Six-year-old Yagandra Kami flew to Pennsylvania in the United States on Wednesday, becoming the 75,000th refugee from Bhutan to be resettled from Nepal under a major resettlement programme launched in November 2007.
“Today we celebrate this turning point and look back the long way we have come from number one,” said Maurizio Busatti, Chief of Mission of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in Nepal. “Our efforts will continue unabated to prepare the last refugee to settle into his/her new life. IOM is committed to nurturing the team spirit and the model partnership that has marked this program from the start and is at the basis of today’s result”.
Under one of the largest and successful resettlement programmes, more than 63,400 of the refugees have begun new lives in the United States. The other countries to accept refugees are Australia (3,837), Canada (5,296), Denmark (724), New Zealand (710), the Netherlands (326), Norway (546), and the United Kingdom (257), stated a joint press statement issued on Wednesday by IOM and UNHCR.
“This is a tremendous achievement,” said Stephane Jaquemet, UNHCR Representative in Nepal. “It has only been possible due to the incredible generosity of the resettlement countries, the resilience of the refugees, the great support of the Government of Nepal, and the exemplary partnership with IOM.”
The UN refugee agency is responsible for interviewing refugees and referring their names to resettlement countries, while the International Organization for Migration conducts health assessments, organizes cultural orientation courses and transports the refugees from Nepal to their countries of resettlement, added the statement.
The statement further said, UNHCR also provides in-depth and targeted information on durable solutions to the refugees through mobile information counseling in the camps.
With over half the original population resettled, the seven refugee camps in eastern Nepal have been merged to two, Sanischare and Beldangi, added the statement.
UNHCR also stated that it has been receiving a steady stream of Declarations of Interest for resettlement from the remainder of the population.
Amongst the over 41,000 remaining refugees in these camps, some 31,300 have expressed an interest in resettlement. The acceptance rate by the countries of resettlement is over 99%, the highest in the world, according to the report.