Nepal and China have signed an extradition treaty, Nepal’s foreign affairs minister confirms.
Extradition agreement signed in secret formalising handover of nationals entering each other’s countries
The Chinese and Nepali governments have signed an extradition agreement in secret. The news was broken by Nepali news sources.
The agreement commits both China and Nepal to handing over nationals attempting to enter each other’s countries without the knowledge of border security, Tibet Watch has said.
The deal was reportedly the first topic of a twenty-point agreement signed during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Nepal in October last year, but the extradition deal was kept from the public.
Nepal’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Pradeep Gyawali has now given a written clarification to members of parliament which confirmed China and Nepal did sign the agreement in October, Khabarhub said.
There was alarm in Nepal around the October meeting that an extradition treaty would be signed by the two nations, but it was then reported at the time that the extradition agreement did not go ahead.
Tibet Watch has expressed concern about the impact the agreement will have on Tibetans, who for years had been granted safe passage to India due to an agreement between Nepal and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). As part of the agreement, UNHCR would assess the Tibetan asylum seekers' needs and then facilitate onward travel.
The right for people to seek asylum to escape persecution in another country is enshrined under international law. The situation is complicated for Tibetans due to efforts by Chinese security forces to prevent them from crossing the border, requiring them to attempt to make the crossing secretly.
However, over the past two decades, the Government of Nepal has been forcibly returning Tibetans seeking asylum.
Diplomatic cables from 2009 and 2010 and later published by Wikileaks show that Beijing offered financial incentives for the handover of Tibetan asylum seekers in Nepal and also pressed the Government of Nepal to increase its border patrols.
“This extradition agreement between Nepal and China will put Tibetans in an even more vulnerable situation because the Nepalese border is the most popular… route for Tibetans seeking asylum,” Tibet Watch said.
“These Tibetans [who leave Tibet for Nepal] are now subject to intense fear of deportation and threat for their life.”