Sharma raises various issues in Geneva

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An Australian citizen of Bhutanese origin, Parsuram Sharma Luital has raised various issues relating Bhutan and Bhutanese refugees in the 48th Standing Committee Meeting of the UNHCR and Annual Consultations with the NGOs in Geneva from June 22 to July 1.

Sharma, who was selected to represent the Refugee Council of Australia, was scheduled with the responsibilities to advocate on behalf of the refugees and settlement issues of South Asian countries.

According to Sharma, he met the representatives of the seven resettling countries (core group countries) including the United Kingdom which has declared to take refugees in the near future. Luitel on behalf of the Bhutanese refugee community extended message of gratitude and requested them to keep continuity to support the refugees remaining in the camps.

Meanwhile, Sharma raised the issues of unregistered refugees in Nepal and India, family reunion, concerns of single mothers and widows languishing in refugee camps and some resettling countries, provision of visa issuance to resettled refugees for traveling between the resettling countries, help the repatriation process of the Bhutanese refugees who choose to return back to Bhutan.

The Netherlands delegates informed that the core group countries were updated on the current situation of refugee camps. A briefing was made by delegate from the US who had recently visited the camps in Nepal.

In the second week of the meeting, Sharma met with different senior level UNHCR officials including Pascale Moreau, Deputy Director, Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, and senior desk officer Karim Amer responsible for Bhutan and other officials responsible for other Asian countries. Sharma also raised the issue of unregistered refugees in Nepal (around 1,500) and India (around 25,000) as one of the main concerns.

Sharma also strongly raised the issue of family re-union, single mothers and widows, the inaccessibility of “marginalized” refugees to approach the UNHCR Sub Office Damak in Jhapa, Nepal, among others.

Sharma further informed BNS that the concerns of the silent Internally Displaced People (IDPs) inside Bhutan and Rohinga refugees from the Arakan state in Myanmar were discussed, both in the main thematic sessions and separate meetings with the senior UNHCR officials. The meeting also discussed with top priority about the plight of 81,000 Bhutanese inside Bhutan, many of whom are displaced from their original homes and lands and are stateless without any legal rights.

The director of Human Rights Watch Bill Frelick said in the meeting that there are 82,000 Bhutanese inside Bhutan who are stateless. He further said that this issue is a blind spot for UNHCR for so long and this needs to be addressed.

Sharma also discussed the difficulties faced by the former political prisoners of Bhutan, who were released after several years of imprisonment to get registered with UNHCR and join the family members for resettlement with Monica Zanarelli, Deputy Head of operations for South Asia, ICRC, HQ in Geneva. In response, Zanarelli has assured all possible help, including issuance of lesser passer if there is problem to obtain travel document, given that a host country is willing to settle the concerned refugees.

A key member of the Australian delegation, Paul Power, CEO, Refugee Council of Australia has stressed to explore all possible means to resettle the political prisoners. He has suggested to raise the issue with the UNHCR separately (which was arranged and discussed), delegates from the core group of countries in the tri-partite meeting starting July 6.

According to Sharma, the senior most UNHCR officials were very supportive of the issues raised and to address them for the benefit of the Bhutanese refugees. As per the official, the Bhutanese refugee issue has been the largest UNHCR resettlement operations in the world in 2009 where the largest numbers of refugees were resettled, followed by refugees from Myanmar. Sharma was also selected as a penal speaker on ‘Violence Against Women’ in one of the sessions in the meeting.

Reported by Tejman Rayaka Monger, Munich, Germany for BNS

26644 COMMENTS

  1. First of all, I must thank Australian Government and the people who assist him to have Australian Citizenship. Parsu Luitel! You did a remarkable work on behalf of Bhutanese Refugee living around the globe for the common cause. Hope you will be the first person to visit Bhutan in near future.

  2. Parsu Bhinaju, I really appreciate your job. Your representation is no less than a representative from any government and has spoken the real issues of Bhutanese in exile. I along with my family members would like to thankyou so much for your effort.
    Pashupati Timsina
    Atlanta

  3. Hi Parsu ji,
    You did the remarkable work. We the Bhutanese People living in Jacksoville florida has appricated your work.
    I personally and on the behalf of Bhutanese of Jacksonville would like to thanks.

    with Regards
    Manoj Rai

  4. Parsu Bhai, you are an Australian citizen – but that did not stop you from working for the Bhutanese cause. There lies your greatness. In a few years from now, most of our people will acquire naturalized citizenship in the countries of resettlement. You have set a good example for every one.

    I am sure there will be some good outcomes from your visit to Geneva. But more than that, the way you have given yourself for this cause will speak for you – and to other Bhutanese – that ‘core’ inside us will not be melted away just because we happen to be in a different land.

    Congratulations! And keep working.

  5. Thank u Parsu for strongly raising the issues of Bhutanese refugees and the refugees of South/east Asia.
    I hope, we can do more of these activities whenever, we get this kind of opportunity.
    Thanks
    DB Adhikari

  6. We went through a pain for a long time I think now we are in a healing process.
    Your achievement indeed a therapy for all of us.We are happy.Our broken and mentally dried heart is sprinkled with little water this time.

    This is indeed a great political support by the Govt there for oue cause.
    Bhutanese mitra as an Austrilian delegate.
    wow wow…Thanks.

  7. Congratulation! Parsu Daju,

    Your work has spoken to everybody who were not seen supportive to our cause till now.

