Nepalese Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, who has been favoring the third country resettlement of the Bhutanese refugees from Nepal, hailed the resettlement process appreciating the joint efforts of all parties included, Thursday.
According to the UN refugee agency, PM Oli “applauded the role of UNHCR, IOM, resettlement countries and partner agencies”.
The Prime Minister expressed his appreciation while addressing a joint event of UNHCR and International Organization for Migration organized to mark resettlement of the 100,000th Bhutanese refugee in Kathmandu Thursday evening.
The refugee agency reported from Kathmandu that fifty-three-year-old Devi Maya Thapa is the 100,000th refugee to be resettled from Nepal. Together with her husband, children and grandson, she is set to leave in early December for a new life in the US state of Ohio where other family members have already settled.
“I am leaving the refugee camp forever after spending more than two decades in Nepal. I am happy that our family will be together in our new country and that my children will have a better future,” said Devi Maya, who joins 84,800 Bhutanese refugees who have already started over in the United States of America.
According to the UNHCR, the United States has accepted 84,819 refugees. Statistics of other countries resettling the Bhutanese refugees included Canada (6,500), Australia (5,554), New Zealand (1,002), Denmark (874), Norway (566), the United Kingdom (358) and the Netherlands (327).
“This is one of the largest and most successful programmes of its kind and the resettlement of nearly nine out of 10 Bhutanese refugees is an extraordinary achievement,” said UNHCR Representative Craig Sanders.
“Eight years ago few would have envisioned we would reach this milestone. We give credit and thanks to the resettlement countries, the Government and people of Nepal, the refugee community and our NGO and UN partners with whom we have worked for over two decades,” he added.
The Chairperson of the Core Group, Australian Ambassador to Nepal Glenn White said Australia was “proud to have played a part in this highly successful resettlement programme.”
The departure of the 100,000th Bhutanese refugee was, he said, a demonstration of the strong humanitarian cooperation between the eight resettlement countries, together with Nepal, UNHCR and IOM. He looked forward to working with them all to seek “resolution for the Bhutanese refugees who yet remain.”
IOM Nepal Chief of Mission, Maurizio Busatti, said, “Reaching the 100,000th resettlement is a remarkable success, it shows how strong the partnership among all actors has been. Most importantly, we honour the courage of these women, men and children in building their future in a new land, as well as the generosity of those who welcomed them at the other end.”
Meanwhile, Dilip Dahal, vice-chair of Organizations of Bhutanese Communities in America, also addressed the event representing the resettled diaspora.
The agency further said that of the remaining 18,000 refugees, some 10,000-12,000 would remain the camps in Nepal. “UNHCR, together with IOM and the international community, will continue its efforts to achieve comprehensive and lasting solutions for the remaining population,” it stated.
(Breaking news updated with a headline change. Tilak Niroula from NH contributed to this report. )