USA, Sept 15: Breaking his long silence over the fragile security inside refugee camps in Nepal, senior human rights leader Tek Nath Rizal has strongly urged the government of Nepal to beef up the security system in camps.
Speaking to BNS-run radio program ‘Saranarthi Sarokar’ (Refugee Concern) in Kathmandu Nepal, Rizal even showed about the possibilities of Bhutan government’s hand in stab-to-death of popular social activist K. B. Khadka on September 8.
Our Norway correspondent Ramesh Gautam converted the main theme of Rizal’s audio interview into texts. Experts.
How did you feel when you hear about the murder of social activist Khadka?
I was sad to hear the news regarding the murder of Khadka. This is a serious issue. Actually, many refugees are killed in the camps. Never a free investigation has been carried on to arrest and punish the culprit. I request the Nepalese administration to take appropriate measures to book the culprit. Not only to me, this has brought a strong trigger on many. We all should help the government of Nepal to make proper investigation about the incident.
Will the administration now take strong measures to bring the culprit to police net?
We should not say that the administration will not do anything. It must act promptly and do something. Even when former American ambassador to Nepal was stonned in Damak, many were of different opinions about the cause behind.
Even the human rights activists were blamed. Bhutanese Maoists were thought to be involved. But no culprit was arrested or punished. It is said that some important figures of the former camp management committee were involved in this issue. It is a matter of serious concern that the persons involved were not arrested.
Meanwhile, an unknown group has recently warned the Bhutanese leaders of stern physical actions if they fail to launch strong programs for return home process. It is not known who is doing these all. It is due to the negligence of the administration that these sorts of unruly activities are occupying greater space inside camps.
You even met the Nepalese Prime Minister recently. You have been meeting with officials at the Home affairs in the government of Nepal. What are their responses?
We have been requesting the authorities to take strong steps when many such criminal acts have been gaining a good momentum. What has also been heard is that this murder has not been done from within the camp; some outsiders are involved. Who has been using them as weapons? Is Bhutan not backing them? It had been said that Bhutan had strong role behind the murder of R. K. Budhathoki, founder president of Bhutan People’s Party.
Is it not a ploy being played by the government of Bhutan to spread threats on the people to eventually blame them of the cause? Not only this murder, all other past issues should be carefully studied and dealt by the government of Nepal.
Do you think the security situation should be reviewed and made stronger inside refugee camps?
There has been no any security in the camps. I do not know what problem is with Nepal government regarding the security for the refugees in camps. Many have fled owing to weak security status, many are killed and many have commited suicide. No compentiation has been provided yet. Is it not that the social activits and those advocating for repartiation are under injustice? I will meet the Home Minister of Nepal soon and talk about the matter.
Do you not think that those who are advocating of repatriation are targeted?
From the very beginning, efforts have been made to make calumnies of those who are advocating for repatriation or to hurt them. American ambassador was stoned and the office of International Organisation for Migration (IOM) was bombed but later on even human rights activists were blamed. This is a sad part. UNHCR should talk strongly with government of Nepal Government. This is the responsibility of the UNHCR.
There are many who are devoted to social activities in the camps. There is the need of camp management committee for daily works to be kept on going with acceleration. Will these people not be compelled to opt for Third Country Resettlement owing to the situations like this?
The situation of compulsion has already been made by the UNHCR because those who have not filled the forms for resettlement are denied medicines even in the hospitals. The schools are getting closed. A child does not know when his father is going for resettlement but he/she is deprived of his right to education. The situation has become much critical today. The camp secretaries who are working as per the guidelines of the UNHCR are to raise voices for their security with it.
Click here to listen Rizal’s audio interview.