KATHMANDU, Aug 31: Bhutanese leader Tek Nath Rizal has appealed to the international community to look into the Bhutanese refugee issue seriously.
The appeal from the exile Bhutanese leader, who is currently taking shelter in Nepal comes at a time when the leaders of South Asia and South East Asia are assembled in Kathmandu to participate in the fourth BIMSTEC Summit.
“I, in the capacity of former National Assembly member, Royal Advisory Councilor of Bhutan and a prisoner of conscience, humbly request your excellencies’ governments to look into the Bhutanese refugee issue seriously and provide them with the rationalized judgment to salvage them from this tragedy once and for all,” said the exiled refugee leader issuing an appeal on Thursday.
Out of the thousands of Bhutanese refugees forced to come to Nepal, more than 112,800 have been resettled in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, Norway, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. Still, as many as 10,000 Bhutanese refugees are living in the refugee camps in Nepal.
“The international community should play a role for their repatriation to their homeland with all safety, security and dignity,” Rizal stated in the appeal.
The international community and the government of Nepal tried and are trying their best to repatriate the genuine Bhutanese to their country Bhutan, though many refugees were compelled to resettle in third countries against their will due to the adamant stand of the Bhutanese regime.
“Such situation has divided the Lotshampha community both in exile and inside Bhutan. Solving the Bhutanese refugee issue just by resettling them in third countries, as presumed by the international community, is going to be more shame than reality, and such move has definitely helped and encouraged the Bhutanese regime to evict more Lotshampas from Bhutan in the future,” said Rizal.