UNHCR vows to advocate repatriation


Beldangi-I, June 18: The resident representative of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Stephen Jacquemet has promised that the agency would constantly advocate for repatriation of the Bhutanese citizens.

The UNHCR's chief/Arjun Pradhan
The UNHCR's chief in the function /Arjun Pradhan

“Some of you are critical to UNHCR that it promotes just resettlement,” he said while addressing a function organized here to mark World Refugee Day 2010, “I refute such allegations. UNHCR is constantly advocating for your dignified repatriation.”

He also elaborated that resettlement package is at least a solution – it offers refugees different life styles, real future and dignified living. “You will be able to raise stronger voices for repatriation from the resettling countries,” he added.

The UNHCR chief also assured various supports to materialize repatriation process in case it begins in future. “We will be there to provide all possible supports when you start your safe return to your country.”

The Camp Secretary, T.B.Gurung, demanded registration of all pending case. “When we are celebrating this day, hundreds of fellow-countrymen are without breads,” Gurung expressed in his speech.

Around 2000 Bhutanese participated in a peace rally this morning.  Representatives of various aid agencies joined the march comprising various groups on traditional dresses, musical instruments and placards.

“Several Bhutanese citizens on national dress marched enthusiastically to carry a message – they took my home but they 

Peace rally organized in Beldangi-I camp to mark WRD 2010/Arjun Pradhan
Peace rally organized in Beldangi-I camp to mark WRD 2010/Arjun Pradhan

cannot take my future,” commented Prakash Angdambe, a local artist, who reached the spot to express his solidarity.

Angdambe was astonished to see the formal starting of program with Bhutan’s national anthem. “The scene was touching for every person,” he said, “Our Bhutanese friends, who are never recognized as citizens by Bhutan, are wearing Bakhu and Kira to sing their national anthem.”

Likewise, Khudunabari camp also organized a similar function to mark the day.

The camp management committee of the camp staged a historic drama. “We are acting to teach history to our people right from 1624 A.D. when we first entered Bhutan,” Camp Secretary, Bhanu Dhungana, told Bhutan News Service just before the program.

According to Dhungana, resettled Bhutanese from Nebraska have assured financial support for organizing the event. “We have not yet received the grant. But they are supporting us financially,” Dhungana told BNS.

(With inputs from Jeetan Subba and Arjun Pradhan from Beldangi-I camp)