One lakh Bhutanese refugees resettled outside Nepal

Kathmandu, November 19

Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli today said he was very happy at the resettlement of over 100,000 Bhutanese refugees in different countries.

Addressing a function organised to mark the resettlement of 100,000 Bhutanese refugees today Oli expressed gratitude to those supporting the endeavour and congratulated the Bhutanese Refugees on their new life.

Oli said Nepal had accepted Bhutanese Refugees two-and-half decades ago.

Today, UNHCR and the International Organisation for Migration marked the resettlement of over 100,000 Bhutanese refugees from Nepal in third countries since the programme was launched in 2007.

Devi Maya Thapa, 53, the 100,000th refugee to be resettled from Nepal said, “I am leaving the refugee camp forever after spending more than two decades in Nepal. I am happy that our family will be together in our new country and my children will have a better future,” at the function.

Eight years ago, 108,000 refugees from Bhutan were living in the seven camps in Jhapa and Morang districts.

A core group of eight countries came together in 2007 to create this opportunity for Bhutanese refugees. Australia took in 5,554, Canada 6,500, Denmark 874, New Zealand 1002, the Netherlands 327, Norway 566, the United Kingdom 358 and the United States 84,819.

“This is one of the largest and most successful programme of its kind and the resettlement of nearly nine out of 10 Bhutanese refugees is an extraordinary achievement,” said UNHCR Representative Craig Sanders. “Eight years ago, few would have envisioned

we would reach this milestone. We give credit and thanks to the resettlement countries, the government and people of Nepal, the refugee community and our NGO and UN partners with whom we have worked for over two decades.”

Chairperson of the Core Group of eight resettlement countries, Australian Ambassador to Nepal Glenn White said, “Australia is proud to have played a part in this highly successful resettlement programme.

The departure of the 100,000th Bhutanese refugee is a demonstration of the strong humanitarian cooperation between the eight resettlement countries, Nepal, UNHCR and IOM.”

IOM Nepal Chief of Mission Maurizio Busatti stated, “Reaching the 100,000th resettlement is a remarkable success, it shows how strong the partnership among all actors has been.”

As resettlement reaches its end, it is estimated that around 10 to 12,000 refugees will remain in the camps in Nepal. “UNHCR, together with IOM and the international community, will continue efforts to achieve comprehensive and lasting solutions for the remaining population,” said the press statement issued today.

PM Oli also said Nepal government requests the international community to ensure the resettlement of remaining Bhutanese refugees as well.

Addressing the special ceremony, US ambassador to Nepal Alaina B Teplitz thanked the government and people of Nepal for generously welcoming Bhutanese Refugees for over 20 years and facilitating their travel to the United States and other countries as well.