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Nepal Orders Closure of Office of Tibet in Kathmandu


The Nepalese Government has ordered the Office of the Reperesentative of HH the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Refugee Welfare Office in Kathmandu to close.

In a letter addressed to Mr. Wangchuk Tsering, the Dalai Lama's representative in Kathmandu, the Nepalese Home Ministry ordered the immediate closure of the two offices, saying that the offices had failed to register with the Nepalese Government.

Mr. Tsering said that due to the Tibetans' refugee status the Nepalese Government has never made any provosion for Tibetan refugees to register but nevertheless the Nepal Government has allowed the offices to operate since the Dalai Lama fled into exile in India in 1959, and to help ensure the safety and well-being of tens of thousands of Tibetans crossing in Nepal.

The Cabinet of the Dalai Lama's Tibetan "Government in Exile" in India called Mr. Tsering back to New Delhi for furtuer discussion. A Nepali Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Friday, "We don't recognise the Dalai Lama or his representative office in Nepal. The local administration served a notice on them to close because they were not registered." The Representative of the UNHCR and several foreign embassies in Kathmandu have written the Nepalese governemnt expressing regret for the decision. The U.S. based Human Rights Watch has urged Kathmandu to allow the Tibetan Refugee Welfare Office to reopen and continue assisting thousands of Tibetans who still flee their homeland and arrive in Nepal every year.

The Tibetan Reception Center remains open as usual but if closure of the Office of Tibet continues for a long period of time then refugees will face a problem in travelling to India.

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