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Nepal leaves 174 Bhutanese asylum seekers at limbo

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The Nepalese Ministry of Home Affairs said it distributed 1800 refugee identity cards to Bhutanese asylum seekers by granting them official refugee status in Nepal, but has left 174 asylees at limbo.

Asylum seekers from Bhutan, who have been termed as ‘disqualified’ for refugee status, display various documents from Bhutan to prove their identity as Bhutanese (Picture courtesy : Dikesh Lama)

The distribution of ID cards have been materialized based on recommendations of a three-member taskforce that  the ministry had formed earlier this year under the chairmanship of by one of its under Secretaries Shambhu Prasad Ghimire.

The taskforce invited applications from all asylum seekers who were either absent during official registration during 2006 or disqualified on various ground, and interviewed some 2106 individuals in between June and July this year.

Of them, 174 persons have been termed ‘disqualified’, while another 132 didn’t turn up for the interview.

Those who have been termed disqualified by the taskforce accused the authority of granting refugee status to even non-Bhutanese.

These asylees have formed a group to protest against the government’s decision to disqualify them without proper explanations on their cases.

On Thursday, the group led by Purna Gautam officially wrote to Shanker Prasad Koirala, the In-Charge at the National Unit for Coordination of Refugee Affairs (NUCRA) at the Ministry of Home Affairs.

The letter demanded review of their cases, and asked the authority to figure out the taskforce’s lapses in granting refugee status to some non-Bhutanese.

The asylees said their sentiments have been deeply ignored by the government as it failed to recognize their refugee status, thereby ignoring the fact that those termed ‘disqualified’ are genuine Bhutanese and have long been dwelling in the refugee camps.

According to them, even persons belonging to the same family have been denied refugee status while remaining family members enjoy the same status.

Meanwhile, the district authority of Jhapa said the government has closed all doors for registering cases of asylum seekers from Bhutan.

10 COMMENTS

  1. Among 1800, half of them are non-Bhutanese. Nepal government put their name illegally especially R.C.U of different camps so those R C U gets millions of rupees from those non bhutanese. Those R C U should be punished as soon as possible.

  2. I agree with Mr. Bhats as there are enough evidences of Nepalese people getting resettled in the west with Bhutanese documents. Same thing has happened this time. Who are those RCU to decide the fate of the needy ones?

  3. I wonder how sincere the Bhutanese officials in the camps are??? Nonetheless a commission of elder-representatives of different places like Sibsoo, Dorokha, Samchi, Kalikhola, Dagapela, Sarbhang, Chirang, Surey, Daifam … should be on the team of verification. These people will surely find out who is Bhutanese and who is not. Then, the Nepal Home Ministry will decide who gets the asylum from the list, because they are the only authority to grant asylum in Nepal. The representatives can easily find out who the Bhutanese are, if they are honest and ask ten good questions. I know personally, while so many Bhutanese are outside the camp living a dreadful life, a few of them tried so much to seek asylum and yet they did not get it while so many non-Bhutanese have gone to Western Countries. So sad!! Where are the leaders??? Oh I forgot most of them are in the West (at least their children, relatives if not themselves, because they have to look after their ego and property.) A few, very few, are selfless and I salute them. In short, I like to thank Nepal for doing what they did, taking in so many refugees when they themselves were on political turmoil. However, they should have a good mechanism to do justice to the Bhutanese Refugees who are trying to seek asylum and who are trying to resettle. Refugees don’t become refugees one time, it is continuous. Look at the Tibetans, they are still claiming refugee status right now. Why not in Bhutanese case?

