TABLE OF CONTENTS ACKNOWLEDGMENT LETTER OF RECOMENDITION ACRONYMS AND ABBREVATION TABLE OF CONTENTS Chapter 1: Introduction 1. 1General backgroundI 1. 2Statement of the ProblemI 1. 3Objective of the StudyII 1. 4Significance of the StudyII 1. 5Literature ReviewII 1. 6Limitation of the StudyII 1. 7Research MethodologyIII 1. 8Organization of the studyIII Chapter 2: History survey of Bhutanese Refugee problem 2. 1 Emergence of Bhutanese problem 2. 1. 1 Policy of Citizenship and Nationality (A) Process of Granting Citizenship Certificate Before 1988 (B) Policy of Implementation of 1985 Citizenship Act 2. 1. Policies of “Driglam Namzha” 2. 1. 3 Dress Policy 2. 1. 4 Language Policy 2. 1. 5 Forceful Implementation of Marriage Act 2. 1. 6 The policy of Green Belt 2. 1. 7 Taxation and Force Labor 2. 1. 8 Mass Demonstration and Protest against RGOB Chapter 3: Bilateral Negotiation to solve the Bhutanese Refugee Problem 3. 1Prologue 3. 2Bilateral Negotiations Chapter 4: Findings, Conclusions and Recommendations 4. 1Findings 4. 2Conclusions 4. 3Recommendations BIBLIOGRAPHY APPENDICES I. Map of Bhutan and its Neighbors II. Map showing Refugee affected area of Nepal III. Profile of Bhutan Chapter – One
Bhutanese Refugees in Nepal: Problems and Challenges 1. General Background: Refugee problem is seen as a world wide problem in 21st century. Due to various reasons (civil war, growing population, natural disaster, migration etc. ) this kind of problem has been arising. At first it is important to know who refugees are. The issue of refugee and asylum is not new. Refugee phenomenon is old as the concept of nation-state itself. Territorial integrity and sovereignty are basic region responsible for the creation of refugees. Conflicts and tensions within a state and between or among the states give rise to the creation of refugees.
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Oxford dictionary defines the term refugee as: “person, who has been forced to flee from danger, e. g. from floods, war, political persecutions. “1 Similarly refugee has crossed a frontier and no longer possesses the protection of his former of his former government. 2 The dimension of refugees’ problem became so enlarged and complex during the inter-war period that attempts were made through the setting up of international organization to “deal with the millions of refugees generated by the First World War and break up of multinational empires. “3 But here and attempt has been made to highlight the post war period only.
The UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees was adopted in 1951. Prior to the adoption of this convention, refugees were recognized on the basis of specific arrangements between states. For the first time, the Convention defines the term “refugee” and mentions their rights and duties. 1. A. S. Hornby with A. P. Cowie, Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current English (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1986), p. 708. 2. The English Encyclopedia Britannica, Volume 9, Encyclopedia Brittannica Inc. , 15th Edition (Chicago: 1993), p. 998. 3. S. D. Muni and Lok Raj Baral , eds.
Refugee and Regional Security in South Asia (New Delhi: Konark Publishers Pvt. Ltd. , 1996) , p. 1-2 The convention has been highly guided by the UN Charter and Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948. The convention defines a refugee as any person who: “as a result of events occurring before 1 January 1951 and owing to well founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of the country……….. 4 The statute of the office of UNHCR defines refugee “as any person, who as a result of events occurring before 1 January 1951 and owing to well founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of the country……….. “5
The African Convention, 1969 defines the term refugee to mean every person who, owing to well founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality ……… and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events is unable or, owing to such fear is unwilling to return to it. 6
The above African convention, 1969 also applies the term “refugee” to every person who, owing to external aggression, occupation, foreign domination or events seriously disturbing public order in either part or the whole of his country of origin or nationality, is compelled to leave his palace of habitual residence on order to seek refugee in another place outside his country of origin or nationality. 7 The Cartegena Declaration on Refugee adopted in 1984 defines the term refugee by adding the criteria of “generalized violence, foreign aggression, internal conflicts, and massive violation of human rights or other . Universal Declaration of Human Rights,1948, Article 1A (2) 5. The statute of the Office of UNHCR, Chapter II – 6 A (ii) 6. The OAU Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problem in Africa, Article I (1) 7. I bid. , Article I (2) circumstances which have seriously disturbed the public order. “8 In the context of Nepal, no case of serious refugee problem was reported 1990. Although Tibetan refugee have been living in Nepal for many years without any significance problem. They were not burden issue for Nepal.
But in 1990 when Bhutanese refugee entered, Nepal faced several problems of Bhutanese refugee, which has not been resolved yet. At first they were temporally settled in Maidhar and the protection and assistance program was not systematic. Many of the humanitarian organizations, like NRCS, LWS, SC (UK) and CARITAS etc. have given them help. Later on they were settled in different seven camps in Jhapa and Morang. By the request of Nepal government, the UNHCR has implemented a project from 1992 for overall protection to manage the total refugee.
It was not possible for single agency. So, the UNHCR started the project with its different implementing partners and divided their works. Now the population in the camp is nearly 120,000. They are living in seven different camps in Jhapa and Morang. Since 17 years, they are living inside the bamboo and thatch huts and eat whatever the agency is providing to them. For the solution, Nepal and Bhutan jointly organized more than 15 rounds of bilateral Ministerial level meetings to solve the problem but not satisfactory result has come out yet.
