Thursday, October 25, 2007

Refugee resettlement process to start after Tihar


The resettlement process of Bhutanese refugees is to begin after Tihar with more than 10 thousand refugees having shown interest in voluntary third country resettlement.

According to Abraham Abraham, chief of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Nepal, Bhutanese refuges had shown interest in this plan even before it formally publicized a notice regarding voluntary resettlement in a third country and the government disseminated this information in the refugee camps.

He informed that the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has already set up its office in Damak, Jhapa and that it would come into operation within the next two weeks. “However, we haven’t taken the refugees’ application for third country settlement as the last straw in this matter,” he said.

Abraham also said that the security situation in the refugee camps is slowly improving as 25 Armed Police Force (APF) personnel have been stationed in each of the 7 refugee camps on the request of the United Nations including countries like United States of America, Norway, Australia and Canada that have shown willingness to resettle the refugees in their countries. “On the basis of the application filed at the UNHCR, we will recommend the names of refugees willing to go for voluntary repatriation to the IOM.”

He also said that this process would start immediately after the Tihar festival.

According to a population census conducted by the UNHCR and the Home Ministry in the refugee camps two months ago, there are approximately 160,000 refugees in the camps, among which America has already pledged that it would take in 60,000 refugees and Canada 5,000.

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