  4. I have queston to Achamva. I lived in refugee camp for 18 years and after i came to U.S.A with my parents but here in USA when i talk to some bhutanese that from which camp from you and sector. That time those refugees said that i don’t know the refugee camp. THEY SAID DON’T ASK ME ABOUT REFUGEE CAMP. I DON’T KNOW NOTHING AT ALL. THAT IS MY QUESTION THOSE WHO ARE BHUTANESE REFUGEES , THEY SHOULD KNOW REFUGEE CAMP AND THEIR HUTS AND SECTOR. LOTS OF NEPALESE BECOME BHUTANESE REFUGEES AND CAME TO FOREIGN COUNTRIES THROUGH IOM. THE MAIN REASON IS STUPID R.C.U .RCU CAN MAKE NON BHUTANESE TO BHUTANESE BY GETTING MILLIONS OF NEPALI MONEY. SOME BHUTANESE THOSE WHO LEFT BHUTAN IN EARLY IN 1980S AND THOSE WHO SETTLED IN NEPAL BY BUYING LAND AND HAVING NEPALI CITIZEN ARE CLAIMING I AM BHUTANESE BECASE THOSE 1980S BHUTANESE HAVE CITIZEN OF BHUTAN .THEY HAVE IT. SO THEY CAN PAY TO RCU AND CLAIM REFUGEES. THERE ARE THOUSANDS OF BHUTANESE PEOPLE WHO CAME IN EASTERN NEPAL IN EARLY 198Os ARE LIVING IN DIFFERENT VILLAGE OR DISTRICT.SO THOSE STUPID CLAIM THAT THEY ARE REFUGEES. AMONG 1800, MOST OF THEM ARE NON BHUTANESE .MAY BE THEY ARE BHUTANESE BORN BUT ARE ALREDY SETTLED AND HAVE LAND IN NEPAL. they should be purified lots of non-bhutanese are coming to foreigh countries and they dont know about refugee camp . What you say about that?

  5. I couldn’t catch your point. Aren’t you saying the similar things? Bye the way I am not talking about people who left Bhutan in 80s or 70s or earlier times to settle in India or Nepal or anywhere else. I am talking about the people who left Bhutan affected by the political troubles starting from late eighties. Make no mistakes to say that only the people in the camp became homeless and suffered. The people who were outside the camp suffered even more since they had no foreign aid or UNHCR. These people who were forced to live outside are still suffering. Who is supporting them, hardly anybody? Forgive me I couldn’t understand the question you were intending to ask. Thank you for responding though.
    Happy New Year!

  6. Achama, Bhats and Sushil let me teach you something here. While thousands of Bhutanese obtained Nepali Ctizenship and bought land and properties in Nepal, hardly anybody was persecuted. The whole nepali village would know the Bhutanese living illegally in the village but they didnt do anything. I’m not supporting the fraud but lets not be cruel to those people. Yes it is not right that they are doing a big fraud but lets not forget that our people have done the same thing. Since you never condemn those why cant you just shut up and move on. All of you writing shit about Nepali people doing fraud are nothing but jealous. And i bet you still have properties in Nepal. Dont try to be Gandhi here, we live different age now!

  7. Anil Ji,
    You do not have to teach me any lesson. I have seen this world for a long time from much wider lens. I don’t know the other two guys. They can respond on their own. Do not scatter ideas and issues. There is one issue here about genuine people having difficulty getting proper documents for resettlement. If fraud is done then it is a fraud that we have to question because it is happening in the expense of the voiceless. You and I both should talk about it.
    When it comes to the other issue of Bhutanese settling in Nepal, it is totally another issue. If it is by the way of fraud then you and I both need to question that too. I always talk to people saying that it is cruel to be jealous of fellow humans. So please do not accuse me of something that I despise of. Just because you think you are at a different age, we should offer ‘khadhar’ to fraud and injustice. I don’t think so.
    In terms of moving on, yes we need to move on, I agree with you, can’t be bitter always. Look forward, do better and help always people who are in need. I don’t want to be Gandhi, I want to be simple me, that is it!

  8. Achamva thankx for the response, i couldn’t agree more. I came here as a Bhutanese Refugee and while i try to catch on some of our community news. The writers in this website i found are absolutely biased. They are no better than Foxnews or MSNBC. The article said Nepal leaves 174 people in limbo. But does this website has a valid verification that those were Bhutanese. Remember after resettlment process started everyone wants to be a Bhutanese. The article has no proof that those people were Bhutanese. so are these people trying to make us swallow whatever they feel like writing it. An opinion is one thing but a news must be based on facts. I challenge if i ask them to verify this the writer will get a heart attack. It was complete waste of time..

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