The United States offered in October, 2006 to resettle 60,000 Bhutanese refugees other countries (Australia, Newzeland, Canada including some members countries of the European Union) have agreed with the United Nations Agency (UNHCR) to make similar offers in a burden sharing effort. 2. Statement of the problem The Kingdom of Bhutan and Nepal had excellent traditional ties in the past and the same was strengthened mainly when both the nations established diplomatic relations on June 03, 1983. During the late eighties 8. The Cartegena Declaration on Refugee, 1984, Article III (3) nd nineties the relation did not remain good as before due to mass exodus of refugee from Bhutan. The forcible eviction of a large number of citizens of Nepalese ethnicity by the Royal Government of Bhutan accusing them as illegal economic immigrants resulted in a refugee crisis between these tiny South Asian Countries. So far Nepal has not ratified the UN Convention but she has been providing the asylum to refugees and her assistance in this regards has been said to be liked that of the state ratifying these instruments.
Nepal seems to be confused and lost the path of finding reasonable solution to the problem. There has been policy vacuum in the field. The national policies and legislative enactments are non existent. Political efforts, diplomatic attempts and endeavors at people’s level have not been able to beget the desired results. The major problems of the study are as follows: 1. What is the main cause of Asylum of Bhutanese refugees in Nepal? 2. Why the bilateral dialogues have been failed? 3. Why the Government of India has not obeying the norms of International law in this regards? . What kind of burden is facing by Nepal? 3. Objective of the study As above mentioned problem is raised from different international communities and organizations, so the internship will be intended to find out the actual situation of this problem in concerned area. For this purpose, the objectives of the study will focus on the following statements: •To study the real political and racial situation of Bhutanese refugees. •To evaluate and analyze the relevancy and effectiveness of the dialogues between the two countries (Nepal and Bhutan). To investigate the causes of influx of the Bhutanese refugees and their over all condition and plight in Nepal. •To examine the role of UNHCR and other international organization, donor nations and communities. •To study the recent development in this issue and role of United States. 4. Significance of the study This study is important on view point of resolving the problem between both these countries. Nowadays several kinds of problem are arising in the world. Among them the refugee problem has also become a major issue.
This internship points out the problem of Bhutanese refugee and this study would help to come up with some suggestion regarding Bhutanese refugee problem and solution in the context of international refugee law and policy. The study will be more benefited. 5. Literature review So far as the literature review is concerned different books and journals relating to refugees are studied to acquire the key knowledge about the topic, it is obvious that there are very limited resources in Nepali language and research on Bhutanese refugee.
However, even more fascinating is the almost total indifference of Nepal’s researchers and scholars to the problem. It would be very disappointing to mention that, Nepal in spite of being the unwilling host to more than 100,000 Bhutanese refugees of Nepali origin, other than some journalistic reports, newspaper articles mainly by the Bhutanese refugees themselves and NGO reports, not a single scholarly study, research or academic dissertation has been undertaking here. Neither has the HMG/Nepal has made any effort to study and monitor the problem in any way.
Hence, there exist a big void in the knowledge and information related to this problem. Nevertheless, an attempt has been made here to review a number of books and reports in course of the preparation of the study. It was found that UNHCR has published enormous materials, booklets, journals, reports etc. but merely they were not sufficient to know the situation of Bhutanese refugee. For conceptual concept some books on refugee law were reviewed beside, different factor like information available in electronic media, report previously prepared in related topic etc. ere also studied to fulfill the gap between the point of inception and the point from where this research should be started. The book entitled Bhutan: a Movement in Exile is written by DNS Dhakal and Chirstopher Strawan, addresses on the Bhutanese refugees. With the cultural and historical background the book has fully described the history of the Nepali Bhutanese including Nepali migration to Bhutan, Nepali Bhutanese political activity and the integration of Southern Bhutan. The events and causes of the creation of Bhutanese refugees have been explained in detail.
Though the book is comprehensive vis-a-vis other books and reports on the Bhutanese refugees, it lacks neutrality and hence supported the political dissident and their activities inside the country and in exile. The response of Nepal is not elaborately explained in the book. Similarly, next book, Refugees and Regional Security in South Asia, is edited and compiled by S. D. Muni and Lok Raj Baral, is the outcome of the first seminar project of the Regional Centre for Strategic Studies (RCSS), Colombo.
The book covers various papers presented and discussed by the scholarly contributors on the refugee problem in South Asia and its National and Regional Security implications. In this volume they analyze the security implications of the refugee movement for the states and a necessity has been felt to look at the security concern of the refugees from the humanitarian perspective. The weakness of the volume appears to be dimensional factor other than security aspects of host states due to the movement of refugees have been ignored. 6. Limitation of the study The limitations of the study are as follows: a) This study is limited to the problem of Bhutanese refugees. (b) The study only covers to those refugees who are staying in seven camps (Jhapa& Morang) of Nepal. 7. Research methodology The study is moreover, based on the information taking through secondary information from relevant documents and publications. The data which were collected in course of the research have been processed and analyzed, issues are prioritized and a draft report is prepared. Hence, this research has been conducted on doctrinal and analytical methods. However, Descriptive and analytical method also have been applied for this research.
