US official checks refugee security mechanism

Damak, November 1:

Visiting US Assistant Secretary of Population, Refugees and Migration Ellen Sauerbrey today acquired information on security arrangements at the Bhutanese refugee camps and progress on their resettlement in the US.

She also held talks with district-based security officials on security arrangements in the camps.

Chief District Officer of Jhapa Jaya Mukunda Khanal said that, at the meeting held in Chandragadhi, the US Assistant Secretary was apprised of beefed-up security arrangements in the camps. “The US Assistant Secretary expressed appreciation for the security arrangements.”

The security situation worsened at the camps following the US offer to resettle 60,000 Bhutanese refugees in the US. Bhutanese refugees are feeling insecure following clashes between the factions favouring repatriation to Bhutan and resettlement to the US. Two refugee youths died when security personnel opened fire in Damak’s Beldangi camp in May (Jestha month) following a clash.

The government has set up new armed police forces posts in all seven camps in Jhapa and Morang to ensure security of the refugees. Sauerbrey also held discussions with representatives of donor agencies in Damak. One of the participants at the discussion said Sauerbrey was keen to know about the ongoing assistance and resettlement process.

She also inspected the Life Line Hospital. She will inform the refugees at the Beldangi refugee camp about the US resettlement programme tomorrow. She will inspect the Goldhap camp in eastern Jhapa and return to Kathmandu the same day.