Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Foreign Minister says all options open for Bhutanese refugees

Foreign Minister Sahana Pradhan has said the government is open to all options for finding solution of the protracted Bhutanese refugee crisis.

Speaking at the Foreign Affairs Committee of the parliament on Wednesday, minister Pradhan also informed that repatriation process and resettlement, including third-country resettlement, of the refugees would go hand in hand.

Pradhan also mentioned that the US government had shown interest in taking around 60,000 refugees. Similarly, Australia pledged to take in 1000 refugees and Demark only 200.

She said the decision was according to the willingness shown by the donors because they wish to resettle the refugees in their own country rather than in UNHCR-managed camps in eastern Nepal.

She, however, noticed that resettlement of the refugees would bring further problems but did not elaborate it.

Canada, Netherlands and other Scandinavian countries have also expressed their interest in taking refugees but the number has not been fixed.

After failing to give Bhutan any option to take back its citizens, the Nepal government has now said it is open to three major options: repatriation, assimilation and resettlement of the refugees as per the demand from donor countries. ia May 09 07