Long-term fix to refugee crisis sought

Jhapa, July 16

Bhutanese refugee leaders have said a lasting solution to the refugee problem is impossible until they were allowed to return home.

Speaking at a press meet organised in Jhapa, Damak on Saturday, the leaders also accused the international community of being biased against Bhutanese refugees.

“As per the international laws refugees should be allowed to return home, but the international community has resorted to third country resettlement instead of doing the needful to let us return home,” said Dr Bhampa Rai, chairperson of the Committee for Repatriation of Bhutanese Refugees.

He also called on the government to create pressure at the international level to resolve the Bhutanese refugee crisis. “Other than repatriation of the refugees, anything done for them, either third country resettlement or integration in the local community will prove fatal in the long run. The stake stakeholders need to take into account,” Rai reasoned.

On his part, secretary of Jhapa’s Beldangi Refugee Camp Sanchahang Subba spoke against the plan to rehabilitate Bhutanese refugees into the local community.

Referring to Prime Minister KP Oli’s hint at the option of integration into the local community during his speech delivered on the occasion of World Refugee Day, Subba said, “Such alternative could be fatal as it could provoke Bhutan to chase off the remaining people of Nepali origin.”