March 19, 2010: The Bhutanese Advocacy Forum – Europe concluded its campaign in Geneva on Thursday finally attending the 13th session of Human Rights Council where resolution on UPR human Rights report on Bhutan was adopted.
Before the session begun, the BAF delegates made intensive lobby and distributed appeal and testimonies of torture victims from the Bhutanese refugee community to the representatives of member states and the participating members of the civil societies.
Of the 99 specific recommendations made by the member states on Bhutan in the UPR meeting on December 4, Bhutan agreed to accept almost all the recommendations. However, Bhutan expressed its inabilities to accept few of the recommendation with the reason, keeping at par with the existing laws of the country. But the country expressed its commitment to keep close consideration on those recommendations as well.
Despite limited time, member states like Algeria and United States of America made their responses urging Bhutan to commence the repatriation of the exiled Bhutanese willing to return and asking for non discriminatory treatment on the Bhutanese citizens of ethnic Nepali minority.
Amongst the other members of civil societies Peter Prove, a high official from LWF’s international Affairs and Human Rights section, made a strong statement on Bhutan’s commitment on the return of the exiled citizens. He stated, ”Bhutan has repeatedly declared its commitment to finding a lasting solution to the refugee crisis through a bilateral process of negotiation with the government of Nepal. Bhutan has in fact participated in a joint verification process in one of the seven refugee camps as a result of which hundreds of verified refugees, even on the restricted basis on which the verification was conducted, should have been allowed to return to Bhutan. But still today, not a single refugee has been able to return home”.
Prove further said it is now time for Bhutan to demonstrate that it is actually prepared to assume its responsibility for repatriation of genuine exiled Bhutanese who are willing to return in conditions consistent to international norms and practices.
With the adoption of UPR resolution, BAF Europe has expressed its optimistism that RGOB shall hold its commitment made in the international forum and go for wide rectification on its discriminatory national policies.
The BAF delegation comprised of Durga Giri, Ram Bahadur Karki Chhetri and Tej Man Monger.