    You have done an excellent work by raising the various issues of Bhutanese which are genuine.

    Sushil K Niroula
    Adelaide, Aus

  8. Looking back to the genesis of the Bhutanese political turmoil in the late eighties and nineties, Bhutan has changed its strategy from state terrorism to international campaign on gross national happiness to crush the aspiration of the Bhutanese people. The regime has prepared people like Jigme Thinley, Karma Ura and others as shooters of the agenda in the international forums,forgetting the misery, grief and life long unhappiness of poorest of the poors in Lhuentse and other districts of Bhutan.

    Simultaniously, with time, Bhutanese movement for human rights, justice and democracy is grooming people like Parsuram Sharma Luital and several hundreds of activists to campaign the genuine cause of Bhutanese people in the international arena. TCR has changed the scenerio of the Bhutnaese movement. We should remain thankful to the core group countries for giving the recognision of the cause and exposure of the issue.

    It is a high previlage that a Bhutanese refugee activist Mr. Luital from Australia is selected as one of the penal speakers in the international forum. He was supported and guided by many Bhutanese intellectuals through a net work from around the globe to shape up the advocacy.

    Durga Giri, Munich,Germany.

  9. Parsu Sir.Thank you very much for demonstrating your master-piece and proving to be an exemplary figure for every Bhutanese,whoever poke their noses to claim themselves as leaders of the Bhutanese refugees.I wonder,if all leaders were like him, owing such kinds of metabolism,selflessness and dedication to the Issue of one lakh exiled Bhutanese,perhaps we would have already acchieved our goal a decade back.I am sorry,if I was not supposed to have come up with this pinch to our Netas but it is a fact to learn that, Mr.Luitel is an Australian citizen, who possesses all comforts and luxuries currently. Indeed, he has nothing to bother about the Bhutanese Refugee Crises but just see him, how dare and how optimistic he is to advocate onbehalf of our problem. That is why,when I came to know about his task and contribution to us ,just I couldnot resist which compelled me to explore my views in this commentry column here.Since,I am not intentionally prepared with my mind-set to humuliate any identical leader,I hope that,my words will not injure all the leaders as it is revealed in a general sense.Incase,if this cross- matches any body,That will be just a coincidence.
    Hem Gurung.
    Nordreisa,Norway.

  10. Hi Parsu ji.It is an exclusive explosure from your behalf,representating the same voice and the common agony of over one lakh Bhutanese.Plz continue your effort in later days too. Congratulation to your success and Best of Luck for further success on several steps to go with.

  11. Excellent,Parsu Sir.We are really proud of you.We are fortunate to have one Parsu in Australia and I wish let several Parsus be emerged from other countries too in near future. All the best.

  12. Hello Parsu dai, you have done a fantastic job in Geneva raising our issue to a greater height. Thank you for the relentless effort you have made to help support Bhutanese and other South Asian homeless people. I would be even more happy if you can approach Australian Government to resettle Bhutanese refugees in Perth, Western Australia. We are waiting for more Bhutanese to come here. My family is the only Bhutanese refugee family in Perth. Hope I would be able to contact you soon.

    Regards

  13. Thanks to Australian Govt.n other concerned bodies for assisting Mr.Parsuram Sharma to get admissiom in the 48th Standing Committee Meeting of UNHCR in Geneva.Many people including some so-called Bhutanese leaders in exile have forgotten refugee camps as well as the sufferings of the refugees after resettling in advanced and well facilated countries. Instead of spending luxuries life and earning for own benefits Mr.Sharma has been working n raising the issue of poor people who are stil residing in camps n surrounding areas.I, on behalf of the people in camps offer him oceanfull thanks and aspect more deeds in future.

  14. Hi good old friend Mr. Parshu Ram Luitel,
    I just don’t have words to describe your deeds!! It’s a lesson to Bhutan and an awareness that one day when the Marxist philosophy of classless society and demolition of political boundaries occurs, the so narrow so called Druk Regime will be compelled to leave its chauvinism.
    Anyway you have done a great job and keep it up!!!

  15. If I am not mistaken Mr.Luitel seems to have done something laudable to the general mass of the globe. He must have raised issues that are in much need of international attention and like the egg and the hen, with more attention there will never be shortages of the seekers.
    Some of the comments here seems to be targeted to the country of Bhutan and the bitter truth is as long as the narrowness of the thought is persistent there can never be the satisfaction.
    At times I fear for the donor countries, the host countries who have and are being kind enough to accomodate some of these potential threats may be inviting hooligans into their boundaries. Actually, Bhutan should serve as an example.
    Talking about having many Luitel from diferent countries frighten me. In reality ‘classless’ is a word abhorred by these so called refugees. Infact Caste is an issue very much prevalent in southern Bhutan. These people in southern Bhutan hold their so called caste more dear than their own children and talking about the ‘Druk Regime’, I am quite sure many people would like to rule the Bhutanese country. But I tell you the ‘Real’ Bhutanese love their King, they are grateful for what the kings did and just wanting to live in Bhutan doesn’t qualify one as a Bhutanese. Even the majority of the people in southern Bhutan themselves call themselves ‘hami Nepali haru’ (we Nepali ppl). In such a case the country of Nepal, their country, is an independent nation and branding them as refugees and even Bhutanese seems awakard.
    Since I’ld like to live in Australia or Germany or Sweden or any foreign country, I might as well pick up the refugee banner and recite the solgans. Tearless cries!!!