Bhutanese refugee on hunger Strike unto-death

KATHMANDU NEPAL: The Bhutanese refugees at Beldangi-based Bhutanese refugee Camp are under fast-unto-death from the past 7 days.  The hunger strike started from November 15 which is organized by the Relief Deprived Bhutanese Refugees Women’s Group where 15 women strictly following the hunger strike. The women group started the strike demanding the different donor’s identity cards be given the cards and the provision of ration distributed accordingly.

According to Rastriya Samachar Samiti(RSS), “ Acting Chief District Officer of Jhapa district, Yogendra Dulal, coordinator of the Human Rights Organization of Nepal, East Region chapter, Dr. K.P. Subedi, among others had held talks with the representatives of the Women’s Group on Sunday in an effort to break the hunger strike. But the talks failed as the people staging the hunger strike were adamant they would not break their fast until all their demands were met. The Group claims that 3,649 Bhutanese refugees living in six camps in Jhapa and Morang districts have missed the verification carried out by the UN High Commission on Refugees and therefore have not got the identity cards with them which has resulted in they being deprived of various relief assistance given to the refugees.”

According to Bhutanese Refugees .com, “Since 1991 over one sixth of Bhutan’s people have sought asylum in Nepal, India and other countries around the world. The vast majority of the refugees are Lhotshampas, one of Bhutan’s three main ethnic groups, who were forced to leave Bhutan in the early 1990s. There is ample evidence, as documented by Amnesty International and other human rights organisations that the expulsion of large numbers of Lhotshampas was planned and executed with meticulous attention to detail. Over 105,000 Bhutanese have spent more than 15 years living in refugee camps established in Nepal by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. Thousands more are living outside the camps in Nepal and India, and some in North America, Europe and Australia. Since 2008 a resettlement process has seen many thousands of Bhutanese refugees from the camps in Nepal being re-settled primarily in the USA but also in Canada, Australia, Denmark, New Zealand, the Netherlands and Norway.” 

Shreedeep Rayamajhi