As we know that descriptive method assists to find the actual problem of refugee as it exists at present whereas analytical method supports to analyze this information already available in making a critical evaluation of the materials. Therefore, this study is based on both the primary and secondary sources as per the necessity. 8. Organization of the study In the internship, the study focuses about the Bhutanese refugees’ problem and solution. Therefore, the whole study is associated with problem and challenges. The study contains four chapters as followings: The first chapter of the study contains Introduction: The problem is stated and objective of the study presented. In addition to these, review of recent literatures related to the study, significance and limitation of the study have been included. •The second chapter of the study contains History of the Bhutanese Refugee: This chapter is related with the history of Bhutanese refugees and how they became refugee and came to Nepal. •The third chapter of the study contains Bilateral Negotiations: This chapter is devoted to General overview of bilateral talking and the problem of Bhutanese refugee. Findings, Conclusion and Recommendation: Finally, the fourth chapter of the study deals with the summary of finding, conclusions and suggestions. Chapter – Two 2. History Survey of Bhutanese Refugees problem. 2. 1 Emergence of Bhutanese Refugee Problem. Bhutan, “land of peaceful Dragon” is governed by hereditary absolute monarch since 1907. The kingdom is sandwiched between the two nuclear states, China in the north and India to the south, east and west. It is a small land locked country that nestles in the southern slopes of the eastern Himalayas banded by the rugged mountains.
It is Buddhist country with plural culture and diverse ethnic communities. Bhutan is the only south Asian country that is governed without a written constitution. The successive kings have been the final court appeal and the head of the state and the government. It became the member of the UNO in the year 1971 with the help of India. Bhutan has been following a pro-Indian policy with no diplomatic ties with her northern neighbor China. The Bhutan government is based on the 80% grant of India government on national development. 9 Bhutan is composed of different ethnic groups.
They are inhabiting is different parts of Bhutan. Ngalongs(Tibetan stock) are the ruling high class inhabiting western part of the country. Sharchops(Indo-Burmese stock) are inhabiting in the eastern part, Nepalese(indo-Aryan and Mongoloid) are living in the southern part of the Bhutan. Demographically the highest population in Bhutan is Nepalese ethnic. They occupy 52% of the total population. The Sharchops population is 32% and they occupy second position. The ruler Ngalongs or Drukpas population is 16% and they occupy third position.
The rest 1% population includes others. The ruling class Drukpa speaks Dzonkha, the national language. Sharchops speak Sharchop and Nepalese speak Nepali. The southern people follow the Hindu religion but northern people practice Buddhism. The other minor communities who occupy 1% of the total population are Dravidian, Adhivasies, Brukpas, Bhumthangpars, Dagpas, Doyas, Gorapas, Khengpas, Kurteopas, 9. Bhutan Today Mangdipus, Sikkimies, Tibetan, Tota etc. So the above mentioned small ethnic groups somposition show that Bhutan is the homeland of heterogeneous society. 10
According to the history of Nepal, the first batch of Nepalese settlers had been taken to Bhutan in 1624. The first ruler of Bhutan Sabdrung Namgyal paid visit to Gorkha in 1624 and requested to King Ram Shah to establish a relationship between two countries. In order to establish relation, King Ram Shah and Sabdrung Namgyal signed a friendship treaty. King Ram Shah sent 50 families of Gorkha to Bhutan. It shows that Nepalese did not go to Bhutan without permission of Bhutan. Bhutanese King and government requested to King Ram Shah and they jointly signed the treaty. Then Ram Shah sent Nepalese to Bhutan.
This process continued till the regime of King Tribhuvan. 11 From the very beginning Bhutanese people had been living with peace, harmony and brotherhood. Till the 1970s, the Royal Government was not obsessive about cultural pluralism in Bhutan but RGOB had dominated to others. There were no rights to speech and expression. Anyone who speaks against TSA-WA-SUM (the King Country and the Government) is liable to punishment for treason, i. e. capital punishment as per the law of Bhutan (Thrimshung Cheenopo chapter-17). This law empowered the King and the Government to punish anyone who opposes them.
No rights to publication and press, publication of newspaper, journals and magazines other then the government owned ones are strictly forbidden. There is no newspaper or magazine privately published in Bhutan. No equal political rights are exercised by the Bhutanese citizens. Bhutan is ruled by family government under a feudalistic set up. Politics is considered a property of the ruling family, political activities and political protest are strictly banned in the Kingdom. Electorate system and adult franchise are non existent. No right to form Associations, Unions and Organizations.
Formation of Association, Unions, and Organizations other than the government ones is forbidden. There are no human rights organization, NGO, INGO and Red Cross in Bhutan. Few such organizations are functioning from exile for human rights and democracy in Bhutan. No right to speak justice-in the absence of a written constitution, there is any safe guard to protect the individuals’ rights. The people cannot speak justice against authorities of the 10. AHURA, 1993 11. INHURED, 1993 government. No social and cultural rights, Bhutanese citizens have been denied social and cultural rights.
