The Bhutanese Advocacy Forum (BAF – Europe) raised the issue of exiled Bhutanese and human rights situations of the country in the Dutch Parliament on 7 December and at the European Parliament on 8 December.
Hague-based Global Human Rights Defense (GHRD) together with Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) organized the program.
The Forum appraised on Bhutanese issues with Haary van Bommel, Head of the Human Rights Committee of the Dutch Parliament, on December 7, stated a press release issued on Friday.
“The delegation strongly raised the issues of human rights violations and the lack of inclusive and vibrant democracy in Bhutan. It also complained that the developmental activities in Bhutan are mostly concentrated in the east and west,” said the statement.
The Forum further said that it also informed that the southern Bhutanese are denied of equal opportunity to education and employment, saying that even the southern Bhutanese students who secured the excellent marks in their final school examinations have been deprived of getting enrolled in the government colleges.
The Bhutanese delegation communicated that the Lhotsampas are not entitled for the services in departments like national airlines, post, the ministries of home and foreign affairs, police and army
The delegation advised Bommel to strengthen Bhutan-Dutch relations, but ensuring that Bhutan treats the entire citizens equally without any discrimination based on race, religion, region, conscience and ethnicity.
Meanwhile, the delegation also asked the Dutch Parliament to press Bhutan to release all political prisoners unconditionally.
“Decision to change the names of villages and towns in southern Bhutan should be reviewed which otherwise is also a form of ethnic cleansing,” added the statement.
In both the occasions, the delegates appealed the EU to work towards bringing refugee leaders and Bhutan government together at one table for the permanent solution of the Bhutanese refugee and other related issues.
The delegation also requested European Union to send an independent monitoring team to control the effective implementation of those recommendations accepted by Bhutan during the 6th Universal Periodic Reviews in March 2010, and even similar team should also be formed in Damak, Nepal to monitor the screening of the Bhutanese refugees’ resettlement process.
It further added that monitoring the screening was a must to avoid unnecessary wastage of refugees’ time and massive corruption and harassment in the whole process.
Similarly, in another conference themed ‘Rights of Minorities in South Asia’ held in the European Parliament, the six-member Bhutanese delegation led by Founding Member and Coordinator for Germany Tej Man Rayaka, highlighted similar issues and concerns, added the statement.