India’s role key to solve refugee crisis, says Rizal

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, January 11:

Bhutanese human rights leader Tek Nath Rizal said he believed that India, as a supreme regional power, is the key to any solution to the Bhutanese refugee crisis. In an interview with, Rizal reiterated his stance that any solution without India’s involvement is unlikely “since Bhutan is guided by India in regard to its external relations bound by the 1949 treaty.”

Rizal also welcomed the “signal” of US to begin to press both Bhutan and Nepal to expedite the process of refugee repatriation. He stressed the role of India saying, “Like most others, I do sincerely believe India is the key to any solution in this case. As the supreme regional power, and the country which land-locks both Bhutan and Nepal, India has tremendous influence in the area.”

Rizal, who is currently in the US to attend an international conference in Washington, said the refugee problem has not received international attention to the point from where it would put pressure on the Bhutan government to take concrete steps to accept its citizens back and resettle them with dignity and respect. Stating that during recent years Nepal has been busy in dealing with its own domestic problems, Rizal said Bhutan for its part has been more than happy to see events unfolding in Nepal and express one excuse after another to prolong the refugee crisis.

“There is no second thought whatsoever in my mind that all Bhutanese living in refugee camps must return to their home and live their lives with full dignity and honour,” Rizal said.

Refuting allegations coming from the Bhutan government that he is “trying to overthrow the monarchy”, Rizal said Southern Bhutanese are very loyal subjects of the King and the country as well as making tremendous progress through their hard work. “The government took advantage of their loyalty and snatched their properties. If you go back to the history of this movement, we did not and still do not have any political demand in our agenda.”