UPDATE (BHUTAN/NEPAL/INDIA/UNHCR): Bhutanese refuges start indefinite hunger strike 


Urgent Appeal Case: UP-02-2003
ISSUES: Refugees, IDPs & Asylum seekers,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has been informed that more than 100,000 Bhutanese refugees in Nepal have decided to go on an indefinite hunger strike beginning today (Jan. 7) in order to demand that both the governments of Bhutan and Nepal announce the results of the verification process to determine their refugee status, which was concluded last year. They have also demanded rehabilitation and immediate repatriation back to their homeland of Bhutan from which they were forced to leave during attempts of ethnic cleansing in 1989 and 1990.

They are stating that “we, more than 100,000 Bhutanese nationals languishing in refugee camps, can no longer remain refugees. We want to lead normal lives like any human on earth.”

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), about 110,800 Bhutanese refugees have been living in the refugee camps in eastern Nepal since 1990. Therefore, to resolve the refugee crisis, dialogue between the governments of Bhutan and Nepal has taken place several times. The government of Bhutan finally implemented a verification process for the refugees so that they can be repatriated, a process that was concluded last year for some of them. However, the results of the verification process have not yet been published, and there has been no further effort to verify the remaining 88 percent of the Bhutanese refugees, or 89,100 people.

AHRC will seek to closely follow this issue and requests that you also follow developments related to this matter and take solidarity actions for the resolution of the Bhutanese refugee crisis in Nepal. If you want more information on this issue, please see our previous appeal at <http://www.ahrchk.net/ua/mainfile.php/2002/389/>.

Thank you for your attention to this concern.

Urgent Appeals Desk
Asian Human Rights Commission

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Document Type : Urgent Appeal Update
Document ID : UP-02-2003
Countries : India, Nepal,
Issues : Refugees, IDPs & Asylum seekers,