Refugees wishing for resettlement on rise

Jhapa, September 29:

More and more Bhutanese refugees staying in several camps in Jhapa and Morang are opting for resettlement in third countries.

Refugees, who were earlier opposed to it and were for repatriation, now want to resettle in third countries after the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) started resettling them in different western countries including the United States, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway and New Zealand.

The Nepali government has been providing immigration letters to those wanting to resettle in the third countries.

The government has issued immigration letters to 7,624 Bhutanese refugees so far.

A total of 5,163 refugees have already been flown to third countries so far, the Damak-based IOM office said, adding that 4,833 were taken to the United States and the rest to other countries.

An IOM source said that the number of Bhutanese refugees wishing to go to the third countries was increasing every day.

A total of 51,000 Bhutanese refugees have filled up forms for resettlement in the third countries. IOM has targeted to take 8,676 refugees to the third countries by the end of 2008, the source said.

When asked about the refugees’ attraction towards the third countries, chairman of Bhutan People’s Party, Balram Poudel, said, “The news of large number of refugees wanting to go to third countries is just a propaganda.”

Saying that thousands of refugees were still awaiting their repatriation, he said, “We are trying for our repatriation and the attempts are going ahead positively.”