90,000th exiled Bhutanese gets resettled


The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and International Organization for Migration (IOM) have said that the 90,000th exiled Bhutanese to opt the ongoing third country resettlement program has flown to Toronto, Canada, Tuesday. 

A joint statement issued by these agencies from Kathmandu Tuesday said 11-year-old Suman Tamang was the most recent among  90,000 refugees to resettle in the west. Suman, his parents and younger brother are scheduled to arrive in Toronto tomorrow, and will be received by his cousin and aunt.

Suman Tamang (second from right) with his parents and brother in IOM Transit Camp, Kathmandu (Picture courtesy: UNHCR/IOM)
Suman Tamang (second from right) with his parents and brother in IOM Transit Camp, Kathmandu
(Picture courtesy: UNHCR/IOM)

 “I was very sad to leave my friends behind in the camp, but I am excited to meet my cousin soon,” said Suman, spending some quiet family time at the IOM transit centre in Kathmandu before leaving for the Tribhuvan International Airport. “I hope we will be able to go to the same school which will be fun.”

Canada has already resettled over 5,800 Bhutanese refugees, according to UNHCR and IOM.

“The resettlement of refugees from Bhutan began in 2007.  To date, over 5,800 refugees from Bhutan have been resettled in several communities across Canada, including Charlottetown, Saint-Jérôme, Quebec City, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver, among others. The other resettlement countries are Australia, Denmark, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States.  The majority of refugees have been resettled in the United States – over 75,000 people,” added the statement.

The Chairperson of the Core Group of eight resettlement countries, British Ambassador to Nepal, Andy Sparkes said, “This is another important step towards resolving one of the most protracted refugee situations in Asia. This has been possible due to the strong support of the Government of Nepal and the excellent cooperation between the resettlement countries, UNHCR and IOM. The courage and resilience of the refugees has been a great motivation for us to continue our engagement with this refugee population.”

Of the some 27,000 refugees remaining in the camps, about 21,000 have already expressed an interest in resettlement and are expected to depart in the coming years.

A major exercise is underway in the camps in eastern Nepal in which refugees wishing to be considered for Group Resettlement are required to submit a Declaration of Interest (DOI) form to UNHCR before the deadline of June 30, it further said.

 After this date, no new DOI forms will be accepted and the Group Resettlement process will only continue for those who have formally submitted the DOI form to UNHCR before the deadline.


  1. So far, only 90,000 Refugees from Bhutan, the country of 700,000 GNH exporting nation received the privilege of being resettled! However, they may be just first batch of the sample victims of generous projects ONOP and GNH, under financial assistance of India and other generous nations. Politics proved subtle game of the devil that coins and propagates acceptable terminologies to cover injustices of the power mongers and perpetrators of the gross violation against human dignity…

    They were accused of demonstrating against the government demanding for human rights and democracy at home. This act, whether real or doubted and enforced on individuals turned them EVIL in the sight of the authorities overnight. It credited them the names of anti-nationals, illegal economic immigrants, labourers who overstayed the work permits, people whose presence in the country posed threat to its security and sovereignty etc….

    But that’s not exhaustive accusations albeit untrue in the case of over 95% of the refugees. And there is determined POLITICAL game between India and agents of China in Bhutan that forced the status of SOUTHERN TIBET to sovereign nation, just from 1971 although modern Bhutan has no practical dealing with Tibet. It required total elimination of Bhutaneseness in place giving it the smell and accent of Tibet. But four centuries ago, Shabdung Ngawang Namgyal, himself hailing from Tibet was kinder to Bhutan and Bhutanese, resisting against the merger of Bhutan to Tibet, kept the people different from the Tibetans. The national leaders of our times not only bear the trait of traitors against the nation and its people but proved by deeds, a case of glaring opposition to Shabdrung who defended Bhutan forming theological barrier against Tibet even when Bhutan had practical business. Salutations to the great soul that helped the cause of Bhutan with welcome into the Bhutanese society as son of Bhutan born abroad.

    The elimination of sizeable Bhutanese in the view of far sighted visionaries would discourage others from seeking to retain their Bhutanese identity in the country to which they forced the status of Southern Tibet officially just from 1971. In their removal, Bhutanese life and resistance has been removed from the place. It is symbolic act that Bhutanese cannot claim to be Bhutanese in Bhutan nor have any rights without due recognition from authorities wielding administrative power accepted and respected by the people for own security and welfare. What a case of ingratitude on the part of national hierarchy! We live in the mercy of great neighbours. Our freedom and sovereignty retained so long has turned as matter of their choice to grant us for as long as they wish than our right to retain it. We lose twice, first internally and then externally; due the national leaders hating and excluding the Bhutanese from real national life.

    Thanks to the Grand National far sighted visionaries that led us thus far!!