Saturday, December 29, 2007

Don't cajole

Source: The Kathmandu Post

The third-country resettlement of the Bhutanese refugees, which is supposedly underway, leaves a number of questions unanswered. Those interested in the third-country resettlement option are waiting for the call for interview. While the officials concerned allegedly reiterate that the interview is on “first-come-first” basis, those who have been expressing willingness since the beginning are yet to receive the call.

The concerned officials have remarked that those registered outside the camps do not fall under the “vulnerable category”. Well, being a refugee in itself is being vulnerable, isn't it? The mental, psychological or physical pressure those living outside the camp face in trying to make a living cannot be ignored. Some may have opted for staying outside the camps out of choice but I'm sure many have a logical reason to do so.

Does remaining in the shanty alone make one vulnerable? Fear of being out of job anytime, having to compromise with harassing situations at the work place, and trying to help the relatives financially for higher studies or health etc, among others, are but only a few problems those living outside the camps face. One may wonder why they continue to live outside if they have problems. Well, if they had opted for living in the camps, the educated refugees would have acquired several mental disorders. Let us not forget that those living outside the camps have been contributing to the humanity at large in various capacities.

Agreed that the refugees living in the camps are being given priority and it is appreciated. But isn't it important that those living outside, too, be considered refugees and equally vulnerable?

If the third-country resettlement is viewed as a durable solution, then wouldn't it be swift if those willing be given priority rather than cajoling those who are reluctant?

Totadri Sharma


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