In late May of 2003, Nepalese authorities in Kathmandu deported 18 Tibetan refugees who had fled over the Himalayas seeking human rights and religious freedom. International law, as well as a long-standing “gentlemen’s agreement,” dictates that such refugees are handed over to the UN, which then relocates them in India. As Nepal has a long and admirable history of assisting Tibetan refugees, this act was unprecedented and alarming.
Ethical Traveler’s proposed boycott of tourism to Nepal—launched in partnership with the Tibet Justice Center—was put on hold after the Nepalese government demonstrated its willingness to treat subsequent Tibetan refugees with respect for international law.
The issue is by no means closed. Nepal is still under enormous pressure from neighboring China, which seeks to thoroughly restrict and intimidate Nepal’s Tibetan community.
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