Tibet border restriction affects local trade and family gatherings

Temba and his wife Paten Sherpa, permanent residents of Olangchungola in ward 7 of Phaktanglung Rural Municipality, live in an animal shed near Sinjema lake. They raise yaks in the highlands and also provide food and accommodation for visitors. They have three children who study in Phungling, the district headquarters of Taplejung, and in Kathmandu.

The Sherpa couple has been tending to animals in the isolated pasture, situated around 47,700 metres above sea level, just a few hours walk from the nearest human settlement. Their shed is close to the Tiptala Bhanjyang, near the Nepal-China border in Taplejung. There is Riu settlement of Dinggye County of Tibet, an autonomous region of China, just across the border. Riu, which is 35 km from the Nepal-China border, is Paten’s maternal home. While it takes around five hours on foot to reach the Nepal-China border from Sherpa’s shed, by bus it takes one hour. “But I have not been able to visit my maternal home for the past four years. The way to my maternal village is inaccessible as the Nepal-China border remains closed for a long time,” complained Paten.

The Chinese government closed Tiptala Bhanjyang border point amid a coronavirus threat in January, 2020. Due to the protracted border closure, hundreds of locals in the northern villages of Taplejung have been unable to meet their relatives in Tibet for four years now.

Bhujung and Bhomo Sherpa of Mauwatar in Olangchungola have a similar ordeal like that of Temba and Paten. Bhomo, who was born in Tibet, married Bhujung of Bhotkhola Rural Municipality in Sankhuwasabha district. The couple later migrated to Mauwatar and began rearing yaks. They are happy with the income they earn from rearing animals, which supports their livelihood and three children’s education. However, Bhomo has one complaint—the border has become a barrier preventing her from meeting her parents in Tibet.

Temba and Bhujung would frequently visit Tibetan markets for trade, transporting various goods on yaks. During their visits, they formed connections with Tibetan girls, whom they eventually brought back as life partners. “We never imagined that the border would close some day leaving us unable to visit our relatives,” said Bhujung.

The Chinese authorities installed a telephone repeater tower near the Nepal-China border. But it is not useful for the Nepali side. Nepalis living near the border have to trek down to Olangchungola to make a phone call. Although there is a 2G network of Nepal Telecom in Olangchungola, it does not support online communication platforms like WhatsApp and Viber.

“We have to walk for five to seven hours just to make a phone call to my maternal relatives in Riu. It would take me less time to reach my maternal home than to get to Olangchungola. But the closed border is a barrier in my way,” said Paten, who is in her mid-forties.

Tsering Kipa, who has been living in Olangchungola with her husband Dandu Sherpa, is in her early seventies. She has a strong desire to reunite with her maternal family in Tibet. Her husband Dandu also shares her longing and wants to support her. But their wish to visit their relatives in Tibet will remain unfulfilled unless the Chinese authorities reopen the border.

According to Chheten Sherpa Lama, ward chairman of ward 7 of Phaktalung Rural Municipality, there are at least 18 women in Olangchungola and Yangma settlements who have their maternal homes in Tibet. He said that many Tibetan women married to Nepali men from Ghunsa, Phale, Mikkakhola among other settlements as well.

Chheten claimed Nepali side tried their best to reopen the border, but to no avail. According to him, the chief of Dinggye County telephoned him in September last year and informed that the border would reopen soon. Accordingly, the then chief district officer of Taplejung Goma Devi Chemjong distributed border identity cards to the people living in northern villages bordering Tibet.

“We have discussions with the representatives of the county. They tell us that the border will reopen once they get permission from the centre (Beijing). The government of Nepal should talk to the central government of China,” said Chheten.

Trans-border trade and animal husbandry have been hugely affected by the border closure. People living near the Nepal-China border rely on Tibet for their daily essential commodities, as the area has yet to be connected to the national road network. Tibet also serves as a major market for them to sell a variety of products including medicinal herbs and domesticated animals.

Chief of WHO Declares Gaza a “Death Zone”

The Israeli military said Wednesday that it had carried out airstrikes in northern and southern Gaza, as the head of the World Health Organization said the enclave had become a “death zone.”

Israeli media reported that the Israel Defense Forces had announced the death of one soldier killed Tuesday in heavy fighting in northern Gaza, bringing to 237 the number of troops killed in the offensive against Hamas.

The IDF said it had carried out strikes against Hamas targets in Gaza City’s Zeitoun neighborhood, including weapons depots and tunnels. In the south, it reported having killed dozens of militants, including in the Khan Younis area.

