Sunday, August 26, 2007

BMSC expresses concern over the arrest


Media coverage on issues concerning day-to-day developments of the Bhutanese Refugee stalemate since inception has been significant from national, regional and international media point of view.

There had been reports on arrest of refugees following camp scuffle over illegitimate allegation of youths possessing arms and ammunitions in the camps with out substantiating such irresponsible statements from camp secretaries who are mandated to work for the camp welfare. The news that reported alleging youths in the camps of possessing arms aggravated to loss of lives of two youths by police firing following insistence to substantiate the statement. Legal probe of the incidence incomplete and their compensations, as assured by the government, not yet released, bereaved families are suffering in the camp.

As reported in the Kathmandu Post August 24, five youths have been arrested following violence in the camp. It is unfortunate that the boys arrested reportedly belong to pro repatriation group. In this connection, it must be made clear that there has been no opposition to the third country resettlement offer from any corner of the Bhutanese movement for repatriation and democracy. It is allegedly responsibilities of either unscrupulous people filtering into the camps or those people who always stood neutral in the movement creating unhealthy situation by dividing the people as groups working for third country resettlements and those leading repatriation movement.

Through this release, we would like to make our position crystal clear to the media that no pro-repatriation organizations have ever opposed the third country resettlement offer. In fact, responsible group of people in the leadership who aspire for resolving refugee stalemate by early repatriation have appreciated noble proposals from different donor nations and the United Sates in particular as an alternative to repatriation after such a long period of life in the camps. We have repeatedly stressed that the refugee families or individuals have every right to choose their destiny. We had only urged for clarity with regard to their future.

We must not forget or ignore refugee relatives living inside Bhutan including those languishing in the prison. It will be an injustice for the refugee relatives to decide for their destiny beyond repatriation without knowing the fate of their relatives languishing in the prison and those living discriminated life inside Bhutan.

It is not out of place at this juncture to mention that no country has approached us supporting repatriation agenda, but only a few have offered for 3rd country resettlement. This agenda too have only helped to create confusion in the camps due to absence of clarity in all aspects of the prospects of the agenda.

It is unfortunate that pro repatriation group has been continuously attacked using different means that extended to circulation of fake and forged letters to defame and assassinate characters of responsible leaders often campaigning against their qualities and their personal profiles.

We urge Nepal government to speed up investigation of the refugee unrest that took lives of two youths of Beldangi camp in May 2007 and expedite release of compensations as the bereaved families have not yet been compensated.

We appeal media concerns and urge them to review the camp situation and help us advocate for the government to conclude their probe at the earliest.

Tek Nath Rizal
Bhutanese Movement Steering Committee
August 25, 2007

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