Kathmandu, January 13
The European Union has contributed two-million Euros (approximately Rs 231 million) to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees to provide protection and sustainable solutions for the refugees from Bhutan in Nepal.
UNHCR will use the fund over the next three years (2016-2018) to resettle Bhutanese refugees in third countries and to care for those who opt to remain in Nepal, the UN refugee wing said in a statement today.
The support will include physical and legal protection as well as services including shelter, education, health, sanitation, access to sustainable energy and support in addressing psycho-social and other specific needs, it added.
“The European Union is more than delighted to make this contribution that will go to meet the basic needs of the 17,000 Bhutanese refugees in eastern Nepal. I hope the assistance will enable a congenial living environment for the refugees who have been receiving support from the EU for many years now,” EU Ambassador to Nepal Rensje Teerink said.
The EU has been continuously supporting UNHCR’s activities for refugees from Bhutan since 1994.
“We are extremely grateful to the EU for this generous contribution. It arrives in time to fill some of our funding gaps and will boost our efforts to find durable solutions for Bhutanese refugees living in Beldangi and Sanischare camps,” said Craig Sanders, UNHCR Representative in Nepal. More than 101,000 Bhutanese refugees have been resettled in eight developed countries since the launch of the resettlement programme in 2007.
According to the UNHCR, Nepal currently hosts more than 17,000 Bhutanese refugees in the two camps. It has estimated that around 10,000 to12,000 refugees will remain in these camps as the resettlement operation will conclude soon.
A version of this article appears in print on January 14, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.