Medical aid organization Medecins Sans Frontieres said Israeli forces conducted an operation Tuesday in Al Mawasi, northwest of Khan Younis, where a shelter hosting MSF staff and their families was shelled.

The organization said at least two family members of staff had been killed and six wounded, including two children who suffered burns.

“We are horrified by what has taken place,” MSF wrote on the social media platform X.

U.N. humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths said he was “appalled” by the attack.

“Humanitarians are putting their lives on the line,” he wrote Wednesday on X. “Like all civilians, they must be protected.”

In an opinion piece published Wednesday in the Brazilian newspaper Folha, Griffiths urged G20 members meeting in Rio de Janeiro this week to use their political leadership and influence to help end the war in Gaza, where the Palestinian death toll is approaching 30,000.

“The atrocities befalling the people of Gaza — and the humanitarian tragedy they are enduring — are there for the world to see, documented by brave Palestinian journalists, too many of them have been killed while doing so,” he wrote. “No one can pretend not to know.”

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, said Wednesday that Gaza “has become a death zone.”

“Much of the territory has been destroyed, more than 29,000 people are dead, many more are missing, presumed dead, and many, many more are injured,” he told reporters in Geneva.

WHO has worked this week with the Palestine Red Crescent Society to evacuate patients from the besieged Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis to two field hospitals in southern Gaza. Tedros said they had carried out several emergency missions.

“Around [111] sick and injured patients and at least 15 doctors and nurses remain in the hospital,” he said.

Israel accuses Hamas of operating in and under the hospital.

Cease-fire demands fail

The latest fighting followed the failure Tuesday of the U.N. Security Council to demand an immediate cease-fire, after the United States vetoed an Algerian-drafted resolution that had the support of 13 of the council’s 15 members.

“Demanding an immediate, unconditional cease-fire without an agreement requiring Hamas to release the hostages will not bring about a durable peace,” U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield said of the proposed text.

Algeria first presented the council with its text three weeks ago and delayed a vote to give negotiations led by the U.S., Egypt and Qatar for the release of the hostages time to succeed. But the country’s ambassador said silence was no longer an option.

“We are rapidly approaching a critical juncture where the call to halt the machinery of violence will lose its significance,” Ambassador Amar Bendjama said of Israel’s impending incursion on the southern city of Rafah, where 1.5 million Palestinians are sheltering.

Israel’s envoy called the idea of a cease-fire “absurd” and not a magic solution.

The United States is proposing its own draft resolution, which was presented to council members on Wednesday, diplomats told VOA.

Seen by VOA, it supports a “temporary cease-fire in Gaza as soon as practicable, based on the formula of all hostages being released.” It also objects to an expected major Israeli ground offensive in Rafah, saying “it should not proceed under current circumstances.”

Israel has warned it plans to carry out an offensive on Hamas targets in Rafah before the Muslim holy month of Ramadan if the hostages are not released. Ramadan starts around March 10. Israeli officials have also spoken of evacuations of civilians from the area without providing any detailed plans.

Israel began its military campaign to eliminate Hamas after the group’s fighters crossed into southern Israel on October 7, killing 1,200 people, according to Israeli officials, and taking about 250 others hostage. Hamas, designated a terror group by the U.S., the U.K. and EU, is believed to still be holding about 130 hostages in Gaza, including 30 who are believed to be dead.

As the US vetoes a UN Truce Resolution, Israel pounds Gaza.

