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SAARC countries urged to address refugee issue

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The Bhutan Peoples’ Party (BPP) has asked the Government of Nepal to table the long-stand Bhutanese refugee imbroglio as common agenda in the upcoming SAARC (South Asian Association for Region Cooperation) summit to be held in Maldives.

Balaram Poudyal

Issuing a press statement Monday, BPP President Balaram Poudyal said, Nepal must initiative dialogue with other member countries of the SAARC to discuss the refugee issue.

“Though we were hopeful that Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattaria would raise the issue with his Indian counterpart during his visit last month, but sadly nothing happened as expected,” said Poudyal in his statement.

The BPP also asked Nepali Prime Minister to raise the problem of exiled Bhutanese during the 17th SAARC summit in Maldives.

“Nepal should play vital role in bringing India in the issue as only tripartite talks between Nepal, Bhutan and India would find a lasting solution of the Bhutanese refugee issue,” added the statement.

Meanwhile, the Human Rights Organisation of Bhutan (HUROB) wrote to Heads of State of the SAARC member-countries asking them to create pressure on Bhutan to repatriate exiled Bhutanese with dignity and honour.

HUROB Chairperson, S.B.Subba, said that unlike refugees in other parts of the world or in the SAARC region who are victims of civil, ethnic, religion war or natural calamities, the southern Bhutanese of Nepali speaking refugees are the creation of Bhutan government itself on prejudice of race.

S.B.Subba

“The genesis of the problem is from the pre-empted and well designed systematic ethnic cleansing policy of the fourth King Jigme Singye Wangchuk,” he said.

The letter addressed to SAARC member countries’ heads asked them to raise the Bhutanese refugees’ problem with the Prime Minister of Bhutan and help solve the problem as it is a problem in the region and could affect whole of the region if left unresolved and is sooner the better for small country-Bhutan sandwiched between two Asian giants, India and China.

17th SAARC Summit to be held in Addu City, the Maldives on November 10-11 will carry a theme: ‘Building Bridges’.

3 COMMENTS

  1. There is no change in the leadership of BPP and other Bhutanese political parties that are exiled established. Is it that the leaders never step down or there are no other alternative candidates? This resembles more like a property ownership and ancestral inheritance in terms of politics. What a pity! Changes are inevitable, and I’m of the opinion that the rustic leaders need to be replaced. Let the young and dynamic ones take the responsibilities. First step for the movement is to replace these malfunctioning leaders. And the new leadership has to take the bold step of national reconciliation, narrowing the differences at the best interest.

  2. It is a shame that people like Balaram Poudyal should raise issues on repaptriation of Bhutanese refugees. He is one of the major culprits along with late R.K Budathoki for the trouble in southern Bhutan in the 1990s. If they had been more sensible, the problem would not have been so serious. These people are responsible for creating the refugee problem . Unfortunately, people like Teknath Rijal and late Rongthung Kinley became their scapegoats and suffered much more than Poudyel. So, Poudyal should solve the problem that he started for the innocent southern Bhutanese who became victims of the ensuing situation.

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