Women refugees stage sit-in outside UN House

Lalitpur, November 11:

Women from several Bhutanese refugees camps today staged a sit-in in front of the Untied Nations (UN) House in Pulchowk. They appealed to the United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan, to intervene in the matter and look for an amicable solution to problems of the over 100,000 Bhutanese refugees languishing in several camps in eastern Nepal.

The women will demonstrate everyday for a few hours until the Secretary General replies to a letter, which was handed over to Hanne Sorensen, a special assistant to the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Nepal.

The United Nations system in Nepal said it has already forwarded the letter to the headquarters of the United Nations in New York.

“Of late, there has been a curtailment of basic necessities in the refugees camps. Not to mention of education, the health condition is deteriorating. The people are dying for lack of proper treatment for their illnesses,” the refugees wrote in the letter.

As the sit-in coincides with the 13th Summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), which is being held in Dhaka from tomorrow, the refugees have also appealed to the six SAARC member states to mount pressure on Bhutan to allow the repatriation of the refugees.

“The refugees of Bhutan seek to draw the attention of the leaders of South Asian countries and the member states of the United Nations towards their plight and request them to take immediate steps to effectively raise the issue in appropriate forums,” an open appeal stated.

“In the current situation of extreme political stress in our host country, which has shown more forbearance and humanitarian concern for the refugees than any other country, the government of Bhutan has hardly felt any pressure in seeking a solution to the crisis in good faith,” the letter further stated.