The Sorry Saga of Bhutan's North

The Sorry Saga of Bhutan's North
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Monday, July 3, 2006


Nepal may disown refugee categorization
Kantipur Report
KATHMANDU, June 26 - Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs K P Sharma Oli on Sunday said that the government would not stick to the previous agreement reached between Nepal and Bhutan governments to categorize Bhutanese refugees in Nepal if the refugees so desired.
Talking with a delegation of Bhutanese refugee representatives in the capital yesterday afternoon Oli said, "Nepal will back out of this agenda here if you (Bhutanese people) don't accept this provision for the sake of your rights." He also added, "Besides, I have informed the international community that Nepal will not be able to reach an agreement the Bhutanese people cannot accept."
In the past, the then government had accepted the proposal of Bhutanese government to categorize Bhutanese refugees hoping that it would help resolve the problem, Foreign Minister Oli said.
The 10th round of Nepal-Bhutan Ministerial Joint Committee meeting held in capital had decided to form a joint verification team to verify Bhutanese refugees in Nepal. A previous Nepal-Bhutan agreement had put the refugees into four categories - Bhutanese nationals forcibly evicted, Bhutanese who emigrated 'willingly', Bhutanese with criminal records and non-Bhutanese.
Foreign Minister Oli said that Nepal wanted to begin direct and fresh initiative with Bhutan dividing Bhutanese refugees into just two categories - national and non-national Bhutanese - to resolve the crisis by giving up all futile efforts made by the 15th round of negotiations.
"Being a true neighbouring friend, Nepal will send a letter to the Bhutanese government in this regard very soon," Oli said.
Reminding of his recent meetings with Bhutanese foreign minister in Kuala Lumpur and Bhutanese ambassador in his office, Oli said he had told them that since the problem was one between Bhutan and its people, the Bhutanese government should take the responsibility for its people. Nepal would be ready to provide necessary assistance to Bhutan in this regard, he added.
While meeting Oli, Bhutanese refugee leaders Tek Nath Rijal and Thinley Penjore stressed the need for Indian involvement to resolve the problem.
During the meeting, all camp secretaries who arrived from Bhutanese refugee camps in Jhapa and Morang informed Oli about their various problems and miseries in the camps due to lack of essential daily needs and proper care from the government and the international community.
Meanwhile, our correspondent in Jhapa said, ABRSU student wing of Bhutan Communist Party ML (BCP-ML) in Goldhap refugee camp of Jhapa yesterday organized a protest program against the monarchy in Bhutan.
Addressing the mass, Bikash Sharma, central leader of BCP-ML said that his party has been holding massive preparation "to end the Druk monarchy" in Bhutan. "Since there is no possibility of emancipation in Bhutan without launching an armed people's war, we have been carrying necessary preparation to end monarchy in Bhutan," he informed.
He also said that such armed movement would be limited within Bhutan. He requested the government of Nepal not to obstruct them while they carry out peaceful anti-monarch protest programs in Nepal. During the function, refugee artists performed cultural program by dancing with fake guns and khukuris. Thousands of refugees residing in the camp participated in the demonstration and marched around the camps chanting anti-monarch slogans.
Similarly, in the capital, over 50 refugees continued their sit-in protest at the main gate of the UN Office and SAARC Secretariat drawing the attention of the international community to pressurize Bhutan and resolve the problem.

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