Bhutanese delegates in Geneva

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A two-member Bhutanese delegation is currently in the Swiss capital Geneva to highlight their plight at high-level NGO consultations of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Bishnu Maya Dhungana (left) and Parsuram Sharma-Luital JP in Geneva
Bishnu Maya Dhungana (left) and Parsuram Sharma-Luital JP in Geneva, Switzerland

Fourth year in a row, Bhutanese-Australian Parsuram Sharma-Luital JP, reached Ganeva on June 11 as a delegate of the Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA) for attending the UNHCR consultations, expected to garner over 450 delegates from more than 250 NGOs from around the world.

The next Bhutanese delegate is Bishnu Maya Dhungana, a women representative from Beldangi-II Refugee Camp. Dhungana reached Genava on Sunday afternoon, Luitel informed the Bhutan News Service.

The Bhutanese delegates would have opportunities of meeting UNHCR Asia Bureau with Director Daisy Dell, UNHCR Resettlement Service Head Renata Dubini, Director of UNHCR’s Division of International Protection Volker Turk, and UNHCR Middle East and North Africa Bureau Director Yacoub El Hillo, according to Luitel.

“As in the previous years, we have so many things to be discussed with UNHCR officials at decision-making positions,” said Luitel, who has flown to Geneva from Melbourne.

While, Dhungana said that the pathetic living conditions of those still residing in refugee camps, challenge facing youths, women and children, and issues related to resettlement were her priorities during the consultations.

According to Luitel, the meeting would enable them to provide direct feedback on the concerns of refugee communities, particularly those related to the safety of often neglected groups of refugees still in difficult circumstances in Nepal and different western countries.

While in Geneva, he will also be a part of discussion to be hosted in the sidelines by the Refugee Council of Australia and the Canadian Council for Refugees for discussing cooperation on advocacy between refugees NGOs in the five Anglophone countries (UK, USA, New Zealand, Canada and Australia) whose governments work most closely together on immigration policy.

The delegates are scheduled to attend the broader NGO conference, which has many thematic agendas for discussion. The UNHCR High Commissioner António Guterres will be addressing the inaugural session Tuesday morning.

Know our delegates
Parsuram Sharma – Luital JP is a Bhutanese-Australian from Melbourne, Australia. He works as New and Emerging Communities Liaison Officer at the North West Metro Region of Victoria Police.

Luital with UNHCR High Commissioner António Guterres
File Photo: Luital with UNHCR High Commissioner António Guterres in Geneva last year

Luitel, who has established himself as one of the most active and vocal Bhutanese in the diaspora, is also the recipient of the Victorian Refugee Recognition Record Award (2009), and Multicultural Award for Excellence for Outstanding Service to the Community (2010 & 2012). He also hosted the Victoria’s larger multicultural festival last year.

He is the founding and immediate past president of the Bhutanese Organization in Australia, advisory committee chair of the Federation of Ethnic Communities Council of Australia (FECCA), convener and board member of the Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria (ECCV), executive committee member of the South Asian Community Link Group (SACLG) Australia, community ambassador of the Australian Football League (AFL) Multicultural Program, and White Ribbon Ambassador of the Fighting Violence Against Women.

He is married and has three children, and has a master’s degree in horticulture.

While, Bishnu Maya Dunugana is a refugee women activist from Beldangi-II Refugee Camp, and is associated with the Bhutanese Refugee Women Forum (BRWF).

The Centre for Refugee Research of the University of New South Wales in Australia has funded her travel for attending the UNHCR’s NGO consultations

She attended the Women and Girls at Risk Training organized by the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network (APRRN) in Sri Lanka in January this year.

Dhungana is the first Bhutanese from the refugee camps to come in UNHCR NGO consulations and raise the issue with the support of CRR from Australia.

She is married, and has a child.

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