Saturday, November 3, 2007

‘No political motives behind resettlement of Bhutanese, Tibetan refugees in America’ (

US Assistant Secretary for Population, Refugees and Migration Ellen Sauerbrey Saturday dismissed speculations that there were political motives behind the resettlement of Bhutanese or Tibetan refugees in America.

Speaking at a press conference on the last day of her four-day stay in the country today, the US official stated that the Bhutanese refugees are being taken to American to give them new future than that of the environment of the camps and free life.

She also said that there were humanitarian reasons for trying to resettle Tibetans in America.

“We have already been cleared for the US resettlement. We hope that we might see the first plane load arriving around the later part of January if, again, all continuous to move along smoothly,” she said.

She also informed that an office set up for the purpose in Damak, Jhapa would begin taking interviews and carry other activities related to the resettlement of the refugees starting next week.

Although, the US is ready to resettle 60,000 refugees in the country, that was not the limit, the US official informed.

Admitting that the refugees from Bhutan to Nepal require traveling to India, she said, “India has to be very confident of the fact that they’ve the responsibility to ensure that this doesn’t happen again.”

Replying to a question, she said that the US could only urge Bhutan to repatriate the refugees but not force it to do since Bhutan as an independent country.

Stating that she found the Bhutanese refugees still have respect for the Druk monarch, she said that she would inform the Bhutanese officials about this during her visit to the Himalayan kingdom.

Similarly, speaking on Tibetan refugees, she said that the US government was aware that it was a very sensitive matter to Nepal to allow Tibetan refugees to resettle in America.

The government is yet to grant permission to the US government regarding the resettlement of the Tibetan refugees in the US.

However, she said that the US would continue its efforts to convince Nepal to resettle 5,000 Tibetan refugees in America in future.

Sauerbrey, who is on a 12-day visit in the South Asia, is scheduled to go to Bhutan on Sunday and then to India, where she will seek assistance from the Bhutanese and Indian governments in promoting durable solutions, including voluntary repatriation, for the Bhutanese refugees.

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