Suraj Budathoki, Executive director of International Campaign for Human Rights in Bhutan (ICHR) and Bill Gillett, Dean at School of Business at Southern New Hampshire University, presented a paper titled ‘Building international support for human rights in Bhutan’ at an annual event hosted April 16 by the university’s faculty, Institute for justice and human rights.
The abstract submitted by Suraj and Bill got approval for the presentation among many other world human rights issues presented for the whole day event.
Bill Gillet gave an overview of the background of genesis of Bhutan refugee issue. He also raised some important points on behalf of the refugees wishing repatriation and getting justice for the loss and pain they endured. He raised, ‘Can the resettlement in third countries constitute justice for the refugees? And, without the compensation for lost identity and property, how resettlement alone can be a just result?’
His paper also spoke about the non-access of the victims to the court where they have no state to support the claims such refugee individuals have. Justice cannot be delivered without the least acknowledgement from the wrongdoer.
He also pointed out, ‘How can the refugees after resettlement and becoming citizens in the western countries get the international community to pursue their claims against a small, non-strategic country like Bhutan’.
Suraj presented his paper mostly centered on the background of the problem, the genesis of it lying in the unfair citizenship acts that made many southern Bhutanese illegal despite possessing the citizenship cards. He pointed out the fact of categorization of citizens from F1 to F7 by the census of 1989.
Suraj ended his presentation with a hope that America standing on the dictum “injustice anywhere is threat to justice everywhere” will help some refugees remaining in camp to go back.
ICHRB has been active in advocating the Bhutanese refugee issue as an offshoot of massive human rights violation by the state and that refugees’ right to return has been violated by the international agencies too.