Only the practice of Drukpa culture and tradition is permitted. Non Drukpa is persecuted for non compliance to the culture edict and dress. Citizens are not allowed to watch the television. Only practice of Buddhism is allowed. To establish democracy and human rights in Bhutan, the Nepalese ethnic Bhutanese people formed the state congress and struggled in 1950 to 1969. The submission of appeal to His Majesty the King Jigme Singye Wanchuk by Tek Nath Rijal and B. P. Bhandari on 9th April 1988, formation of Bhutan People’s Party on 2nd June 1990, mass emonstration within all the southern districts demanding democracy and human rights were against the law of Bhutan. The RGOP took it seriously and implemented hard laws and rules against the Southern Lohotampas. The government slowly introduced many policies in 1988, which violated human rights and fundamental freedom of Bhutanese people. The Royal Government did not amend the policies desired by the Bhutanese people, instead it the government suppressed those who opposed the policies forwarded by RGOB. At last, Bhutanese people unified and protested against the government. 2 As the people thronged the streets demanding democracy and human rights, the Bhutan government branding all the peaceful activities and supporters of the movement as anti nationals sent the RBA quash the movement. Being given carte blanche, the RBA had a field day. The consequences were appalling arbitrary arrest, torture, rape, intimidation, harassment, arson, loot, demolition of houses and confiscation of Citizenship cards by the RBA. The government also imposed economic sanction in southern Bhutan depriving the people of their basic day to day necessities.
The demonstrations were coerced to sign the voluntary migration forms and compelled them to live the country. The continued repression and army rule compelled the people to flee from the country. In Gardanda and in other BPP managed camps for refugees where they remained for some months but when Indian authorities began loading these innocent people into the trucks and carrying them up to Indo-Nepal border Panitanki, the BPP could not continue its activities. Thus from Panitanki they entered Nepal. 12. Bhutan Tuday, 1993 The first mass exodus of the Bhutanese refugees began after the crackdown of 1990 peace protests.
They took asylum in Neighboring West Bangal and Assam states of India. Repeated request to the government of West Bangal, Assam, Central government and the UNHCR office in New Delhi failed to produce any positive humanitarian response. The central government of India refused to recognize the Bhutanese asylum seekers as refugees throughout 1990 and beginning of 1991 the refugees leaved on the Indian soil without any help from any where. Finally, when it became difficult to survive in India, due to lack of assistance first batch of refugees entered Nepal in the first quarters of 1991.
The Refugee influx to Nepal rose rapidly after they were forcibly evicted from Assam by the Indian forces in the July, 1991. The small number of refugee about 450 in July, 1991 rose at an alarming rate to reach 20,000 by January, 1992 which continued increasing throughout 1992 to reach figure 80,000 people. The influx continued through 1993 and 1994 though in small number. Between Januarys to March 1995 about 500 Bhutanese asylum seekers have entered Nepal. IN 1995 April the total entered population were 85,723. 13 The given below policies are the major causes of Bhutanese refugee problems. 2. 1. Policies of Citizenship and Nationality Bhutan has two Citizenship Acts and one law viz. the 1958 Nationality law, the 1977 Citizenship Act and the 1985 Citizenship Act. The Bhutanese are the bonafied Bhutanese citizens under the provision of the 1958 nationality law and the 1977 Citizenship Act. Article 4(1) a and b of the 1958 law provides that a person is a Bhutanese national if the person is a resident of the Kingdom of Bhutan for more than ten years and owns agricultural land within the Kingdom. It may be noted that Bhutanese people have been living in Bhutan for generations and they own agricultural land and property in Bhutan.
Besides these, they have valid documents to prove their Bhutanese Citizenship like the land tax receipt, citizenship cards and other documents. But the Royal Government has a 13. PHFRB, 1995 enacted a notorious 1985 Citizenship Act on 10th June 1985 with entirely new provision which contradicted the provisions of the 1958 nationality law and 1977 Citizenship Act. Implementing this 1985 Act, the government arbitrarily and retrospectively revoked the Citizenship of tens of thousands of southern Bhutanese citizens.
Let us probe into how the government has maneuvered the 1985 citizenship Act has three major provision viz. Citizenship by birth and by Naturalization. The provisions that have been extensively used by the government to revoke the citizenship of the people are citizenship by Birth and Registration i. e. Article 2 and 3 of the 1985 Citizenship Act. With the implementation of the 1985 Citizenship Act through the census in 1988, the government categorized the southern population into seven distinct categories: A)F1- Genuine Bhutanese
B)F2- Returned Migrants (those who had left Bhutan but returned) C)F3- Drop out (those who were not available during the time of census) D)F4- A Non-national woman married to Bhutanese man E)F5- A Non-national man married to Bhutanese woman F)F6- Adoption Case (children legally adopted) G)F7- Non-nationals (migrants and illegal settlers) Using article 2 of the 1985 Citizenship Act, the census team retrospectively categorized southern Bhutanese children as F4- if father is a Bhutanese and the mother is non-Bhutanese and F5- if mother is Bhutanese and the father is non-Bhutanese.
This way the government revoked the citizenship of thousand of southern Bhutanese children and rendered them stateless. This illegal action of the RGOB has on one hand contravened and dishonored the relevant provision of the 1958 Nationality Law and the 1977 Citizenship Act and on the other hand, it has blatantly violate article 7 and 8 of the International Convention of the right of the child which the Bhutan ratified in 1990, and of the article 15 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Next, using article 3 of the 1985 Citizenship Act both arbitrarily and retroactively, the census team categorized tens of thousands of southern Bhutanese as F7- when the southern Bhutanese could not produce the evidence of residence in Bhutan on or before 31st December 1958, during the 1988 census. The required documents of residence were a 30 years old land tax receipt of the 1958. Hence, it can be concluded that the 1985 Citizenship act was a device which the Bhutanese government used extensively in its ethnic cleansing campaign. These same people are bona fide citizen under the provision of 1958 and 1977 Citizenship Law.