Israel kept up its deadly bombardment of war-torn Gaza as Washington vetoed a UN Security Council resolution that called for a ceasefire in the Palestinian territory.
Global powers trying to navigate a way out of the spiraling crisis have so far come up short, and mediation efforts have so far failed to secure a truce to halt the fighting, AFP said.
Adding to Gaza’s woes, the UN’s food agency said Tuesday that it had to stop desperately-needed deliveries to the north of the territory after facing “complete chaos and violence” there — a decision condemned by Hamas.
The World Food Programme had only just resumed deliveries Sunday but said its convoy was met with gunfire, violence and looting, while a truck driver was beaten.
“We are shocked about this decision by the World Food Programme to suspend the delivery of food aid in northern Gaza, which means a death sentence and death for three-quarters of a million people,” the Hamas government media office said Tuesday night.
Calling on the agency to “immediately reverse its disastrous decision”, it said “we hold the United Nations and the international community responsible”.
Since the start of the war between Israel and Hamas, Gaza has been plunged into a food crisis, with outside aid severely restricted.
The UN has repeatedly sounded the alarm over the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza, warning that food shortages could lead to an “explosion” of preventable child deaths.
More than four months of relentless fighting have flattened much of the coastal territory, pushing 2.2 million people to the brink of famine and displacing three-quarters of the population, according to UN estimates.
“We can’t take it anymore. We do not have flour, we don’t even know where to go in this cold weather,” said Ahmad, a resident of Gaza city, where streets are strewn with rubble from destroyed buildings and garbage.
“We demand a ceasefire. We want to live,” he said.
Ceasefire veto
But in New York, Washington vetoed a UN Security Council resolution drafted by Algeria, which demanded an immediate humanitarian ceasefire and the “unconditional” release of all hostages kidnapped in the October 7 attacks.
Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Washington’s ambassador to the UN, called the vote “wishful and irresponsible” as it could put negotiations to free hostages in Gaza “in jeopardy”.
The veto provoked criticism from countries including China, Russia, Saudi Arabia and even close US allies France and Slovenia.
Hamas said the US veto equalled “a green light for the occupation to commit more massacres”.
As world powers voted, Israeli strikes pounded Gaza early Wednesday as fighting on the ground raged on, leaving 103 people dead, according to the Hamas-run health ministry in the territory.
Witnesses reported heavy fire in areas around Gaza, including the south of the territory’s main city Khan Yunis and Rafah near the Egyptian border, where around 1.4 million displaced Palestinians have sought shelter.
Rafah, Gaza’s last city to face a ground invasion by Israeli ground troops, is also the main entry point for desperately needed relief supplies via Egypt.
Qatar, which has played a key role in mediation efforts between Hamas and Israel, said Tuesday that medicines sent into Gaza under a deal co-negotiated by France had reached the hostages held by Hamas, in exchange for a shipment of humanitarian aid.
But overall, negotiation efforts have failed to secure a longterm truce and despite international pressure, Israel has insisted that a ground operation Rafah is essential to destroy Hamas.
The war started when Hamas launched its unprecedented attack on October 7 that resulted in the deaths of about 1,160 people in Israel, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of Israeli figures.
Hamas also took about 250 hostages — 130 of whom remain in Gaza, including 30 presumed dead, according to Israel.
Israel’s retaliatory campaign has killed at least 29,195 people, mostly women and children, according to the latest count by the territory’s health ministry.

Leaders of global humanitarian groups said a ground offensive could turn the Rafah into a “graveyard”, warning of the “truly unimaginable” consequences of a full-scale assault.
Israel has said that unless all the hostages are freed by the start of Ramadan on March 10 or 11, it will push on with its offensive during the Muslim holy month, including in Rafah.
G20 firestorm
On Wednesday, Brett McGurk, the White House coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa — is expected to land in Egypt and then head to Israel Thursday to advance a hostage deal.
McGurk will also reiterate US President Joe Biden’s concerns about an Israeli operation in Rafah, US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said.
Adding to the international chorus of criticism of Israel, Colombian President Gustavo Petro on Tuesday accused Israel of committing a “genocide” of the Palestinians in Gaza — echoing comments made by Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
Lula sparked a diplomatic firestorm with his comments ahead of the G20 summit in Rio de Janeiro opening Wednesday, and Israel have declared him “persona non grata”.

In Singapore, Tibet Air signs a 50-jet contract.

Chinese carrier Tibet Air has finalised its order for 50 jets from China’s state-owned COMAC plane manufacturer.

The paperwork was signed on the sidelines of the Singapore Airshow.

Tibet’s order consists of 40 C919 jets and 10 smaller ARJ21’s which are designed to operate at high altitude airports.

COMAC said the C919 can become an alternative to the single-aisle dominance of the Airbus A320 family and Boeing’s 737 MAX line.

For now, the plane is only certified within China and the four jets currently in operation are flown domestically by China Eastern Airlines. But COMAC said its order book now stands at more than 1,000 for the model.

Israel denounces Lula of Brazil for comparing the Gaza War to the Holocaust.

Israel has condemned Brazil’s president after he accused Israel of committing genocide in Gaza, comparing its actions to the Holocaust.

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said Israel’s military campaign was between a “highly prepared army and women and children”.

Israel’s foreign minister described Lula’s comments as antisemitic and said he was “persona non grata” in the country until he retracted them.

The main Jewish organisation in Brazil has also criticised Lula’s comments.

Speaking from an African Union summit in Ethiopia, Lula said: “What is happening in the Gaza Strip with the Palestinian people has no parallel in other historical moments. In fact, it did exist when Hitler decided to kill the Jews.

