Wednesday, January 9, 2008

US to Shelter 10,000 Bhutanese Refugees Soon

Source: The Himalayan Times

The United States will assimilate 10,000 Bhutanese refugees living in Nepal under the first phase of refugee rehabilitation programme, US ambassador to Nepal Nancy J Powell said on Wednesday. Powell was speaking at the inauguration of Overseas Processing Entity (OPE).
Though Powell did not specify when the process will begin, Jhapa chief district officer Shankar Prasad Koirala told this daily that the US and Nepal governments had agreed that the first batch of refugees will leave for the US in March.

Powell told the gathering to take the rehabilitation offers from countries other than the US just as seriously. "We mooted the third-country settlement option after realising that it was difficult to get the refugees repatriated," she said.

Powell said the US will not abandon its efforts to get the refugees repatriated, adding that under the circumstances third-country settlement was the most feasible option. "They left their homes 17 years ago and are leading displaced lives. If their repatriation is forced upon Bhutan, they might be uprooted again," said Powell.

CDO Koirala said that while the government was committed to the refugees' repatriation, it had also kept the option of third-country settlement open for those wanting to opt for it. Newly appointed UNHCR Nepal chief Daisy Dale said the refugees were free to opt for either repatriation or third-country settlement. She added that she will visit Jhapa district again to discuss the issues of the refugees.

Spokesperson for the international non-government organisation IOM's Damak office chief David Derthicke said his organisation will see to the verification of refugees, their rehabilitation and do all the paperwork with regard to forwarding their documents to the host countries. Denmark's and Norway's ambassadors, who visited Jhapa along with Powell, also dropped by at the IOM office.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Soon, soon, soon but when ?
First it was Jan 2008 and now they are saying March.
What is the problem with them ? I mean why organisation are not coming up with what the problem is ? Who the problem is ?
Or this is some kind of game that people are playing using us.
We know there are lots of people waiting. I think it is now time to take major steps by American Government and concerned organisation to resettle refugees. The delay will only create space for the wrong people to act like what we have seen in Arjun Subba case. If this is something that Americanos wants (Fight Each Other) then this is unacceptable. If you really want to take people, take it as early as possible before it is too late.