Geneva, May 15, 2018: Committee on Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) held its 95th session from 23 April – 11 May 2018 at Palais des Nations in Geneva. During the session, the committee reviewed the State reports of several countries such as Nepal, Mauritania, Kyrgyzstan, Peru, Saudi Arabia and Sweden.
In the Committee’s Concluding Observation on Nepal the committee stated that it “remains concerned that the State party does not have a formal asylum recognition system to ensure the respect of the principle of non-refoulement, and that while it has provided temporary shelter on humanitarian grounds to thousands of refugees from Tibet and Bhutan, it states that it is not in a position to accept any other refugees due to practical considerations. The Committee is further concerned by reports of large numbers of stateless persons in Nepal, and by reports that because identity documents are not provided to Tibetan refugees and their children, including those born in Nepal and who have been living in Nepal for decades, they are exposed to fines, detention and deportation for irregular stay, and are unable to obtain an education, open bank accounts, obtain driver’s licenses, and travel (arts. 2, 5, 6).”
The Committee again urged the State party (CERD/C/64/CO/5, para. 19) “to ratify international instruments relating to the protection of refugees and adopt national legislation conforming to the standards in those instruments. The Committee further recommends that the State party provide identity documents to refugees in its territory. The State party is also encouraged to accede to the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless persons and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.”
In the National report Nepal stated (under the heading “Bhutanese and Tibetan Refugees) that it “was not a party to the Refugee Convention, 1951 and its Protocol, 1967. However, it has provided shelter for Tibetan and Bhutanese refugees on humanitarian grounds. It is not in a position to accept any further refugees because of its internal capacity constraints and other ground realities. The refugees who entered into Nepal before 1990 had been provided refugee status and are free to enjoy the rights and liberty in accordance with the prevailing laws of Nepal. The Ministry of Home Affairs issues travel documents on their request to travel to third countries. So far, more than 4,000 travel documents have been issued. The Government of Nepal, in consideration of the prevailing socio-economic condition in the country, has not been able to accept any further refugees or asylum seekers. Nevertheless, it is making efforts to facilitate the right to education of the foreigners temporarily sheltered in Nepal.”
“The Government of Nepal is very sensitive towards the issues and problems of refugees and is doing its level best to provide them necessary support on humanitarian ground. In this respect, it is working closely with the UNHCR Nepal office. Out of around one hundred fifty thousand Bhutanese refugees, more than 100,000 have been already resettled in the third countries and the remaining are in the process of being resettled. For those who do not wish to resettle in third countries and want to participate in voluntary repatriation, the GON is working closely with UNHCR and IOM to resolve their issues.
In CERD written question to Nepal, the Committee expressed concern on that “Information on the absence of legal protection for refugees and asylum seekers; the availability of appropriate humanitarian assistance for migrants; the availability of personal identification documents for Tibetan refugees (CERD/C/64/CO/5, para. 19; CERD/C/NPL/17-23, paras. 64 and 65).”
– News report filed by the Tibet Bureau, Geneva –