Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Core Group Hopes For Expedited Exit Permits For Refugees


US Envoy Nancy J Powell has hoped that the Nepal government would approve expedited exit permits for Bhutanese refugees. As the chairperson of the Core Group of Nations working closely with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in support of the refugees from Bhutan, Powell expressed her pleasure at the official opening on January 9, 2008 of the refugee resettlement processing center in Damak for the Bhutanese refugees, in a statement issued by the US embassy today. The center is operated by the International Organization for Migration.
The statement said tthat it is our hope that in 2008 more than 13,000 refugees will be resettled from Nepal. By the end of 2009, we hope that an additional 20,000 or more refugees who have chosen resettlement will be starting new lives in the United States, Australia, Canada, and elsewhere.

Each refugee is entitled to make his or her own choice, in an atmosphere free from threats and intimidation. We thank the Government of Nepal, through the efforts of the Nepal Police and Armed and Civilian Police for its work in improving the security and safety of the refugees in the camps. We know that many refugees in the camps remain concerned about their security and ask that the Government maintain its vigilance in this regard and vigorously pursue the perpetrators of violent acts against the residents of the camps, the statement said.

The Core Group nations – and other nations – have extended the offer of resettlement as a humanitarian durable solution for the refugees only after many years of attempts by the Governments of Nepal and Bhutan to negotiate a repatriation solution. The Core Group would like to emphasize that the offer of resettlement goes hand in hand with our continuing efforts to urge the Government of Bhutan to accept the return of the refugees. Repatriation and local integration are recognized by all of us as being equally desirable durable solutions, the statement added.

The core group of Nations also called upon the Government of Nepal to approve expedited exit permits for all refugees who are currently otherwise eligible for resettlement and to establish for future use a standardized process for the expeditious departure of refugees who wish to be resettled.

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