The Sorry Saga of Bhutan's North

The Sorry Saga of Bhutan's North
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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Camp secretaries welcome US offer for Bhutanese refugees

Camp secretaries welcome US offer for Bhutanese refugees

Notwithstanding the displeasure of Bhutanese refugee leaders, secretaries at six Bhutanese refugees camps in Jhapa welcomed the US offer to take in at least 60,000 refugees over the next few years.
Speaking at an interaction organized in Birtamod on Monday, secretaries Manoj Rai of the Khudunabari camp, Hari Bangale Adhikari of Beldangi camp-1, DP Pradhan of Beldangi camp-2, Manorath Khanal of Beldangi camp-3, Parshuram Nepal of Timai camp and Ram Chandra Sapkota of Goldhap camp heartily welcomed the proposal.
Saying that no good would come of the speeches of refugee-affiliated political parties and organisations, they pointed out that pressure upon Bhutan could be brought to bear for repatriation even after going to the US.
However reports quoted chairperson of the Bhutan Peoples' Party Balaram Poudel as saying that all the refugees in the camps want to go their own country rather than to the US.
He described the US proposal as a conspiracy to create division among refugees.
Bhutanese human rights leader Tek Nath Rijal has criticized the offer saying that it was "in favor of Bhutanese King and against Bhutanese people."
"The US along with the international community is working to defend the Bhutanese King," he accused.
He said it was wrong to spread rumors about resettlement without stressing on repatriation.
Around 106,000 Bhutanese refugees are languishing in seven UNHCR administered camps in eastern Nepal since early 1990s.
Fifteen rounds of bilateral negotiations between the Bhutanese and Nepalese governments have failed to resolve the refugee impasse. pb Oct 10 06

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