No veggies from 2013, UNHCR tells refugees


The largest caretaker of Bhutanese refugees in Nepal, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), informed exiled Bhutanese that agency has decided to stop supply of vegetables from January 1, 2013.

The aid-agency declared its inability to continue the supply of season vegetables for refugees of three Beldangi and Sanischare camps citing lack of budget.

“We were informed that UNHCR has to divert the budget for assisting increasing number of refugees and internally displaced persons around the globe,” Beldangi Camp Secretary, Dhan Bir Subba, told Bhutan News Service.

According to Secretary Subba, the agency said the decision was a Hobson’s choice for it to minimize mounting expenses for refugees every year.

“We are never happy with the decision although we have been told that the decision would bring minimum impact on our life standard,” added Subba.

However, UNHCR said refugees would be supplied with seeds to grow vegetables in empty huts available in the camps.

Meanwhile, Chairperson of the Bhutanese Refugee Representative Repatriation Committee (BRRRC), Dr Bhampa Rai, condemned the agency’s decision to discontinue supply of vegetables, the most essential items for refugees in camps.

“The decision has created doubts on UNHCR’s intention towards refugees. How can those who themselves survive on delicious vegetables on daily basis decide to stop the supply of the same items for us,” Dr Rai said.

According to Dr Rai, it was sad to comment that UNHCR being a UN agency has even not maintained the minimum standard in respecting human rights of Bhutanese refugees.

“Even animals need foods. How can the agency decide to keep thousands of Bhutanese hungry without the basic dietary needs?”

The agency has been supplying season vegetables of 500 grams on monthly basis to every individual refugee. The facility would terminate by the end of this month.


  1. The biggest problem Bhutanese refugees have right now is the free handouts. Stop everything, those who wanted third country will resettle, those who have decided to stay in Nepal stays. These free food has kept them in Camp for last 20 yrs. And how dare Dr.Bhumpa ask the integrity of UNHCR. Let me clear it off for him, Europe is falling apart due to debt crisis, US is lingerng over Fiscal cliff, Japan is still fighting with recession. They dont have money. Why Dr. Rai thinks some people should be entitled to some other country’s tax payers money.
    Im not trying to be harsh but these unlimited free hand outs are not good.

  2. How long can the donor countries keep feeding Bhutanese refugees, 20 years is long enough. There are people dying of hunger in African countries due to drought and armed violence, they need to be fed to survive. Now the time has come for UNHCR to decide on priority group, people are not dying of hunger in Bhutanese camps. May be they need to grow their own vegetables as there should be more land available due to large number of people resettled already.

    Twenty years of living on hand outs should be enough to push a person to opt for resettlement. We are not prepared to waste our lives living on hand outs while we were given an opportunity to work hard and make our own living. To-day I am proud to be earning my own living. I walk with my head held high and also be able to contribute to UNHCR and WFP to feed the refugees all over the World through the taxes I pay.
    It feels good to be able to pay back.
    Those who have decided to stay back and decline the offer of resettlement, it is time you guys realize nobody is going to feed you forever. Even your own parents expects you to earn your living once you become an adult.