This refers to the news brief “Missive to Bhutan for talks” (THT, Oct.13). The government has finally realised the importance of resolving the Bhutanese refugee crisis. Negligence and insincerity of the erstwhile governments had led to the failure of previous efforts to repatriate the refugees. The Nepal-Bhutan talks scheduled for November must also involve the representatives of both the refugees and the international community. All should ensure that this round produces positive results.
On the other hand, the refugees should be allowed to apply for asylum in a third country directly through the UNHCR. The sponsoring countries, in turn, should make public their criteria for resettlement.
Yuva Raj Baral, Birtamod, Jhapa
The Nepali government has been unable to resolve the Bhutanese refugee crisis for the last 16 years, thanks mainly to its inept diplomatic efforts. There is no indication that future talks with Bhutan will succeed. Third-country resettlement is a great option, as it will end the misery of the refugees. The Nepali government should agree to the proposal for third-country resettlement.
Tika Ram Ghimirey, Khudunabari Refugee Camp
The summit talks between the government and the Maoists are being prolonged for no good reason. Even before the talks began, it appeared as if they had already agreed on the important issues.
But this delay is giving rise to doubts. Every day we heard that the talks were “fruitful” even without significant agreement. But the dialogue had to be postponed indefinitely after the brief third round. The Maoists have no option but to give up their arms before the general elections. Many ordinary citizens will fear the Maoists even without arms, but if they join the government carrying arms, it will endanger the prospects of free and fair polls. Nepal will also risk losing the goodwill of friends like the United States and India if it allows the Maoists to join the government without settling the issue of arms properly.
Kedarnath Basnet, Janakpur
S P Dhoubhadel’s write-up “The politics of status quo” (THT, Oct.13), aptly illustrates the predicament the country is in. On the one hand, the government has failed to maintain law and order; on the other, the SPA-Maoist talks are being drawn out unnecessarily.
The situation calls for strong leadership from the PM who should ensure that the NC adheres to true democratic norms, appoints a defence minister at the earliest and rises above petty interests.
The Prime Minister’s insistence on giving the monarch a ceremonial role has allowed the Maoists more leverage on the issue of arms management. The idea of merging the Maoist militia into the Nepali Army does not seem a bad idea.
Of course, this calls for the establishment of a military body to facilitate the process. It should consist of representatives of both the Nepali Army and the militia. The members of the militia can also be sent on United Nations peacekeeping missions abroad in the future.
Ishwari Pradhan, via e-mail