A)Process of Granting Citizenship Certificate Before 1988 As per the provision of 1958 National Law of Bhutan and existing practices, the local authorities, a) the Gup or Village headman b) the Dungpa or the head man of the sub division and c) Dzongda or head of the district were empowered to decide on Citizenship matter of people in their jurisdiction and issue nationality certificate. This arrangement was necessary in the 60s and 70s since the government in Thimpu was primarily occupied with development task and Citizenship issue was left to the local authorities.
It was only in early 80s that the government felt it necessary to give due importance to the immigration issue because of increasing number of foreign labors and civil service workers mainly from India. Foreigners in Bhutan can be categorized as a) laborers recruited from India and Nepal through contractors and their dependence. They are issue non-nationals identity cards to be renewed from time to time. b) Civil service workers and their dependence recruited from India including deputations and their families, from the government of India.
They are issued non-nationality identity card during their stay in Bhutan. Upon expiry of their contract, or reaching the age of superannuating, they are repatriating to India. c) Tourists from India including visitors –they are issue visitor’s permit for fixed duration. They cannot seek job in Bhutan. d) International staffs of UN agencies in Thimpu diplomats, foreign experts and consultants, international and bilateral volunteers, missionary volunteers, tourists from other countries except India are issued regular visa during their stay in the country and e) Indian armed force personal under special agreement.
As per the government’s regulations, all Bhutanese citizens are required to posses 1) Sathramno (a record of register of land which the census of the house hold is maintained 2) House number issued by the local authorities and the department of registeration 3) Enumeration in the census record maintained by the village head man and the district authorities annually 4) Bhutanese citizens are required to fulfill such nationals obligations as compulsory labor contribution of monthly basis under Saptolemi, Chunidom, Goongdawoola etc. labors contributions schemes) or payment in case in lieu of labor contribution for development projects both for the locals as well as central schemes and 5) Payment of taxes in case for land, house, cattle, crops etc. It is not worthy that foreigners acquiring Citizenship through naturalization are not required to fulfill the above obligations as they are mostly settled in urban areas. Therefore, all those people in possession of the above documents irrespective of their date of entry to Bhutan cannot be called as illegal immigrants.
The so called illegal immigrants include even those people who are in possession of these documents with any exception that they were unable to produce such documents of 1958 as the proper documentation system was introduced with the requirement of land transaction to be approved only by the court of law after coming into force Bhutan Land Act in 1977. B)Policies of Implementation of 1985 Citizenship Act The implementation of the 1985 Citizenship Act actually turned out to be detection of foreigners based on the 1958 cut off year.
The government went on implementing the act ruthlessly, seizing citizenship identity cards issued earlier threatening of deportation. As the government has no previous authentic records, use of personal knowledge, past memory and sometimes even guess work by a committee of village elders usually known Chhopkpas compromising of two to three village people selected by the authorities were made to determine the date of arrival of the person concerned.
The operations required each person to produce documents of 1958(earlier documents not acceptable) such as land tax receipt and a cross examination and verification by the census team leader and the committee. Sometimes a comparison would be made to a very old and torn out land record register. For immigrant people were asked to produce certificate of origin, which created innermost problems and difficulties to the public due to unavailability of proper records and hardship traveling difficult terrain in the country.
Those who had lost their documents due to natural calamities such as floods, destruction by parasites or shifting of houses etc. were all listed as liens even if they had lived for centuries. Many people were simply listed as illegal immigrants as the village committee could not provide adequate information due to human limit to their knowledge. The committee was made responsible not only to determine the date of arrival but also date of birth, date and place of birth of parents, details on children, their educational backgrounds, occupations, marriage, divorce etc. hich in other countries even the computers would have failed to do so due to enormous sized of the memory required while the census created an atmosphere of fear and insecurity among the people in southern Bhutan, the King Jigme Singye Wangchuck went on rewarding the census officials by approving the one month’s salary as bonus for their good work. 2. 1. 2 Policies of “Driglam Namzha” After implementing the sixth five years plan in 1986, the government of Bhutan, in order to preserve the Buddhist tradition and culture, purposed the policy of “Driglam Namza”. Driglam Namza” is a type of religious, cultural indoctrination based on Buddhism, which directly interferes with once personal rights. It teaches such manners as how to eat, how to speak, how to bow down before the authorities, how to dress etc. Under “Driglam Namza” every citizen of Bhutan irrespective of his/her ethnic background and belief required to learn Buddhist way of leaving through state sponsored training or else face the official persecution.
It is a sinister way of enslaving the people’s mind and heart by forcibly implementing this policy on non-Ngolong communities, the government tried to destroy the social etiquette and values practiced by other communities. Similar attempt had been made as far as in 1950 when the National Assembly of Bhutan passed resolution which read “with the aim of converting the Nepalese of southern Bhutan into Buddhism, his Majestry the King was pleased to command the establishment of monk body consisting of five monks with one head Lama in the Nepali villages of southern Bhutan.
