The Sorry Saga of Bhutan's North

The Sorry Saga of Bhutan's North
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Friday, May 25, 2007

UNHCR to take initiative for return of Bhutanese refugees back home

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Antonio Guterres has said that he would take the initiative for the return of the Bhutanese refugees living in Nepal back to their country, the National News Agency, RSS reported Thursday.

Addressing a gathering after inspecting the Bhutanese refugees camp at Goldhap, Jhapa in eastern Nepal Wednesday, he said living a life of a refugee was a suffering in itself and gave assurances of taking up the issue during his visit to Bhutan.

On the occasion, he said that it was the Bhutanese refugees who should decide whether they want to return back to their country or to resettle in a third country. The UNHCR was ready to assist them wherever they would live, he added.

Even if the refugees are taken to a third country, Bhutan should always keep its door open for its citizens, he said.

He also disclosed that the census of the refugees had been completed and would soon be made public.

An estimated 105,000 Bhutanese refugees have been living in seven camps in eastern Nepal since the early 1990s.

In November 2005, seven countries -- Canada, Australia, Denmark, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and the United States -- formed a working group to support the UNHCR's efforts.

Source: Xinhua

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