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‘65,000 Bhutanese refugees resettled from Nepal’

KATHMANDU (PTI): As many as 65,000 Bhutanese refugees, residing in Nepalese camps, have been resettled in the US and European nations under a resettlement programme by United Nations refugee agency.

According to the UN High Commissioner of Refugees (UNCHR). the US which received 54,731 Bhutanese refugees, is the largest resettlement country followed by Canada with 4,663 and Australia that has accommodated 3,476 refugees.

The third country resettlement programme was initiated for the Bhutanese refugees, most of them Lhotshampas ethnic group, who had fled the country in the early 1990s.

Deputy High Commissioner of UNHCR, T Alexander Alienikoff told a press conference at the end of his brief visit here that only 48,640 refugees were left in two camps of eastern Nepal.

The newly-appointed Deputy High Commissioner was here to assess the latest situation of the Bhutanese and other refugees residing in Nepal and to familiarise himself about the refugee activities being carried out by UNHCR Nepal. He met Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Vijaya Kumar Gachhadar and discussed the problems being faced by the Bhutanese refugees and the issues relating to their repatriation. UNHCR is providing food, shelter and other assistance to the Bhutanese refugees stationed in different camps in eastern Nepal for more than two decades and also helping the country solve the refugee problem after several rounds of bilateral talks between Nepal and Bhutan failed to repatriate even a single refugee.

According to UNHCR, every year 800 Tibetan refugees enter Nepal on their way to India to meet their spiritual guru the Dalai Lama.

Nepal is home to some 15,000 long-staying Tibetan refugees. The country started receiving the Tibetan refugees since 1950s, when Tibetans started fleeing the country after a failed uprising against Chinese occupation.

Published Date: Friday, June 15th, 2012 | 04:51 AM

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