UPDATE (BHUTAN/NEPAL/INDIA/UNHCR): Bhutanese refugees to go on hunger strike in all camps 


Urgent Appeal Case: UP-06-2003

Dear Friends,

We are sending you the following development of refugee crisis in Nepal. The hunger strike (Dharna) that began in one the verified camp of Khudunabari on Jan. 7, continues into its 21st day and the representatives of Bhutanese refugees has decided to spread the hunger strike to all seven refugee camps to extend moral support to the refugees in Khudunabari camp.

Please see the following latest updates and maintain your attention on this matter.

If you need more details, please see our appeal and updates at http://www.ahrchk.net/ua/mainfile.php/2002/389/, http://www.ahrchk.net/ua/mainfile.php/2003/393/, http://www.ahrchk.net/ua/mainfile.php/2003/400/.

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Desk
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)



– The hunger strike that began in one the verified camp of Khudunabari on 7 January 2003, continues into its 21st day and the Bhutanese Refugee Representatives Repatriation Committee (BRRRC) has agreed to spread the hunger relay to all seven refugee camps to extend moral support to the refugees in the Khudunabari camp. In a BRRRC press statement, they urged the Bhutan’s Donor countries to suspend all financial support to Bhutan until the latter fully co-operates with taking back its bona-fide refugees.

– On Friday (Jan. 24), two Bhutanese refugee representatives handed a petition from over 12,000 verified refugees to Danish and Japanese embassies in Kathmandu, Nepal. The petition states that the refugees are opposed to the declaration of the verification results based on the four categories (a. Bonafide Bhutanese, if they were forcefully evicted, b. Bhutanese who emigrated, c. Non-Bhutanese, and d. Bhutanese who had committed criminal acts) but on a two part category (Bhutanese and non-Bhutanese), and had no objection if any non-Bhutanese is identified in the seven camps. The embassies assured the refugee representatives that the petition would be stressed by the representative governments at the forthcoming round table conference and the governments would highlight the lack of progress in the bilateral negotiations in the Geneva donor meeting.

The upcoming donor meeting at Geneva will discuss the aid given to Bhutan, in which Austria, Denmark, EU, India, Japan, the Netherlands, Switzerland along with a host of UN and multilateral agencies and other key funding partners of Bhutan will take part.

– The Nepali Minister for Foreign Affairs, Narendra Bikram Shah went to Bhutan and met with the Bhutanese King, the Prime Minister and the Foreign Affairs Minister. The king agreed to hold the long overdue 12th bilateral talk in mid February (a week before the donor talk in Geneva), where they state that after the meeting categorization of the verified Bhutanese refugees will begin. Bhutan and Nepal have yet to agree on what type of categorization they want, (Bhutan wants four, Nepal wants the two mentioned above), and it is imperative to place constructive pressure on both governments, the UNHCR, and donor states to agree on the two part categorization, or many who are true refugees will not be able to repatriate.

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Update
Document ID : UP-06-2003
Countries : Bhutan, India, Nepal,