In this connection the house recommended that Chedo Lama and Shiphu Lama would be the most appropriate choice for this assignment. Under this policy, the southern Nepali-Ethnic Bhutanese people were persuaded to follow Buddhism, which contradicted the Hindu culture. In Hindu culture cow is regarded as mother. However, northern Bhutanese who follow Buddhism do not hesitate to eat beef. Beef is considered as holy meal “Prasad” according to their culture. Even Bhutanese women had to cut their hair as Drukpa woman, which is against Hindu culture and tradition. Beside this national dress, “Gho” for man and “Kira” for woman were made obligatory.
Thus such Buddhist culture and tradition were introduced and anyone opposing these policies was given harsh punishment and fine. 2. 1. 3 Dress Policy Under the pretext of national integration of the government banned wearing of all other dresses and has prescribed “Gho” and “Kira”, the dress of the ruling Drukpa community suited only for the cold climate. For the last several decades, the students in the southern Bhutan where temperature runs as high as 40 degree during summer had been allowed to wear school uniform shirt and frock to the girls, shirt and pants for the boys(suitable to climate condition in the southern Bhutan).
The wave of Drukpanisation swept the southern Bhutan school where kids in extreme summer heat were required to wear the national dress “Gho” and “Kira” or else forgo the free schooling facilities. In the summer heat of southern planes with no fans or cooling facilities in the classrooms, one really wonders as to how these school children could concrete on their lesson in dingy, over crowed classrooms. On the other hand, their counter parts in colder region of Thimpu “Paro, Haa or Punakha” would feel greatly at comfort with “Gho” and “Kira” mainly suitable to cold climate regions.
A Royal “Khaso” (decree signed by the King) issued sometime in 1988 required all Bhutanese citizens to observed strict “Driglam Namsha” and wear the national dress. The Royal command, many believed written in Dzinkha, was misread and misinterpreted by the district authorities who were assigned the task to oversea implementation of the royal decree in the rural areas. Nevertheless, the message was cleared- strict implementation of the “Driglam Namsha” and the national dress.
Over enthusiastic and keen at getting hundred percent result, the Home Ministry developed the task of implementation of the dress code to the Royal Bhutan Police with instructions on penalty i. e. imposition of fine NU 100 or imprisonment with hard labor for one week. What the immigration department had done earlier to reward its officers detecting illegal immigrants some initiative was followed by the RBP. The alert the police personnel have to pocket half of the amount extracted from the poor Bhutanese caught without the prescribed dress.
Though NU 100 had been prescribed as the fine for non compliance it differed substantially depending on who the victim was. With this “make quick buck” project, the police went berserk and began a reign of harassment and persecution. They virtually stopped charging for animals, now would be seen following any person not found in the national dress. This madness spreading from Thimpu to district headquarters reached the remotest countryside.
Particularly affected were the districts in southern Bhutan housing over 50% of the entire population with distinct culture, language and dress of its own different from the Drukpas. Therefore, resentment was spontaneous and inevitable. So ruthless was the implementation the fine imposed tad to be paid on the spot or face imprisonment for none week with hard labor such as carrying stones, chopping fire wood, cleaning toilet etc. Such act of persecution required no permission from the court of law or observance of law thus greatly undermining individual freedom and liberty.
The people in the south were most hard hit, firstly, because they did not know how to wear the new dress, secondly, due to their love and attachment with own traditional dress, thirdly, the new dress was highly uncomfortable and climatically most unsuitable, fourthly, the new dress was very expensive for the poor villagers and finally working in the field with these new dress on was found extremely difficult. The problem was further complicated as the people were required to put on these new dress even during religious ceremonies and marriages. Even the priest had to be in the new dress during performance of puja or rituals.
Equally hit were the Thimpu based elite and middle Drukpa classes and foreign educated youth who resisted silently but dare not come in the fore front due to fear of punishment for once persecution begins, getting out of the cruel claws of the Dragon becomes impossible. The nearest gate way to escape being almost 200 km away, a six hours drive on serpentine roads with several police check posts on the way. 2. 1. 4 Language Policy Under “Driglam Namzha” the government started a vigorous campaign of promoting Dzongkha, the national language spoken mainly by the Ngalangs.
A Dzongkha development committee headed by a minister was set up to develop and promote Dzongkha, while teaching of Nepali in southern Bhutan was banned in February, 1989 after remaining in school curriculum for over the last 35 years. In fact teaching of Nepali had began in 1950s in southern Bhutan schools, much before the government decided to take them over while Dzongkha was include in the school curriculum only in late sixties. All official correspondences in southern Bhutan are done in Nepali, court decision are written in Nepali, laws are written in Nepali even five years plan documents are written in Nepali.
This discriminatory approach adopted by the government on a sensitive issue like the language added another dimensions to the already snowballing on rest. The following interview by King Jigme Singye Wangchuck of Kamaljeet Rattaan, a noted Indian journalist in “the Economic Times” of Delhi of Septmeber 25th, 1990 explain well the sad fate that has befallen the Nepali language in Bhutan. The King said “We recently decided to stop teaching Nepali in our school. The National Assembly had suggested this a year ago, but I turned down the proposal then.
Now the situation had changed. More, so because the government of Assam has also stopped the teaching of Nepali. I admit this is a very unpopular decision and I fully sympathies with the Nepalese. ” 14(AHURA Bhutan) The main aim of this kind of language policy adopted by RGOB was to chase southern Nepali Ethnic Bhutanese people and establish a monopoly government, which is the cause of present day Bhutanese Refugee Problem. 2. 1. 5 Forceful Implementation of Marriage Act This act was forcibly implemented in 1988 targeted especially towards southern Bhutanese.
