Nepalis left stranded in Latin America

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) faces difficulties to initiate rescue process of Nepalis arrested in Latin American countries as the addresses of the arrestees don’t get established.

Although the countries inform the government on arrest of Nepali nationals and request for their rescue, they don’t provide addresses of those arrested. As the addresses of those arrested have not been ascertained, the MoHA said it is facing problem in rescue and informing their relatives here.

“We have been receiving letters mentioning that Nepalis have been arrested, start the rescue. Our hands are tied in lack of other information,” Acting Chief at Consular Division at MoHA Deepak Adhikari told Myrepublica, “They can be rescued only after their addresses are established. Where should we go to search relatives only with the names? The rescue efforts would be facilitated if family member brings photo, passport and citizenship.”

Recently, the Latin American country Panama informed the government on arrest of five Nepalis and requested to initiate rescue. Those arrested in Panama are Sushil Thapa, Mani Bohara, Dev Khatri, Hom Bahadur KC and Aman Thapa. The letter doesn’t mention any more details than their names.

The letters sent by other Latin American countries are in similar formats.

Latin American countries inform Nepali Embassy in New Delhi through their embassies in the Indian capital. These countries started informing Nepal on arrests after the number of Nepalis arrested on their way to USA illegally surged significantly.
Records reveal that most Nepalis are arrested in Brazil, Panama, Colombia, Guatemala and Costa Rica. Nepalis, in large numbers, are also arrested in Mexico. 

“We have rescued Nepalis as per our resources,” said MoHA Spokespersons Tara Prasad Pokharel. 

Most Nepalis have been arrested in Costa Rica. According to the report of Public Security Ministry of Costa Rica, over 250 Nepalis were arrested in 2014. 

Nepalis arrested in Costa Rica. (Agencies)

Likewise, according to record of Immigration Office of Panama, over 60 Nepalis heading to USA with human smugglers were arrested in 2014. Only 19 Nepalis were arrested in 2013, while 29 were held in 2010.

In Colombia, 13 Nepalis were arrested on a single day.

Those arrested don’t have any legal documents that could reveal their identities. Human smugglers help them enter USA illegally through New Delhi-Thailand-Vietnam-Qatar or United Arab Emirates-Brazil-Bolivia-Peru-Ecuador-Colombia-Panama-Costa Rica-Nicaragua-Honduras-Guatemala-Mexico. 

“Only the names of arrestees are provided to us may be due to language constraints or may be those arrested not possesses any legal documents,” Pokharel said.

Arrested are not rescued

Although Latin American countries request for rescue of Nepalis, the government has failed to rescue stranded Nepalis. According to MoHA, failure to identify relatives here is the major reason for lack of rescue.

Till date, the government is not preparing to rescue those arrested on its own as the rescuing from Latin American countries incurs huge expenses. The government has been turning deaf ear as it believes that the number of people heading for USA illegally will increase further if those stranded are recued with money from state coffers.

Although the government attempts to bring those arrested back to Nepal, they don’t want to return to Nepal. The MoHA had started process to rescue after 34 Nepalis arrested in Costa Rica on September. They were released from jail though honorary consulate. But, they didn’t return to Nepal. Soon after their release, they contacted smugglers and headed to USA.

They are released directing to leave the country within a week. The provision helps smugglers further. Human smugglers help them to reach next country in a week. The journey to USA begins again. 

Source: Republica