Including 19 women, thirty seven exiled Bhutanese destined for the United Kingdom (UK) departed from Nepal under the third country resettlement program on Monday.
Now, the UK has now formally joined the ‘core group’ of eight resettling countries by accepting to offer resettlement for 100 refugees, as a part of “responsibility sharing”.
The British Embassy organised a media breifing at the transit camp of International Organisation for Migration (IOM of Kathmandu to inform about acceptance of the first lot of Bhutanese refugees in the UK.
Addressing the media briefing, British Charge D’Affaires, Sophia Willitts, said, “It’s heartening to meet the refugees about to leave for the UK to start new lives after so many years of uncertainty,” she said adding,” They will integrate well into their new host community.”
“The UK has a long history of welcoming people from other countries – we know that the diversity it brings makes our country stronger,” she added.
While, the UNHCR’s representative in Nepal, Stephane Jaquemet, said that his agency was extremely grateful to the British government for accepting refugees for resettlement. There are instances where people like you (refugees) have become an official like me, Jaquemet told.
Meanwhile, chief of IOM Nepal expressed that participation in resettlement project would give one tremendous sense of satisfaction. “IOM is proud in giving these refugees a new start in their life,” he said.
As of now, 34,500 Bhutanese have departed to the United States and other countries since the start of the resettlement programme in November 2007. The United States has so far accepted 29,496 refugees, Canada 1877, Australia 1787, New Zealand 461, Norway 335, Denmark 326 and the Netherlands 224.
Likewise, 77,616 Bhutan citizens still live in various seven camps. UNHCR informed that over 56,400 individuals have declared an interest for resettlement so far.