Bhutanese Refugees: the tragic story of forgotten people

Delegates of the symposium (Picture courtesy : HRDI)

The symposium, titled “Bhutanese Refugees – the tragic story of forgotten people” was organized by the Human Rights Defense International (HRDI) to address the plight of 1,30,000 Bhutanese refugees of ethnic Hindu and Nyingmapa minorities, which forms one-fifth of Bhutan’s population forcibly exiled by the State to suffer torture, hopelessness, despair and loss of political status, making Bhutan the only country in the world that has the highest percentage of population living as refugees outside its boundaries.

Delegates of the symposium (Picture courtesy : HRDI)

The symposium held on July 14, 2012 at Indian Law Institute, opp. Supreme Court of India, New Delhi was attended by 92 delegates which included lawyers, journalists, professors, students, poets, authors and Human Rights Activists and organisations.

Bhutanese refugees was represented by Dr. Bhampa Rai, Chairman of Bhutan Refugees Repatriation Committee; D. P. Kafley, General Secretary, People’s Forum for Human Rights and Karma Chhoejay, President, Druk National Youth Congress (Democratic) presently operating from Jhapa, Nepal.

Dr. Bhampa Rai, Chairman of Bhutan Refugees Repatriation Committee, enunciated the political history of Bhutan and recalled the 1624 A.D invitation of Gorkhas by the Zhabdrung, and the deteriorated political scenario in the recent times.

D. P. Kafley highlighted on the Amnesty International’s report BHUTAN: FORCIBLE EXILE, 1994 and further pondered upon how 1985 Citizenship Act of Bhutan contained a number of vague provisions that were applied in an arbitrary manner.

Karma Chojey supplemented and complemented by throwing light upon the grave violation of basic natural rights of choice of religion in Bhutan and expressed how the Sharchokps, who are the inhabitants of eastern part of the country, the predominant followers of Nyingmapa tradition of Mahayana Buddhism were victimized by the regime during several periods of their existence.

He enlightened the delegates about how Nyingmapa followers were victimized and as many as 16 teaching centres were closed down overnight with students having sent back to their respective homes.

With inputs from Druk National Congress (Democratic), Kakarvitta, Nepal


  1. All baseless news.this issue is not new.. it was apart and parcel of making false allegations with a hope to get supports of sherchokpas by the nepali people.
    In fact sherchokpas are in majority not in minority in Bhutanese populations.
    Do you have any knowledge about the rich and influential nepali and sherchokpa people leading the side of Anti National group of few disgruntle nepali and sherchokpa people from out side Bhutan ?

  2. Sonam lama , Are you the grandson of Jigme Wangchuck?

    Do you considered other side of the story, how badly Mahayana Buddhism and Hinduism treated in the land of GNH?

    People should be given freedom to practice their values, believes, and religion. Nalungs are not only the people in Bhutan!

  3. “The same old charge” also means there is no faking nor is there new interest or other grievances named, adding new woes from other directions. We become better people taking their views and giving them rest in the place they called HOME for as long as they know unless we are conveying to the world that we are holding and defending what was theirs as ours. Left unheeded, this can turn into bad omen for the future.

  4. However, Bhutan will soon change into absolute democratic country and to protect the sovereignty of the nation is a responsibility to every Bhutanese, so we will know how to protect our motherland.

  5. Tony Brown, your soothing words bring lot of relief to the oppressed mass under the spell of FLOWER POT democracy. Bhutanese people await to relieve the proud individuals tired of sacred responsibility of charges over the nation. As you agree, we must protect sovereignty of our motherland. …

  6. Dear jigme,

    Late B.P koirala & G.P.koirala (brothers) became PM of Nepal
    against the wishes of Nepal King. They managed to over throw Nepal King and personally visited Chirang & Samchi Bhutan in 1950-52 to support migrant Nepali settlers loving in Bhutan to over throw Monarchy in Bhutan,but failed.