Pitfalls in Appropriating Human Rights Discourses?: A Case Study of Tibetan Refugees in India (and Nepal)

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 15:00
Location: Hörsaal 21 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Tatsuya YAMAMOTO, Shizuoka University, Japan
This presentation explores problems which Tibetan refugees encounter when they appropriate human rights discourses. Central Tibetan Administration in Dharamsala, India, has been utilizing human rights discourses to describe Tibetan issues since the 1980s. Especially, it has been considering the situations in Tibet as lacking human rights for Tibetans, while positing their guest countries as providing more freedom. However, this dichotomy unintentionally dilutes the importance of Tibetans’ voices in Nepal, which is bookended by India and China. Since the 2010s, situations surrounding Tibetans in Nepal have been getting more severe, and these situations such as forbiddance of social gatherings and forcible deportation to China by the Nepal government clearly show that they have not been provided with human rights. Moreover, we easily find Tibetans in Nepal who have been socially overlooked by both the Nepal government and CTA.  Most of them are Tibetans who have been exiled from Tibet with difficulty. Unfortunately, these Tibetans cannot find any places to fit in Nepal because the Nepal government doesn’t officially allow them to live as refugees in Nepal and CTA also has not issued a certificate for these Tibetan refugees due to lack of proper documentation to get this certificate. Ironically, CTA itself has failed to hear the voices from the weak and reinforced the lack of human rights to some Tibetans without the certificate. Dichotomy surrounding policy and human rights produced by CTA unintentionally removes chances for Tibetans’ claims about their turmoil. These Tibetans find themselves in difficulty to voice their opinions because of this dichotomy. This presentation argues that these are situations caused by unintentional re-victimization by the dichotomy based on human rights discourses appropriated by CTA, and points out pitfalls in appropriating human rights discourses, which might lead to the oversimplification of the situations.