June 3, New Hampshire
New Hampshire House and Senate passed and adopted a resolution on Bhutanese refugees’ contribution to the state of New Hampshire and asking the U.S. government to work diligently in promoting human rights and democracy in Bhutan, and resolving the Bhutanese refugee imbroglio.
This is stated in a press statement issued June 3 by Suraj Budathoki, the Executive Director of International Campaign for Human rights in Bhutan.
The statement reads, “The Senate and House have docked this resolution (SCR1) in “OUGHT TO PASS” list as they all agree on the content of the resolution. Senator. Feltes of District 15, Senator Soucy of District 18, Senator D’Allesandro of District 20, Senator Bradley of District 3, Senator Watters of District 4, Representative Mangipudi of Hills 35, Representative P. Long of Hills 10 and Representatie Oxenham of Sull 1 sponsored this resolution.”
The House record on the State- Federal Relations and Veterans Affairs reads, “the resolution is a request to the members of Congress to work towards resolving the Bhutanese refugee crisis.” The House also urges the Congress to allow for repatriation and the promotion of human rights in Bhutan.
It further states that the resolution would permit the state of New Hampshire to be the first of several states having Bhutanese refugee communities to provide the voice for democracy. Rep. Robert L. Theberge urges in the committee report that State of New Hampshire must advocate and provide a voice for Bhutanese refugee who do not have a voice.
“This is a meaningful step in the international campaign to bring the plight of the Bhutanese refugees to the attention of the global community. The peaceful efforts to obtain redress for the people wrongfully evicted from their country and stripped of their citizenship have come one step closer to success. As a New Hampshire citizen, I am proud that our Representatives have recognized the many contributions that Bhutanese New Americans have made in our state and that we are supporting their quest for justice,” said Bill Gillette, the Dean of Business School at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU).
Doug Hall, who served four terms in the NH House of Representatives said, “Hopefully, this action by the New Hampshire legislature will be followed by similar actions in other states where Bhutanese have been resettled. If so, there will finally be pressure on the US to strongly advocate for human rights in Bhutan, something our government has failed to do for too many years.”
Tika Acharya, the Executive Director of Bhutanese Community of New Hampshire (BCNH), an active participant of this process, urges all the Bhutanese intellectual leaders in other states to pursue this process. He further added that it needs a meticulous understanding of the state politics, awareness and zeal to pursue to its end. That is what Suraj did, and we whole heartedly supported him.
Suraj Budathoki, the Executive Director of International Campaign for Human Rights in Bhutan (ICHRB), who is taking lead role in the process said, “We are of-course first to start this, but this is not the end. Our next focus is doing exactly the same in the federal level policy making. This is not just a success of Bhutanese in New Hampshire; this is a collective effort and success of Bhutanese around the world”.
“It is truly a historic day for the suppressed and evicted Bhutanese. Today is also a proud moment for the Bhutanese in New Hampshire that the Granite State has honored and recognized the contributions of Bhutanese in the state. This is a good beginning but we still have a long way to go,” said Bhagirath Khatiwada, the Director for Programs & Development at BCNH.
“The resolution passed by the NH House Committee today is a historical development in the quest for human rights and justice for the innocent Bhutanese people who were deprived from their basic rights and fundamental freedom. I am highly optimistic that this resolution has now established strong foundation to launch national campaign in the United States of America in support of human rights, and right to repatriation of the Bhutanese refugees who are still willing to return to their homestead with dignity and security. Bhutan must realize its mistake and accept her citizens back to their country with full compensation and the guarantee of equality and freedom. I also take this opportunity to thank the NH House Committee members and the people of the United States for their relentless support and solidary without which today’s historical achievement could not have accomplished,” said Narad Adhikari, an activist.
The press statement concludes, “This is only the beginning of our journey. We will not stop, we will never quit, until justice prevails. The story of our plight cannot be hidden or dismissed. We are here. We have a voice. And now, we are no longer alone. The General Court of New Hampshire has proved what is special about America — that in a democracy everyone has a voice.”
Details of the resolution can be found at http://www.gencourt.state.nh.
With inputs from Bhagirath Khatiwoda and Suraj Budathoki in New Hampshire