NH court urged to call upon Department of State to press Bhutan for repatriation of refugees

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Adopting a resolution on the Bhutanese refugee issue, students from St. Anselm College have urged New Hampshire General Court to call upon the United States Department of State to “work diligently with the government of Bhutan to secure an agreement to allow the option of repatriation for those Bhutanese exiles who would like to return to their homeland.

An exiled woman speak to students (Picture courtesy: ICHRB)
An exiled woman speak to US students of St. Anselm College in NH
(Picture courtesy: ICHRB)

Following a four-month research on the Bhutanese refugee issue, the American students decided to adopt such a resolution, which was announced to resettled Bhutanese, their friends and scholars during an event titled ‘Journey to Justice with Bhutanese’ held in NH based St. Anselm College, Tuesday.

The research students have also submitted a copy of the resolution to the NH General Court, according to Suraj Budathoki, who chairs the International Campaign for Human Rights in Bhutan (ICHRB). Budathoki presented a paper highlighting Bhutan’s current human rights situations.

“The US Department of State acknowledges that ‘more than 78,000 refugees had expressed their interest in resettlement’, and that consistent with the values of the United States and the State of New Hampshire exiled Bhutanese refugees should have the option of living in the United States or returning with full citizenship rights to their homeland of Bhutan,” stated the resolution paper.

The resolution further said, the United States Department of State clearly documented that the government of Bhutan “forced the majority of its Nepali-speaking population to leave the country in the early 1990s following a series of steps taken during the 1970s and 1980s to deprive the Nepali-speaking population of their citizenship”, and further that “the Society for Threatened Peoples reported to the UN Human Rights Council that at least 200 political prisoners remain imprisoned in the country”.

The Refugee of Shangri-La, a documentary film on Bhutanese refugee, was also screened during the event attended by over 100 people.