Tibetan refugees in Nepal: Nepal Police identifies a racket involved in issuing Nepali citizenships to refugees

At a time when there is debate over whether Nepal should abstain from issuing formal identity cards to Tibetan refugees, Nepal Police has nabbed a racket involved in issuing Nepali citizenship certificates to them.

Narayan Adhikari

  • Read Time 2 min.

Kathmandu: On 22 March 2023, Nepal Police made public five people for running a racket of providing Nepali citizenship certificates to Tibetan refugees. 

The group was involved in providing citizenship certificates to the refugees with support from employees of the District Administration Office (DAO), Kathmandu, the agency that issues the certificate. 

The racket used to charge Rs 500,000 each to provide the certificate, according to Nepal Police. “The group was involved in managing counterfeit documents to the refugees in the process of acquiring the citizenship certificates for them.”

“The group used to produce fake mother, father, witness, and recommendation letters,” the police said. “The group, however, used to hand over the original certificates to the refugees in collusion with government employees.”

“We have arrested five people in connection with the case,” Manoj KC, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) of Nepal Police said. 

The police have gathered information regarding the involvement of DAO staff in issuing the citizenship certificate to the refugees. “We are now collecting more evidence and taking testimonies of the suspected employees,” the police source told Nepal Live Today

According to Nepal Police, the racket is found to provide at least 30 citizenship certificates to the refugees. 

According to the United Nations, Nepal has between ten and twenty thousand Tibetan refugees. 

The United States has been raising concerns about Tibetan refugees in Nepal. For example, the recently released 2022 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices by the United States Department of State has raised concerns over refugee rights in Nepal. 

“The government continued to limit freedom of association and peaceful assembly for members of the Tibetan community.  The government relaxed this posture on certain culturally important events, such as the Dalai Lama’s birthday, and Tibetan Losar (New Year),” states the report. “The government continued deploying police to Tibetan settlements to monitor politically important events, including Tibetan Uprising Day and Tibetan Democracy Day.”

The government has not issued personal identification documents to Tibetan refugees in more than 25 years, leaving most of this refugee population without the required documents to present at police checkpoints or during police stops, reads the report. “Lack of documentation also inhibited Tibetans’ ability to travel abroad. Some refugees reported being harassed or turned back by police at checkpoints. The government also restricted the movement of urban refugees of various nationalities whom the government considered irregular migrants.”