Tilak Niroula/New Hamshire
March 29, 2017
UNHCR Country representative to Nepal , Kevin J Allen, revealed that UNHCR is in consultation with Bhutanese authorities in Thimphu for opening repatriation option for those willing refugees in camps. This was stated in a press statement issued to BNS by OBCA chairman DB Rai, according to which the phone conference took place March 9, 2017.
In the conference call meeting, Mr. Kevin stated that the UNHCR is in constant touch with the Government of Bhutan and asking to take sincere steps to bring this one of the longest festering humanitarian issue to a logical end respecting the desires of those willing to repatriate to their homestead.
According to Rai, OBCA had officially send a petition to the UNHCR Nepal prior to the conference call pressing to expedite pending resettlement process, accelerate comprehensive plan for those remaining exiles, and appeal core countries to continue resettlement route and pledge for repatriation advocacy. “The process of advocacy for repatriation of Bhutanese refugees will be continued after the end of resettlement process stated by Mr. Allen. Recently, Swiss and Japanese ambassadors have joined with core group of resettlement countries to form COB (Core Group of Bhutan) for advocacy of repatriation of residual refugees in the camp in Nepal” the press release reads.
Also, OBCA questioned about the status of the camps education, health and other basic necessity to those enduring in camps. In reply, Kevin specified that the students from class 9 and 10 will start their new schooling in the local community schools from next academic year. Healthcare will be taken to the local community health centers. Likewise, UNHCR commenced diverse schemes to promote and support refugees self-sufficiency, assisted in opening bank accounts and offer small loan amount to run small business for interested individuals in camps. Besides, UHNCR has also demanded Nepal government to deliver work permit to the Bhutanese refugees, allow opening bank accounts and do small business.
However, UNHCR Nepal has not verified the content of this press release.