THT 10 YEARS AGO: Refugees seek UN help

Kathmandu, September 8, 2005

Bhutanese Refugees’ organisations today submitted a letter to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan through the UNDP office in Kathmandu appealing the world body’s urgent intervention for resolving the refugee problem in Nepal. “Since we have no hope for settlement of this issue bilaterally as Bhutan continues to elude its bilateral commitment through delaying tactics, we would like to appeal for urgent intervention of United Nations for resolution of this humanitarian crisis,” the letter addressed to the Secretary General reads. Bhutanese refugees have requested the Secretary General to take note of the unresolved and prolonged human rights situation and initiate urgent actions to resolve the crisis before it goes out of hand. “The role of the UNHCR has only been limited to providing relief assistance to the refugees and it has not been allowed to be a part of bilateral negotiations for repatriation,” stated the letter, which has been submitted on the occasion of the 60th Session of United Nations General Assembly. Stating that the “state of statelessness of over 100,000 Bhutanese refugees must end now,” Peoples Forum for Human Rights and Development has also urged the Secretary General to “ensure uninterrupted and adequate relief assistance to the Bhutanese refugees untilthe problem is resolved, and they return home with dignity and guarantee their human rights.”

Corporate must brace up

Despite Nepal having already become a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the private sector here does not seem capable enough to compete in the global market, as the industry’s present cost of capital is high. Private sector players, who continuously urge the government to make the private sector more competitive are themselves not serious enough in improving corporate culture, opined experts today. Experts at a programme on ‘non-agricultural market access’ organised by the Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI) stressed that at the forthcoming WTO meeting in Hong Kong, a least developed country like Nepal has to be sufficiently prepared to negotiate tariff reduction, preferential treatment and non-tariff barriers. Narendra Basnyat, acting president of CNI, said that the time has come to make our Nepali corporate sector more competitive to utilise the global markets, for which we need to improve our capacity for producing high-quality products. Basnyat said that unless the private sector is able to generate market-oriented, high-quality and cost-effective goods and services, neither would it not be in a position to cope with the emerging market challenges in the domestic front nor will it be able to access global markets. Basnyat stressed upon the need for forward-looking fiscal and monetary policies.