“It’s not a war of soldiers against soldiers. It’s a war between a highly prepared army and women and children.”

The veteran left-wing politician condemned Hamas after its gunmen killed at least 1,200 people and seized 253 hostages in a surprise attack on Israel on 7 October.

But he has since been vocally critical of Israel’s retaliatory military campaign, which the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza says has killed more than 28,800 people, mainly women and children.

His latest comments come after Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to press ahead with an offensive in Rafah – the southernmost Gazan city, where some 1.5 million people have fled – in the face of increasing international pressure.

“We will not forget nor forgive,” Israel’s Foreign Minister Israel Katz said in response.

“It is a serious antisemitic attack. In my name and the name of the citizens of Israel – tell President Lula that he is persona non grata in Israel until he takes it back.”

Mr Netanyahu earlier said Lula’s remarks amounted to “Holocaust trivialisation and an attempt to harm the Jewish people and the right of Israel to defend itself”.

“The comparison between Israel and the Holocaust of the Nazis and Hitler is crossing a red line,” he said in a statement.

Six million Jewish people were systematically murdered by Hitler’s Nazi regime during the 1930s and 1940s.

Israel summoned the Brazilian ambassador for a meeting on Monday.

The Brazilian Israelite Confederation – the country’s main Jewish organisation – said Lula’s remarks were a “perverse distortion of reality” which “offend the memory of Holocaust victims and their descendants”.

Lula endorsed South Africa’s case of genocide brought against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) last year.

Judges at the ICJ ruled in January that South Africa’s case against Israel could proceed.

The court instructed Israel to prevent its military from committing acts which might be considered genocidal, to prevent and punish incitement to genocide, and to enable humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza.

But the court stopped short of calling on Israel to immediately halt its military operations in Gaza.

Brazil and South Africa are members of the Brics group of countries – an alliance of some of the world’s most important developing economies brought together to challenge wealthier Western nations.

On the ground in Gaza, the World Health Organization has said the territory’s Nasser hospital has ceased to function following an Israeli raid. The IDF said its operation was “precise and limited” and accused Hamas of “cynically using hospitals for terror”.

Meanwhile, efforts to broker a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas have been taking place in Cairo, though Qatar mediators said recent progress was “not very promising”.

The US suggests a resolution to the UN requesting a “temporary ceasefire” in Gaza.

The United States has drafted a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for a temporary ceasefire in the Gaza Strip “as soon as practical” and opposing an Israeli ground offensive on the southern city of Rafah.

The draft, seen by Al Jazeera on Monday, said the Security Council should underscore “its support for a temporary ceasefire in Gaza as soon as practical, based on the formula of all hostages being released” while also “lifting all barriers to the provision of humanitarian assistance at scale” in Gaza.

The US draft also warns Israel not to launch a ground offensive in Rafah, saying: “The Security Council should underscore that such a major ground offensive should not proceed, under the current circumstances.”

Israel has said it plans to storm Rafah, where more than 1.4 million of the 2.3 million Palestinians in Gaza have sought shelter. Those plans have prompted widespread international concern that such a move would kill large numbers of civilians and sharply worsen the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, which is on the brink of famine, according to the UN.

Algeria, the current Arab member of the Security Council, put forward an initial draft resolution more than two weeks ago, which would demand an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in the Israel’s war on Gaza.

The Algerian draft resolution was due to be put to a vote on Tuesday. US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield previously signalled that it would be vetoed, saying it could jeopardise the “sensitive negotiations” on the captives taken by Hamas and other armed groups from Israel into Gaza on October 7.

The US, Egypt, Israel and Qatar have held negotiations on a potential Israel-Hamas truce and the exchange of captives held by Hamas for Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails.

Reporting from UN headquarters in New York, Al Jazeera’s diplomatic editor James Bays says Washington’s draft resolution appeared to show a significant change in language.

“For the first time, the US is proposing the word ceasefire. … That is significant because Israel did not want the word ceasefire in any resolution, and now it is the US which is proposing it,” Bays said.

Since October 7, Washington has sought to shield its ally Israel from UN action and has twice vetoed Security Council resolutions. But it has also abstained twice, allowing the council to adopt resolutions that aimed to boost humanitarian aid deliveries to Gaza and called for urgent and extended humanitarian pauses in fighting.

“The US draft now raises the idea of a ceasefire but does not say there should be one straight away, …. so this may not be acceptable to the Russians,” Bays said.

