Tibetan refugees mark 55 years in exile

Tibetan refugees gather to mark five decades of exile in Nepal.

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    Tibetan refugees mark 55 years in exile
    Before 2008, as many as 2,000 Tibetans were arriving in Kathmandu each year [Omar Havana/Al Jazeera]

    Kathmandu, Nepal - Thousands of Tibetan refugees gathered on the 66th International Human Rights Day on December 10 to raise awareness about the situation of Tibet and to celebrate their 55 years in exile in Nepal at the Srongtsen Bhrikuti Boarding School in Tinchuli, Kathmandu, Nepal.    

    [Omar Havana/Al Jazeera]

    More than 20,000 Tibetans currently reside in Nepal, many of whom have been there since the exile of the Dalai Lama from Tibet in 1959. 

    [Omar Havana/Al Jazeera]

    Before 2008, as many as 2,000 Tibetans were arriving in Nepal each year, trekking across Himalayan mountain passes to reach the country. The number dropped to less than 200 per year by 2013. 

    [Omar Havana/Al Jazeera]

    Many of them then cross into India, where they are given political asylum, as they are denied identity documents, access to free education, health services and livelihood opportunities by Nepali authorities. 

    [Omar Havana/Al Jazeera]

    The flight of Tibetan citizens began during the Chinese Maoist government’s expansionist policy between 1949 and 1959, with many fleeing to India and some to Nepal. 

    [Omar Havana/Al Jazeera]

    After the 1959 Lhasa uprising, Nepal opened its borders for Tibetan refugees, resulting in a significant increase in the number of Tibetans entering Nepal. 

    [Omar Havana/Al Jazeera]

    However, following the signature of a treaty between Tibet and China in 1986, the flow of refugees into Nepal was substantially reduced. 

    [Omar Havana/Al Jazeera]

    New and even stricter border control policies enacted by Nepal in 1989 due to Chinese pressure resulted in even greater restrictions on the ability of Tibetan refugees to enter Nepal.

    [Omar Havana/Al Jazeera]

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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