Prime Minister Jigme Y Thinley has labeled Bhutanese refugees as “illegal immigrants” who were lawfully evicted in the early 1990s.
In an exclusive interview with 101 East at the Aljazeera, Thinley stated that the Bhutanese refugee issue should never be interpreted in terms of “ethnic cleansing program,” which in his words has been made to understand. He further stated that Bhutan should never be branded as perpetrator of human right’s violation. Stating that the vast majority people in camps are not Bhutanese, Thinley further said that it is wrong to say that they are Bhutanese.”
“People in the camps in Nepal are the victims of humanitarian situations caused by demographic explosion, ecological disaster and economic depreciation,” said Thinley, adding that the eviction of people has been misinterpreted. He also stated that Bhutanese of Nepali-origin entered Bhutan as a result of political agreement with India that enables free movement of Nepalese across India and Bhutan happens to be in side of that population migration route.
The Prime Minister argued that one-fifth of Bhutanese population still consists of ethnic Nepalese origin. “One-fifth of our parliament consists of Nepalese,” said the Prime Minister, adding that the Bhutanese survivors are champions.
According to Thinley, Bhutan is the only country in the world that safeguards people’s happiness and believes that happiness is in the end what matters most.