UNHCR sets a month deadline to decide on resettlement

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The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has given a month-long deadline for exiled Bhutanese to decide on the third country resettlement.

The deadline applies to both refugees who have earlier declared their interests for resettlement, and those who have never applied, according to media reports from Kathmandu.

2267611136-unhcr-UNHCR-Priority-must-be-given-to-disembarkation-of-asy“We’ve granted extra time for those who had earlier filled the forms but failed to appear in the interview for the same. We have sent them forms to notify us their final wish,” The Himalayan Times (THT) from Kathmandu quoted UNHCR’s External Relations Officer, Nini Gurung, as saying.

The Bhutan News Service (BNS) is awaiting an official response from the UN Refugee Agency in this regard.

Meanwhile, Beldangi Camp Secretary Sangchahang Subba informed BNS that the UN has set a Hobson’s choice for refugees at this hours. Listen to his audio below.

“They (UNHCR) want refugees to select one of the set options such as i) not willing to resettle, b) willing to resettle in immediate future, or c) will make a decision and inform the agency,” explained Subba.

According to Subba, UNHCR officials have been mobilized in camps to make refugees sign one of the three declarations.

“There must be something to doubt upon this move. They have never informed us officially. However, I have heard that the agency’s motive is to collect actual statistics on resettlement,” added Subba.

Media reports quoted Gurung as explaining that the move was a survey to determine the actual number of refugees willing to be resettled as she cited that many from among those who earlier declared their interests to resettle have also started remaining absent during the agency’s repeated calls for interviews.

The latest statistics are such that 83,000 refugees have already opted new lives in various western countries. Similarly, 26,000 individuals are reportedly being processed for resettlement while around 12,000 have not yet applied for resettlement choosing to wait for repatriation.