwiched between emerging giants China and India, Nepal has been courted by both its powerful neighbours as it tries to find its feet after a decade-long civil war that ended in 2006.

Nepal is home to around 20,000 Tibetans who have fled Chinese rule in their remote region. In recent years, the Nepali government has crushed protests by Tibetans against China, the country's top donor and key trade partner.

A Tibetan exile set himself on fire and died last month while another also tried to self-immolate but was overpowered last year.

The former president, whose Carter Center observed Nepal's last elections in 2008, arrived last week to encourage political parties to conduct delayed national elections and to push forward a peace process following the war. Carter said his organisation would again observe the polls expected this year.

Last month, political parties appointed the chief justice as the head of a caretaker government to hold elections in June after they failed to agree on a politician for the job [ID:nL4N0BL1FF].

"I think it will not be possible to hold elections in June because a lot of things have to be done before the election," Carter, 88, told Reuters after a meeting with the head of the interim government, election commission and political party leaders.

Nepal needs to update the voters' list and amend several election related laws. Officials say this could take time as the government needs to hold talks with small political parties that are disrupting the collection of the voters' rolls.

Carter said next window for the polls was November after the end of the annual monsoon rains.

The election will produce a special Constituent Assembly tasked to draft Nepal's first constitution after the abolition of the monarchy. The previous assembly was dissolved last year without completing the work.

Carter, who travels widely to conduct peace negotiations, is scheduled to leave for Myanmar on Tuesday on a visit amid concerns over rising religious violence there.

(Reporting by Gopal Sharma; Editing by Rosalind Russell)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Sino-Indian Ties

Reuters Showcase

Trade Row

Trade Row

U.S. to press India on trade row during Modi's Washington visit.  Full Article 

U.S. Monetary Policy

U.S. Monetary Policy

Fed renews zero rate pledge, but hints at steeper rate hike path.  Full Article 

No Ground War

No Ground War

Obama vows U.S. will not fight another ground war in Iraq.  Full Article 

Yes or No?

Yes or No?

Divided, Scots prepare to vote on fate of the United Kingdom.  Full Article 

Champions League

Champions League

Last-gasp Boateng goal hands Bayern win over City.  Full Article | Related Story 

Ebola Outbreak

Ebola Outbreak

Ebola could drain billions of dollars from African economies - World Bank.  Full Article 

Style Icon

Style Icon

Singer Taylor Swift leads People Magazine's best-dressed list.  Full Article 

New Devices

New Devices

Amazon expands Kindle lineup, boosts price of basic e-reader.  Full Article | Related Story 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage