Thinley’s verbal assurance will remain as it is : Paudyal

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Prime Minister Jigmi Y Thinely, who paid his three-day visit to Nepal as SAARC chairperson, said Bhutanese refugees in the UN-monitored camps of Jhapa and Morang were refugees, but not Bhutanese refugees. Organizing a press meet in Kathmandu on Saturday PM Thinely said, “They are economic refugees. They are environmental refugees. They are refugees of political instability. They are victims of circumstances that are beyond their control.” As he wrapped up his visit, Vidhyapati Mishra of Bhutan News Service talked to Bhutan Peoples’ Party President, Balaram Paudyal, on issues raised by the PM’s visit. Paudyal opined that nothing miraculous will be seen in near future. He said that Thinley’s verbal assurance to resolve the refugee issue will remain as it is. According to him, the refugees will see nothing in action. However, changes around the world indicate that Bhutan will not remain intact forever, he said. Excerpts:

How do you evaluate the recent visit of Prime Minister Jigmi Y Thinley to Nepal?
Paudyal : As regard to the issues of bilateral cooperation and South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), his visit was fruitful. However, nothing happened on the refugee issue except his verbal assurance to resume the installed bilateral talks. He presented his similar tone as he did in his last visit to Nepal. I am not optimistic that anything positive will happen in the near future.

Your party issued a statement hinting that Thinley’s government would not resolve the refugee issue. What is the logic?
Paudyal : Thinley was the head of government before holding the so-called general election. His government was loyal to the king and crown. Later in 2008, the country witnessed a democratic transformation, though we don’t call it democracy, and new government was formed with people’s representation. Interestingly, he was promoted to the same executive post to serve the autocratic king and his family. Thus, nothing can be expected from his government as regard to finding a permanent solution to the refugee issue.

BPP President Paudyal

PM Thinley even said that his government would do nothing if more people decide to leave the country. How do you comment on this?
Paudyal : We have been saying that around 80,000 Nepali-speaking Bhutanese are under the threat of eviction. The international community was not taking this issue seriously. But, today Thinley clarified Bhutan is preparing to expel more citizens into exile. How can citizens who have been there for generations decide to leave the country? His statement explains that the situation for Nepali-speaking citizens is extremely bitter for their survival. Thus, we fair more expulsion by his government.

He ruled out India’s involvement in the issue. What is your comment?
Paudyal : Definitely, India is not need to resolve the refugee issue. But, for this Bhutan needs to be sincere and committed. The past has shown clearly that Bhutan lacks both sincerity and commitment. So, India is a must in this issue. Bhutan wants to prolong the issue by playing various tactics with the Government of Nepal. Thus, he ruled out any third party involvement in the issue. Further, the refugee issue is a matter to be finalized between refugees and Bhutan. So, Nepal must play a mediating role to involve refugee leaders in the bilateral talks.

Seems enough has not been done to press Bhutan to accept the citizens?
Paudyal : Of course, Bhutan has not felt pressure from the international community and powerful nation to resolve the long-standing refugee stalemate. However, Bhutan has been under pressure in the recent year. But, this is not sufficient. Bhutanese citizens have bigger role to pressurize the government.

What is your party doing then?
Paudyal : It is known to everyone that we are in a third country. Fighting for changes in Bhutan from Nepal is not as easy as any person thinks of. Besides, India has stood as the biggest barrier. Refugees and political parties in exiles have been playing their own part. The mission is still on. We hope that one day we’ll be able to bring changes in Bhutan.

Paudyal

Has the third country resettlement hindered the ongoing struggle for change?
Paudyal : I can’t say that the resettlement has disturbed our activities. Those who have resettled also want changes in Bhutan and wish to repatriate when a congenial environment is created inside Bhutan. The resettled folks are alert and we expect their supports and contributions whenever we need their support.

Should bilateral talks be continued?
Paudyal : Decisive bilateral talks are important on the refugee issue. Thinley’s visit to Nepal was planned before a month. When he arrived in Nepal, he told the Government of Nepal that he wants to sit for bilateral talks. But, he didn’t mention any date for holding such discussions. We must understand that he is not sincere in his words. Otherwise, he could have come to Nepal with proper homework regarding the resumption of the bilateral talks.

What Nepal should do then?
Paudyal : Nepal must form a permanent taskforce to hold discussion with refugees and their leaders, and according mediate the talks with the Bhutanese authority. Or, Nepal must formally invite India to get involved in the issue. If this also fails, the issue should be immediately internalized. This is what we have been advocating for years.

Do you think that something miraculous will happen very soon?
Paudyal : Nothing as such will be seen in near future. Thinley’s verbal assurance to resolve the refugee issue will remain as it is. Refugees will see nothing in action. However, changes around the world indicate that Bhutan will not remain intact forever. Changes will definitely come in Bhutan one day.

14 COMMENTS

  1. Well, it’s not so bad. But, one day, someday or in many days, changes in Bhutan is inevitable and that is what Mr. Balaram had said in this interview. Does it have any different connotation from what Prime Minister Thinley said on the resumption of bilateral talks on the refugee issue? Talks will he resumed but not known when, someday, one day or in many days. What’s the different?

    Whatever it is, Balaram claiming “80,000 Nepali-speaking Bhutanese” again going to be evicted from the country is one of the contentious issues noted in the interview. It is not only the Nepali speaking people, but there are also people from other communities who are equally suffering, though smaller in number and size, in the land of GNH, where the youngest democracy has been applauded and appreciated from all walks of life. Anyone, specially the so-called leaders, seeking national change and gross national justice to every Bhutanese irrespective of their race, religion, faith, ideology and background, should also learn how to see, project and promote the actual position of the country through national prospective in the interest of country’s national sovereignty, territorial integrity, social harmony and religious tolerance.

    True democracy in any country is neither practical to demand by a single section of society nor it is established only for a section of society. Willingly or unwillingly, it’s the common destination of every citizen of a country, where the constitution defines the role and responsibility of every individual citizen and ensures their basic rights and fundamental freedoms.

  2. I appreciate Your logic Gyelsar Dondup!
    Democratic Government under JYT is running high and dry preaching the philosophy of GNH – from Thimphu to Brazil to Japan to Vermont (USA) and more in the pipeline to go……sooner or later.
    On the other hand in the land of GNH people are suffering and who is there to oversea/evaluate these silent sufferings in the far flung villages.JYT and his team see Bhutan and Bhutanese people Happy within the Thimphu-Paro valley only. Thousands are suffering elsewhere throoughout Bhutan are still unaccounted for.
    At this hour People projecting themselves as the SAVIOUR of commoners must rise above their political philosophy and think for the Bhutanese people as a whole in the true sprit of a leader rather taking one region as their political agenda.
    I understand thousands of norbus,dondups tobgays and dorjis are are suffering.No body hearing their cry for justice like to thousands of their countrymen bahadurs ,parshads and many others. So it is imperative to build a national strategy to liberate bhutanese people from the yolk of JYT and his policies. I call our leadership to think about Bhutanese people although repatriation of refugees forms a part of it.
    comeon wake up my countrymen and save the soverignity of Bhutan. Let JYT do no business with the soverignity of Bhutan.

  3. The whole world is monitoring each and every step of JYT. He is under the surveillance camera of democracy. People are seeing his democracy is failing each day. Change in Bhutan is inevitable, sooner or later Bhutanese people, irrespective of caste, colour, creed, and political belief, will be emancipated from the century old yoke of the fuedal regime. Therefore, Dondup and Birodhi, the need of the hour is to keep on advocating our cause and strengthening the voice of the people.

  4. Paudyel, very good self-fulfilling prophecy. Able ones will repatriate or be leaders and live comfortably. JYT will always remain smart and outdo all koiralas and khanals. India will always be behind Bhutan. May be it’s time to create a few more martyrs like Budhathoki. may be Bhutan deserves it’ prosperity and happiness. All we can do is slander & I wonder how much impact it can make.

  5. I am a Bhutanese and sometimes resent the way things work here, but never has it crossed my mind to go on the other side and look for self pity and complain about it, because it is not as bad as what Bhutan is being projected by the ones who have moved over elsewhere. The likes of Gandhiji, would have never achieved his goal of Independence from the British, if he had stayed back in south Africa and continued his Freedom struggle. Likewise,any genuine struggle of the masses would demand a lot more commitment and self sacrifices in order to move in that direction.

    The people who have crossed over and call themselves refugees, are yet to be honest to their self esteem, and they know that very well,but still prefer to lead that lifestyle and incite their younger generation with stories of forceful eviction which is untrue.

    The few that have been accepted by various Countries as refugees on basis of moral sympathy will always live there not as a citizen of that Country but as an individual with a Bhutanese tale to tell.

    I for sure know that any Bhutanese who cannot live in Bhutan, will never be able to accept the realities of living in any part of the world. Therefore, I request everyone in that category to forget about Bhutan, and move on with your life and leave us alone.

  6. Kaarjam,
    I find your comments lack subsubstance in terms of referring people.One thing is sure we are Bhtanese citizen and no one have the rights to say us forget about Bhutan.
    Our fight is not with the Bhutanse mass irrespective of the region,language, religion but it is purely against the autocrats ruling Bhutan for years.
    As we see we have been humble and the regime made milage of it.Sooner or later Bhutan will experience the change that supports the will of the people at large and not the handful of elites within the rich valleys.People up in the mountains will have to understand the reality and you as a educated bhutanese must analyze things on how things are going in Bhutan.
    I understand many educated Bhutanese feels the humilations met under the regime and Y Thinley’s government, at the same time they fail/hesitate to express openly as they understand the feelings their southern Bhutanese counterparts. I don’t blame them but time will definetly makethem wake and make the streets busy oneday against the regime and then the regime will crumble down as did so many dictators and autocrats around the globe.
    Please at thi time I sicerelly appeal to you my brother not to draw conclusions as the game is not over.
    Tashi Delek!

  7. I clearly understand your views, if you are a true citizen with a Bhutanese instinct, then your comments would be harmless,as we lead a life that is different from any other race, but if you are being influenced by the Nepali instincts, then its dangerous… because we know that it can even bring down a king who has been revered as god, and plunge a Country into utter care-hose, which is what we don’t need. I don’t for a moment, think that people of your opinion were ever born to be a freedom fighter, if so, then one would be right here taking on the challenge head on, for ones cause.

    In another decade, I for see that your younger generation will lose that momentum, as they are pretty badly affected in terms of proper education and a healthy lifestyle, for which your cause might be held responsible for their misery in their lives.

    Even Osama had an ideology,but in the end he landed up just being a meal for the sea creatures.
    The secret in life is to make ones own adjustments to be able to live in any kind of society, but definitely, opposing it will not solve the problem my friend.

  8. had it been the fault of bhutan that lead to the refugees problem in Jhapa, then Bhutan could have faced international intervention and those refugees must have returned, but it is internationally proven that it was the fault of Ogata, the then UN high commissioner for refugees set up camps in jhapa without doing any studies, that opened doors for so may homeless nepalese to join the only few genuine refugees for survival. These genuine refugees could not return not because of the bhutanese government’s denials, it is due to pressure from so many political parties established in the camps that even killed people who have voluntered for third country resettlement.

    Powdyel’s bluff regarding the likeliness of 80,000 bhutanese to be evicted is his way of misguiding and misinforming the people which in turn prooves that he is a liar.

  9. Paudhals talks lot about changing Bhutan…What changes this dirty man is talking about? For sure, we don’t want this ngolop to change Bhutan into Nepal.

    We are happy the way we are. Please stop bullshitting with all your lies….international community know the fact wai…………