Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Resettlement Will Help in Repatriation: IOM Official


A high-ranking official of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has said that the resettlement of Bhutanese refugees to the United States will also pave the way for their repatriation to Bhutan.

"The resettlement of Bhutanese refugees to the United States of America will open all doors of repatriation to their homeland", David Derthick, manager at the Damak-based office of the IOM, said on Wednesday.

"Resettlement is not good for all, but it has become imminent for some," Derthick said, adding that the process of resettlement was initiated after the Bhutanese refugee issue persisted for a long time. He said, "All refugees are free to choose the option of resettlement and no one is under pressure."

Derthick claimed that the Bhutanese refugees will be in a better position to launch pressure from the United States of America for repatriation to homeland than what they could do from Nepal. "Once they resettle in the US, the new generation will have the opportunity for best education. They can create international pressure and Bhutan will have no choice but to accept its citizens back." He said that Bhutan, after driving its citizens away from home, has not won the game, but found itself in an awkward position.

Derthick said, "Bhutan has lost its important and good citizens."
He said that the number of Bhutanese refugees that will be taken to the US for resettlement cannot be confirmed at this time. Saying that the resettlement process will help the new generation especially, he said that repatriation to Bhutan after resettlement in the US cannot be ruled out.

"There are many instances in which many refugees have returned to their homeland after resettlement in third countries."
The United Nations High Commission for Refugees has recommended a name list of 3,000 Bhutanese refugees to the IOM for resettlement in the US, he said, adding the process of interviewing them has begun. "It's up to us to decide who will go to which country. It is under jurisdiction of the UNHCR or the host country," Derthick said. "However, certain criteria are there for selection. We will handle them."

Refuting rumours that the IOM was intimidated; he said that the security situation at the camps is excellent. "The cooperation we received from the Nepal government is excellent." He said that the refugees in Nepal were treated in a better way than their counterparts in Africa and other nations. The people here have also cooperated a lot, he said.

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