Friday, June 6, 2008

Core Group Flays Attacks against Refugees, Humanitarian Workers

Source: The Himalayan Times

The governments of Australia, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and the United States, as members of the Core Working Group on Bhutanese Refugees in Nepal, have expressed deep concern over attacks and escalating threats against Bhutanese refugees seeking third country resettlement and the humanitarian workers who assist them, says a release from US Embassy in Kathmandu.

As the International Organization for Migration, the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and the World Food Programme noted in their May 22 statement, attacks against refugees and humanitarian staff endanger continued provision of aid to refugees in Nepal. Attacks by groups opposed to third-country resettlement reveal their fundamental disregard for the welfare of the people whose cause they claim to promote. We call on the Government of Nepal to bring to justice the perpetrators of these violent attacks, the release said.

" The Core Group notes that many refugees seeking resettlement are not swayed by these threats; refugees continue to seek resettlement consideration. We recognize that resettlement to another country is not the first choice of most refugees, whose strongest desire is to go home. Third country resettlement should not bar refugees from returning to Bhutan in the future. Members of the Core Group continue to urge the Government of Bhutan to accept the repatriation of its citizens. Violence does not facilitate these efforts."

The Core Group commends the courage of humanitarian workers who assist refugees despite threats of violence. We also greatly appreciate the daily efforts of district officials and police to protect refugees and humanitarian workers. We are committed to working with the Government of Nepal, the Royal Government of Bhutan, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees towards a comprehensive and sustainable solution for this refugee population that best meets the individual needs of the refugees."

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