Both the US and Russia are veto-wielding permanent members of the council.

Noting Washington’s warning to Israel on launching an operation in Rafah, Bays said it showed that, according to the US, this operation would cause further harm to civilians and also lead to their displacement, particularly into neighbouring countries, which would in turn have serious implications on regional security.

“So something very clearly has changed in Washington in the last 24 hours. They’ve decided to be tougher on Israel,” Bays said.

It is not immediately clear when or if the US draft resolution would be put to a vote.

At least 29,092 people have been killed and 69,028 wounded in the Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip since October 7, according to Palestinian authorities. At least 1,139 people were killed in the Hamas-led attacks on Israel on October 7, according to an Al Jazeera tally based on official Israeli figures.

Updates on Israel’s battle in Gaza: Hamas claims Israel is “not serious” about a ceasefire

A Hamas official says Israel is refusing to withdraw from Gaza, rejecting the return of displaced Palestinians to their homes and failing to commit to allowing enough aid to the territory, leaving nothing to agree on.
UN experts, including the special rapporteur on violence against women and girls, say they are distressed by reports of “multiple forms of sexual assault” against Palestinian female detainees by Israeli forces.
Aid groups say they are working to evacuate dozens of patients and medics trapped inside Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis, which has been put of out service by Israeli forces.
Israel carries out raids deep inside southern Lebanon as cross-border clashes with Hezbollah escalate.
At least 29,092 Palestinians have been killed and 69,028 injured in Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip since October 7, the Health Ministry says.

US will arm Israel in response to possible invasion in Rafah, Gaza: Report

The United States is preparing to send more bombs and other weapons to Israel even as it pushes for a ceasefire in the war on Gaza and has said it opposes Tel Aviv’s plans for a ground invasion in southern Rafah where more than half the enclave’s displaced population is trapped.

The proposed arms delivery includes about a thousand each of MK-82 500-pound (227kg) bombs and KMU-572 Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMs) that turn unguided munitions into precision-guided bombs, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, citing unnamed US officials.

The US is further considering sending FMU-139 bomb fuses, with the total shipment estimated to be worth tens of millions of dollars, which will be paid from US military aid to Israel.

The report cited an assessment of the proposed arms transfer drafted by the US embassy in Jerusalem as saying the Israeli government has requested “rapid acquisition of these items for the defence of Israel against continued and emerging regional threats”.

The assessment also dismisses potential human rights concerns, saying “Israel takes effective action to prevent gross violations of human rights and to hold security forces responsible that violate those rights”.

The administration of US President Joe Biden has so far twice bypassed Congress to urgently send bombs and other munitions to Israel amid the war that has killed more than 28,000 Palestinians, mostly children and women, and left tens of thousands more injured or missing.

According to the WSJ, the US has provided roughly 21,000 precision-guided munitions to Israel since the start of the war last October. It said the remaining weapons are enough to sustain 19 weeks of bombing Gaza, but that would shrink to days if Israel also launches a full assault on Lebanon, where it has been engaged in border fighting with Hezbollah.

On Friday, Biden said he has repeatedly told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu there “has to be a temporary ceasefire” in Gaza during “extensive” conversations this week.

In the face of widespread international condemnation, Israel has insisted it will soon launch a ground invasion of Rafah, the southernmost city in the Gaza Strip that borders Egypt. It is where an estimated 1.4 million of the enclave’s 2.3 million population has been forcibly displaced in Israeli attacks across Gaza in the four-month conflict.

While the Biden administration maintains that an Israeli incursion into the densely packed city would be a “disaster”, it has said that such an operation would not result in tangible consequences, such as a freeze in US weapons transfers.

Biden said he cautioned Netanyahu against moving forward with a military operation into Rafah without a “credible and executable plan” to protect Palestinians sheltering there.

“I anticipate, I’m hoping, that the Israelis will not make any massive land invasion [of Rafah] in the meantime. So, my expectation, that’s not gonna happen,” Biden said.

Reporting from Washington, DC, Al Jazeera’s Kimberly Halkett said it was “unclear” if Netanyahu was listening Biden.

“Historically he has not, especially when it comes to the US cautioning about how to conduct the Israeli military campaign,” Halkett said.

Washington, some of Israel’s other allies, in addition to the United Nations and a slew of rights groups, have said an assault on Rafah given the dire humanitarian situation suffered by Palestinians in Gaza would prove catastrophic.

Netanyahu has ordered the military to draw up plans that would evacuate civilians, but top UN officials have said there is no feasible way of moving people from the area and that there is no safe place left in Gaza.