The act prescribed a number of restrictions against Bhutanese nationals marrying non citizens such as denial of training and fellowship abroad, denial of promotion beyond grade seven in the civil service, denial of services in the armed force and in the Ministry of foreign affairs and denial of industrial and agriculture credits. The southern Bhutanese were most affected because traditionally and culturally they had been entering into matrimonial alliance with brides from the neighboring Indian or Nepal as they could not marry within their own family and kin.
Culturally southern are not beef eating Hindus where as the Drukpa are beef eating Buddhist. The Drukpas speak Dzongkha, a Tibetan dialogue while the Southern Bhutanese Nepalese speak Nepali based on Sanskrit. While the southern Bhutanese prefer to live in hot and humid climate in southern plains, the Drukpa feel more at home living in colder regions. The ruthless implementation of this was limited only to the southern Bhutanese whereas their Drukpa counterparts continued to enjoy these benefits. For example, Mr.
Ugen Tshering, Bhutan permanent representative to the United Nations in New York though married only in 1986 with an Italian national, was assigned to this post because of his Royal connection. Similarly, Mr. Kinley Dorzi, editor of the weekly bulletin “Kuensel”, was not only promoted in contravention to the marriage act but was also sponsored for visits abroad though he is married to Chinese national whereas Mr. Subash Lama, Deputy secretary in the Ministry of foreign affairs was, kicked our from the Ministry for marrying non nationals simply because he hails southern Bhutan. 2. 1. 6 The Policy of Green Belt
What seemed as the ultimate cause for loss of all patience and tolerance leading to the open defiance was the introduction of the “Green 14. AHURA Bhutan Belt Policy” which was approved by the National Assembly of Bhutan during its 69th sessions held from 19th to 26th March 1990. The policy required creation of a green forestry belt in all areas falling within one kilometer in the southern bordering districts with India. It is not worthy that these are the only available plains in the country, rest is all mountains. These are not barren fields but provide the best fertile paddy fields, the only means of survival of the southern populations.
Opposition to this policy was spontaneous as it aimed to destroy thousands of acres of lush paddy fields, demolition of houses and displacement of several thousand of people. The compensation decided by the government was unacceptable to the people who are largely farmers for they considered the land as permanent asset, which could last for generation whereas the compensation would last only for few months. The government’s plan to shift the people to areas in the north was met with oppositions, as it would mean de linking them from their own community.
The above policy was highly discriminatory against the southern Bhutanese for the same house had banned constructions of houses on the paddy field in north-west Bhutan. The Deputy Home Ministry, Mr. Dago Tshering was must vocal who said “In the past, paddy field were developed with much difficulties by our fore fathers to be used as agriculture land and not for building houses on them. ” Even the King informed that the country was importing 25,000 metric tons of rice every year to meet cereal deficits.
What the National Assembly failed to realize was that it was adopting double standard methods being the highest legislative body in the country. 2. 1. 7 Taxation and Force Labor The operations by the Bhutan government of its people are clear forming its taxation system. For example, if one owns an acre of land, one is require to pay the land tax, if a house is built on that land, the government demand house tax, if cash crops is grown on that land, tax on the cash crops is required to be paid, if cattle is reared, cattle tax is required etc.
For the same acre of land, a poor peasant has to pay multiple taxes. The government for its selfish designs many times manipulates the taxation rule. The system of compulsory labor contributions like “Chunidom, Shaptolemi, Gungdo-woolo” and national work force are not only highly exploiting but have also added to the misery and poverty of the southern and eastern Bhutanese because of the unreasonable ways and difficult working condition. The Bhutan government permits people for free and compulsory labor throughout the year irrespective of age and sex falling which call for punitive measures.
The 16th session of the National Assembly held on July 1961 had prescribed use of police force in the event the people refused to provide free labor. The Assembly decided “those refusing to report to work under the conscripted labor force would be brought to work under policy escorts. 2. 1. 8 Mass Demonstration and Protest against RGOB The National Assembly of Bhutan passed the above policies and RGOB harshly implemented the policies, which had a direct negative impact on the southern Bhutanese people. As a result in order to lesson the suppressions, the southern Bhutanese people revolted against those policies.
Under the guidance of the leader of BPP, Mr. Teknath Rizal, they started mass demonstration and protest against RGOB to establish human rights and democracy in Bhutan. Mr. Teknath Rizal, the people representative at the Royal Advisory Council due to tremendous public pressure for reconsideration of the 1985 Citizenship act had taken initiatives to hold meetings with civil service from southern Bhutan and submit a petition to the government for review of the above act in 1988. A series of meetings had been held at the residence of Mr.
Rizal before finalizing the draft petition letter submitted to the King by Rizal and Vidyapati Bhandari, another representative at the council. However the entire process of consultation and meeting was given a political color by Mr. Dago Tshering, then the Deputy Home Ministry, an archenemy of Mr. Rizal who misinformed and misguided the King. Mr. Rizal was terminated from his service, arrested, tortured and later released on condition that he would be sentenced to death if found involved in similar activities next time. A number of other officers were also punished. Utterly humiliated Mr.
