Transforming into “brand new” Australian citizens, the Bhutanese community in Adelaide of south Australia is now rejoicing moments of being new Bhutanese-Australian, thanks to the generosity of the Australian government in accepting over 5,000 of exiled Bhutanese.
According to the Bhutanese Australian Association of South Australia (BAASA), altogether 185 resettled Bhutanese, who reached Australia since 2008 through the third country resettlement program, have received Australian citizenship, Sunday.
BAASA Preisent, Suren Ghale, said that Australian citizenship to resettled Bhutan meant the reaffirmation that this beautiful country was their home and how much they love living in Australia.
“As a Bhutanese community, BAASA always have great responsibilities to New Aussie in making them more responsible and dutiful citizens of Australia,” Ghale said.
Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, Mark Butler, distributed certificates of citizenship to those Bhutanese in a special ceremony organized jointly by the Bhutanese Youths Group (BYG) and Department of Immigration and Citizenship, according to the BAASA’s website.
“I am proud to be an Australian. I am very happy to be recognized as a dignified citizen of Australia,” one of the recipients Kamal Dahal told Bhutan News Service.
Bhanu Adhikari, the first person to set foot on the Australian soil under the resettlement scheme in the May of 2008 was one of the 185 Bhutanese receiving the citizenship.
“I am proud to be a citizen of Australia after 23 years of life in exile,” a televised report quoted Adhikari as commenting.
While, his son Bikram Adhikari expressed the need of increasing number of quotas for accepting the Bhutanese refugees by the Australian government. Adhikari is one of the volunteers of the Bhutan News Service from Australia.
Meanwhile, BYG felicitated Dom Kafle for his tireless volunteerism in educating the community members through the citizenship class.
“Thank you Adelaide Bhutanese Youths for that humble mention. You have encouraged me,” Kafle mentioned in his Facebook.
While, the BYG lauded his contribution by saying that it was their (BYG members) plasures to honor Kafle. “You have made very great help to our community regarding citizenship. We’d like to thank you once again,” said commenting on Kafle’s Facebook wall post.
Most of those who were present during the citizenship ceremony were on typical Nepali dress, while a few were also seen wearing Bakkhu and Kira.
Meanwhile, human rights activist and Chief of the Association of Human Rights Activists (AHURA) Bhutan, Ratan Gazmere, was actively involved in making the program.
Gazmere made his artistic appearance in the stage on the traditional Nepali dress and dhaka topi, and a madal hung on his neck.
“We are very happy that we are in a great country called Australia. And, from today (Sunday) we are the citizens of this great nation,” Gazmere told the Australia’s leading national television news SBS after the ceremony.
The ceremony also saw some cultural performances from the Bhutanese artists.