Prime Minister Thinley’s fluctuating remarks, from labelling all refugees as ‘illegal immigrants’ to his recent statement that some are indeed genuine Bhutanese, also reflect a nebulous approach. In 1992, at an international conference on Bhutan in London, Thinley, then home secretary, presented a paper in which he defended his government’s position against southern Bhutanese, labelling them as illegal immigrants. During the recent visit, Thinley’s delegation in Kathmandu was accompanied by Khandu Wangchuck, minister for economic and foreign affairs, who in 2006 called the refugees ‘readymade terrorists’. Such backgrounding certainly makes one wonder whether, instead of waiting for another round of talks to materialise, refugees should ponder third-country resettlement, launched by the UN’s refugee agency in 2007 [...]
BY DR. BHAMPA RAI: Instead of hearing to their appeal, the Royal government chose to militarize the region launching brutal method of crackdown, following intimidation, arbitrary arrest, torture and killing in makeshift detention cells. Schools were converted into interrogation centers, while women were raped, houses were zeroed to ashes and valuable documents confiscated alongside the militarization of villages and towns. In such dreaded state of affairs, those affected Bhutanese people had to flee the country for their lives. Their relatives and others, who decided to remain behind too were coerced into signing voluntary migration forms at the gun point and finally evicted from their homeland.