Tibetan asylum seekers face serious dangers not only from the perilous crossing of the Himalayan mountains, but also in attempting to cross the border into Nepal. There is a consistent stream of reports detailing beatings, extortion and sexual abuse by Nepalese border police.
Several months ago a 22-year-old Tibetan girl was serially raped by 12 men led by a man in a police uniform. In a recent interview with TCHRD the girl described the men as being “of large build with a heavy paunch, thick lipped and wicked looking”.
The girl recounted that she was targeted because the men believed her to be the only one in the group of eight asylum seekers who was unmarried. She recalled that she was in great pain and was staggering when she tried to walk.
The others from the girl’s group were in the room next to where she was being raped. Despite being aware of what was taking place just behind the door, none in the group had the courage to do anything to stop it. To have done so would have meant risking deportation to Tibet.
The girl reported that she too did not dare risk being delivered back into the hands of the Chinese which would almost certainly mean arrest and torture. Therefore she endured the rapes in great fear and the hopeless question of why should this happen to her. When this incident came to the notice of the officials of the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees in Nepal, an investigation was carried out to find out the people involved. The investigation is still under way.
The girl has had to undergo treatment since the rapes but has retained her courage and compassion. When it was suspected that she might be pregnant she was asked by officials whether she would consider an abortion. In her own words : “If I have conceived I would not terminate my pregnancy. It is, after all, not the fault of the child so I do not think it is fair judgement to stop the child from becoming. It will not bother me to mother a child. It is fate and fate will take its own turn. I am a Tibetan and I believe in the blessings of His Holiness the Dalai Lama”.