Sunday, March 9, 2008

60 Bhutanese refugees on way to US, New Zealand

Source: The Himalayan Times

Sixty Bhutanese refugees from Khudunabri, Goldhap and Timai camps in Jhapa district and Shanishcharey camp in Morang district today left on a Yeti Airlines flight from Bhadrapur to Kathmandu. These 60 refugees will be later taking international flights from Kathmandu to the US and New Zealand, said Jhapa CDO Shankar Prasad Koirala.

Bal Krishna Ghimire, a refugee at Goldhap camp, said the refugees belonging to 17 families seemed happy at the chance of rehabilitation in a third country. The US has said it will accommodate 60,000 refugees.

Jhapa assistant CDO Laxman Prasad Hamal said 150 refugees were given the clearance for third-country settlement. Of these, 60 left for Kathmandu today, he added. Earlier, the family of former secretary of Beldangi camp in Damak Hari Bagale and the family of Tilanga Dhital of the same camp had been sent to the US for resettlement. However, there is no official confirmation of this piece of news.

The UNHCR is handling the third-country resettlement of the refugees. International organisation IOM is interviewing other refugees. Controversy prevails over the question of third- country resettlement, with a small but unruly section of the refugees standing against it and threatening other refugees not to opt for third-country resettlement. In May, two refugees in Beldangi camp were killed in a clash over the issue.

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