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.
“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.