The Nepalese Ministry of Home Affairs has decided to issue refugee cards to 1,800 Bhutanese, who missed out on official recognition of refugee status provided after a census held some five years ago.
The decision to provide them the refugee cards was made as per the recommendations of a three-member taskforce formed to study the demands of those who could not get enlisted as refugees during the earlier census, reports an English daily from Kathmandu.
Those granted refugee cards now include census absentees, asylum seekers and family members of those already receiving the refugee ID cards.
Earlier in June, the ministry had formed the taskforce led by Under Secretary Shambhu Prasad Ghimire to probe whether those who claimed to be missing during the census conducted in 2006 were genuine.
Ghimire said the taskforce comprising of assistant Chief District Officers (CDOs) of Jhapa Yogendra Dulal and Morang Gopal Parajuli had invited applications from those seeking refugee status from various camps in Jhapa and Morang districts. “We received applications from 2,106 persons seeking refugee status. While 132 did not turn up for the interview, 174 others were found not genuine,” he said.
The taskforce in its report submitted to the ministry on October 16 had made the recommendation of providing refugee cards to 1,800, out of the total 2,106 applicants, following a series of cross verifications, according to the report.
Those missing from the refugee camps during the last census had long been demanding that Nepal government officially recognize them as refugees so that they could be eligible for third-country resettlement.
Officials at Home Ministry said some 72,000, of the original 108,000-plus refugees, have already started living in various eight western countries as part of the resettlement program overseen by the UNHCR.