Prior to the beginning of 16th SAARC summit, the International Union of Socialist Youth (IUSY) has expressed concern about what has been happening in Bhutan. Below is the appeal the IUSY sent to the Secretary General of the SAARC.
His Excellency Krishna Kant
South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC)
Dear Your Excellency;
Greetings of solidarity and peace! The International Union of Socialist Youth (IUSY) is a global non-government organization comprised of 149 socialist, social democratic, and labor youth organizations from 100 countries all over the world. It recently held its World Congress in Stockholm, Sweden on 26-28 March 2010. Member organizations from Bhutan, Nepal, India, Tibet, Mongolia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Burma, Australia, and New Zealand comprised the Asia Pacific region.
We are writing to express our solidarity with the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) in its efforts to promote a platform for the people of South Asia based on a spirit of friendship, trust, and understanding. We congratulate you for the upcoming SAARC summit to be held on 28-29 April 2010, which will be hosted by the Royal Government of Bhutan.
In affirming our solidarity with the peoples of South Asia, we express our concern about what has been happening in Bhutan. Over the past years, the world has witnessed the exodus of hundreds of thousands of Bhutanese expelled from their country due to population-scaping policies of the government. In Nepal, thousands live in camps monitored by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), while at home, thousands more live in fear of expulsion. This sad reality has been taken notice by independent agencies such as the Human Rights Watch, the Lutheran World Federation and Amnesty International. Unfortunately no political commitment has been made as to the cease of the government policies, and as to the repatriation of the Bhutanese refugees from other countries. Furthermore, the recent failure on 22 December 2003 of the fifteenth round of bilateral talks between the governments of Nepal and Bhutan has even made the situation bleaker.
We therefore view the upcoming SAARC summit as an opportune venue in which this serious issue could be raised. On the basis of SAARC’s desire to support progress and protect the people and communities whereby every individual is enabled to satisfy basic human needs and to realize his or her personal dignity, safety and creativity as stated in the Social Charter, the SAARC conference could provide a platform within which the following issues can be included:
- The repatriation of the Bhutanese refugees to their homes
- The adoption of a reconciliatory approach and the creation of political space for human rights organizations and other political organizations to participate in talks related to the issue.
- The assurance of women’s equal participation and rights in all respects of socio-economic life including proportional representation.
- The release of those imprisoned due to their struggle to rectify the population-scaping policies of the government.
As IUSY and SAARC both share the vision of a peaceful, democratic, and prosperous South Asia, we trust that these points will be given consideration in the upcoming summit.
Machris Cabreros, Pimsiri Petchnamrob Rajen Giri
Vice-President, IUSY Vice-President, IUSY President, YOB
Phillipines . Thailand . Bhutan.