Jhapa DAO move irks Bhutanese rights bodies

Kathmandu, June 2:

The Association of Press Freedom Activists (APFA) Bhutan, Bhutan Press Union (BPU) and the Third World Media Network (TWMN), Bhutan Chapter have raised serious concern over “the decision of administration in Jhapa to file cases of criminal offense against those refugees trying to return to their country voluntarily during the recent Long March.”

Saying that the Nepali government has failed to find out a solution to the crisis and to pursue the Bhutanese authority to take back its citizens for the past 17 years, a release issued by the APFA, BPU and TWMN said the Bhutanese refugees began their voluntary repatriation march after realising that Nepal would not be able to make the Druk regime to take back its citizens.

“Instead of extending support and solidarity to the efforts of the refugees, the local authority has charged them with criminal accusations,” the statement said terming the Nepal government’s act as “condemning, irresponsible and inexcusable.”

“This proves that Nepal is not serious towards repatriating the refugees,” the release said. It has condemned the act of the Indian security forces of beating media persons during the Long March.

“We ask all concerned to respect rights of the individual refugee to choose whether he or she wants to live in Nepal, go back to Bhutan or resettle in third countries a proposed by the UNHCR,” the release further said.