THT 10 years ago: Life in US would be nice, think refugees

Damak/ Kathmandu,March 9, 2007

Hundreds of Bhutanese refugees living in camps in Jhapa and Morang are happy over the prospect of living in the United States. “Our condition will definitely improve if we reach a developed nation,” said a Bhutanese refugee, Mukti Gurung, in the Damak-based Bhutanese refugee camp in Jhapa district.

He had dreamt of living in the US or in some other developed country. “Now my dream is going to come true soon,” he said, referring to the news on the proposal of setting up an overseas processing entity (OPE) to begin the formal process of resettlement of some 60,000 Bhutanese refugees in the US.

“My happiness knows no bounds at the thought of our resettlement in America. I have a dream to be an American citizen,” said Sita Katuwal, a Bhutanese refugee in Sanischare camp in Morang district.

Refugee youths of the Jhapa and Morang districts-based seven camps also said they are happy to be citizens of any nation. “We have been leading a very miserable life in camps for so many years.

We are happy to go to any third country for resettlement,” said Dinesh Luintel in Goldhap camp. “It should be clear why and on what condition America is going to resettle Bhutanese refugees,” said Balram Poudel, chairman of the Bhutan People’s Party.

Parliament green light to constitution amendment bill

The Legislature-parliament today passed the Interim Constitution (First Amendment) Bill, 2007, paving the way for the constituent assembly to restructure the state in accordance with the federal system and adopt the proportional representation in the state-structure.

“The bill has been passed by the two-third majority of the legislature-parliament,” declared Speaker Subas Nembang. 278 lawmakers voted for endorsing the bill, while five other lawmakers voted against it.

Those voting against the passage of the bill were Members of legislature-parliament (MPs) Renu Yadav of Rastriya Janashakti Party, Sunil Prajapati and Leela Nyai Chyai of Nepal Workers’ and Peasants’ Party, and Pari Thapa and Hari Acharya of two separate Janamorcha Nepal Parties.

The chairman of the Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP), MP Pashupati Shumsher Rana refused to withdraw his party’s amendment proposal, and boycott the voting procedure.

A simple majority of the House refused to accept RPP’s proposal that demanded amendment in some provisions of the bill.

Stating that the government was operating by “bullying attitude” towards “Madhesis and ethnic minorities,” Rana added: “The Interim Constitution is incomplete and RPP had registered amendment proposal even before it was passed.” MPs Pari Thapa, Sunil Prajapati and Hari Acharya also refused to withdraw their amendment proposals.