DV victims warn of fresh protests

Kathmandu, August 26:

The ‘victims’ of the US Diversity Visa (DV) lottery programme today warned the government that they will launch fresh protests if it does not take initiatives to resolve their problems.

Speaking at a press meet held by the American DV Victims’ Association (ADVVA), Ghana Shyam Basyal, president, ADVVA, said: “We have only postponed our protest programmes, not cancelled them.”

“If the government does not abide by the agreement and take initiatives to implement the agreement, we will launch fresh protests against the government,” Basyal said.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), stating that it has not received any information from the US embassy, has created an environment of confusion and suspicion and made us think whether the government and America are disregarding our issue.”

Welcoming the newly-appointed US Ambassador Nancy J Powell, DV victims requested that Powell resolve all the problems of the DV victims during her tenure. ADVVA members have been demanding for refund and necessary compensation from the embassy. They said they have spent Rs 55,000 to Rs 330,000 for DV.

The DV victims started their protest in October 2006. They organised a sit-in outside the American Embassy till December 25. They organised a 24-hour relay hunger strike for 105 days till April 9 and a seven-day fast-unto-death as part of their peaceful protest.

They called off their fast on April 16 after the then US ambassador James F Moriarty and Foreign Minister Sahana Pradhan pledged in writing to review the cases of the DV victims on an individual basis. Four months have passed since the agreement, but the government has not clarified what action the MoFA is taking to resolve the problems of the DV victims.