The 40,000th exiled Bhutanese to opt the third country resettlement program departed for the United States of America Monday evening.
Devi Maya Gurung of Beldangi-I camp, Sector A-1/146, stood excited as she dreams of starting her new life in Pennsylvania.
“I am hopeful of getting a new life there,” Gurung replied to a query at the transit camp of International Organisation for Migration (IOM), Kathmandu.
“I have heard that the life in America is challenging. But, I am prepared to tackle those challenges, if any,” she added.
Resettlement reaches 40,000 mark
The IOM announced that the resettlement of refugees from Bhutan in Nepal has reached a major milestone today with the departure of 40,000 refugees to various eight resettlement countries.
“Our job is to ensure that refugees depart as quickly as possible. Once a refugee
family has made the decision to apply for resettlement, it is anxious to start new life as soon as possible,” chief of IOM at Damak, David Derthick, said.
According to Darthick, additional 55,000 people have expressed their interest for resettlement to the Unite Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
“This is a tremendous achievement which would not have been possible without the strong support of the Government of Nepal and the countries of resettlement,” said Stephane Jaquemet, the resident representative of the UNHCR in Nepal.
As per the latest statistics furnished today, the United States of America has become the new home for 34,129 refugees as of today. The other countries accepting refugees are Canada (2,333), Australia (2,168), New Zealand (498), Norway (373), Denmark (326), the Netherlands (229) and the United Kingdom (111).
Flexible resettlement quota for US
US ambassador to Nepal, Scott H DeLisi, said that there is no any fixed quota for the American government to accept the exiled Bhutanese from Nepal for resettlement.
“Our initial proposal was for 60,000 refugees,” DeLisi said while addressing a program jointly organized by the UNHCR and IOM.”There is no cap for the number of refugees to be resettled. US government will keep on accepting refugees as long as they express their desire for relocation.”
Responding to reports of suicide cases in the US, envoy DeLisi said the government is serious about loss of a single life in America. “However, I don’t think this becomes an issue for discussion when we are to manage a mass of new lives.”
Interestingly envoy DeLisi revealed that his is a grand-son of an immigrant. “I am happy to inform that resettled people are doing well in America.”
As regard to repatriation, he mentioned that the US government has been stressing that those refugees who want to go back to their homeland must be accepted by Bhutan.
To date, some 72,733 exiled Bhutanese still remain in various UN-administered seven camps in Jhapa and Mornag districts.
Of this, 55,000 are expected to depart from Nepal for relocation in the next four years, according to the UNHCR which claimed it has been referring some 16,000 individual cases for resettlement annually.