Israeli defence minister Yoav Gallant said the country is “thoroughly planning” its ground invasion of Rafah, and Netanyahu promised early on Friday to reject “international dictates” on a long-term resolution of Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians.

The rights of women in Afghanistan are still being severely undermined.

Police enforcement has increased harassment in public spaces and further limited women’s ability to leave their homes, according to testimony from 745 Afghan women participating in the latest survey by UN Women, International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the UN’s Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

The insights follow recent reports of the arbitrary and severe enforcement of the hijab decree, particularly in Kabul, the agencies said – which began publishing quarterly consultations with diverse Afghan women a year after the Taliban took power in August 2021.

Since then, the de facto authorities have introduced more than 50 decrees that directly curtail the rights and dignity of women, Friday’s report states.

Consultations took place between 27 January and 8 February, with UN Women, IOM and UNAMA gathering views online and in-person – where it was safe to do so – and via group sessions and individual telesurveys. The agencies were able to reach women across all of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces.

Participants were asked to give views on the period from October to December 2023.

Fears mount
The results show that women fear arrest and the long-lasting stigma and shame associated with being taken into police custody, the report stated.

In addition, over half of women – 57 per cent – felt unsafe leaving the house without a mahram, a male guardian. Risks to their security and their anxiety levels increased whenever a new decree was announced specifically targeting them.

Only one per cent of women indicated that they had “good” or “full” influence on decision making at the community level, a major decrease from 17 per cent in January 2023.

Lack of agency
A lack of any safe public space for women to gather and share views and experiences, build communities and engage on issues they considered important left them “without a pathway to participate in or influence decision making”, the report said.

Women’s self-reported “good” or “full” influence over household decisions has drastically decreased from 90 per cent in January 2023 to just 32 per cent this January.

They continued to link their lack of rights, educational prospects and jobs, to declining influence at home, the report found.

Gender roles and subordination
The women also outlined the intergenerational and gendered impact of the de facto authorities’ restrictions and the accompanying conservative shifts in social attitudes towards children.

Some respondents said boys appeared to be internalizing the social and political subordination of their mothers and sisters, reinforcing a belief that they should remain in the home in a position of servitude.

Meanwhile, girls’ perceptions of their prospects were changing their values and understanding of their future and potential, the findings showed.

International action
Thirty-two per cent of respondents stated that international recognition of the de facto authorities should happen only after reversing all restrictions, while 25 per cent of them said it should follow the reversal of some specific bans and 28 per cent said that recognition should not happen at all, under any circumstances.

In July 2023, a similar question found that 96 per cent of women maintained that recognition should only occur after improvements in women’s rights or that it should not occur at all.

Best way forward
Some respondents expressed deep disappointment with some UN Member States who in their efforts to engage the Taliban, were overlooking the severity of what is an unprecedented women’s rights crisis and the associated violations of international law, based on treaties ratified by previous Afghan governments.

Some respondents argued that one way for the international community to improve their situation would be to link international aid to better conditions for women and to provide opportunities for women to talk directly with the Taliban.

Press Release: Resolve Tibet Act Passes US House with Strong Bipartisan Support

Dharamshala: On 15 February 2024, the US House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the bipartisan Resolve Tibet Bill, officially titled Promoting a Resolution to the Tibet-China Dispute Act (HR 533). The House’s approval of the bill signifies a major achievement for Tibetans and our supporters demonstrating a strong bipartisan support toward Tibet and the Tibetan cause. The bill reaffirms the US policy of supporting direct dialogue between the People’s Republic of China and representatives of His Holiness the Dalai Lama or with democratically elected Tibetan leaders, without any preconditions, to resolve the Tibet-China conflict.

Following the passage of the bill in the House, Sikyong states, “On behalf of Tibetans in occupied Tibet and in exile, I extend gratitude to Representative Jim McGovern and Representative Michael McCaul for introducing the bill along with all the members for supporting this bill in the house. This achievement moves us closer to making the bill into law. We are now positively looking forward to the bill’s approval by the Senate.” Sikyong further adds, “This success reflects the collaborative advocacy efforts of the CTA, the International Campaign for Tibet, Tibetan associations and NGOs, Tibet Support Groups and individuals.”

The enactment of this bill will strengthen and reinforce the Middle Way Approach policy and the Central Tibetan Administration’s commitment to dialogue to resolve the Tibet-China conflict in the best interest of both the Tibetan and Chinese peoples.