Rizal fled the country and took refuge in Nepal where he formed the PEOPLES’ FORUM FOR HUMAN RIGHTS BHUTAN. The forum started its campaign by bringing out a number of publications. The government alarmed at the possible exposure of the misdeeds gross violation of human rights and mismanagement reacted sharply and began a region of arbitrary arrest, torture and detention. Fearful of government persecution, few student and leader fled the country. At a bordering village “Ghumauney”, the authorities arrested two small kids in May 1989 from the village school. The student had been picked up in midnight.
Next day over 50 students crossed over the Indian border. Several hundred people fleeing the country followed this incident and by the first quarter of 1990, several thousand of people had taken shelter in the bordering Indian towns. The increasing public resentment ultimately exploded in 19th September 1990 when mass demonstration and public protest were held in several places n the Kingdom demanding human rights, release of political prisoners, reforms in the National Assembly and Judiciary, freedom and democracy in the country under the banner of Bhutan People’s Party.
The student union of Bhutan, Bhutan Women’s Organization and People’s Forum for Human Rights Bhutan greatly contributed to the organization of the above demonstrations. People from all lifestyles such as farmers, businessman, civil servants, teachers and school children had participated in this procession. Beginning with a few people, these rallies swelled into several thousands by the time they marched the districts quarters. The continuous rallies from 19th September to 4th October 1990 shook the very foundation of absolute rule in Bhutan.
Never in the history had the people taken to streets n such a mass strength. While at many places, the local authorities and shown sympathy to the protesters, the situation turned bloody with the deployment of the RBA. The protesters unaware of the army attacks continued their protest for several days, and then suddenly RBA opened fire upon the crowd and charged them with bayonets resulting in the death of several people and injuring scores of them.
All the injured person were admitted to the North Bangal Medical College, Siliguri, India as the government run hospitals in Bhutan refused to admit the injured people. Had there been no army attack, the rallies would have continued for days and months. Since holding of protest against the government is considered as an act of treason in Bhutan, the suppression was but natural. Another dimension was added to movement when the mass posturing in support of human rights and democracy was carried out in eastern Bhutan in which permanent leader like Mr.
Rongtong Kinley, Sonam Tshering, Chheku Drukpa etc were arrested and detained. However the fact need to examined whether opposition the government can be regarded as an act of treason within the context of International Law. The Bhutan government thoroughly satisfied with the suppression of the peace protest never held any commission of inquiry into the shooting down of the people by the security forces. On the contrary, the King announced the promotions of Mr. Lhakpa Dorzi district administrator and Mr. Tshultrim Gyeltshen the district udge of the Samchi for suppressing the voice of the people. Major Sonam Dhendup of Royal Bhutan Police was promoted to the rank of Lt. Colonel and Lt. Colonel Batu Tshering of RBA was elevated to full Colonel by the King in October 1990. Both these officers had played crucial role in crushing the peace procession in Samche district, the hot bed of the movement. Due to brutal suppression of the peaceful procession, several thousands approximately 30,000 Bhutanese citizens crossed over the Indian State of Assam and West Bengal for the protection of their lives.
The RGOB went on publishing every citizen who participated in the peace processions. Thus a reign of terror by RBA was let loose which included arbitrary arrest, torture and imprisonment, rape of women and children, demolition and burning down of houses and seizure of properties, finally culminating in the force eviction of every suspected government opponent. The policy of eviction is continued till 1995. As a result there are currently about more than one lakh refugees living in Nepal. 15 15. INHURED, 1992 & GRINSO Chapter – Three 3. Bilatreial Negotiation to solve the Bhutanese Refugee Problem . 1 Prologue For the first time in 1991, Nepal’s Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala and Bhutan’s King Jigme Singye Wangchuck was held a discussion in Colombo, the capital city of Sri-Lanka regarding the case of 6,000 Bhutanese people entering in Nepal. Nepal urged Bhutan to take back those refugees to Bhutan in the respectful manner but Bhutan did not show any interest. Due to lack of their sincere interest, the refugee problem had raised. The first official dialogue on the problem of Bhutanese refugees was held between the Bhutanese King Jigme Singye Wangchuck and the Nepalese PM G.
P. Koirala, during the seventh SAARC summit in Dhaka, BANGLADESH in April 10, 1993. On April 25, 1993, Nepal sent a letter to Thimpu expressing a desire to hold direct bilateral talks for resolving Bhutanese refugees’ problem. The two sides then, decided to discuss the refugees issue bilaterally. On the eve of 1993 World Conference on Human Rights, Bhutan invited Nepalese delegation for talks to Thimpu on July 15, 1993. The Nepalese Home Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and his counterpart, Dago Tshering held the 1st meeting.
The talks resulted in an agreement to establish off six members Nepal Bhutan Ministerial Joint Committee (MJC) comprising three members from each country. The committee was entrusted with the following mandate: a)To determine the different categories of Bhutanese refugees in camps; b)To specify the position of the two governments on each of these categories; and c)To arrive at mutually acceptable agreement on each of the categories. First MJC Meeting: The firstMinisterial Joint Committee (MJC) meeting was held in Kathmandu on October 4-7, 1993.
Dago Tshering and Sher Bahadur Deuba led their respective delegations. The two sides agreed to place the Bhutanese refugees into four categories; a) Bonafide Bhutanese, if they have been evicted forcefully; b) Bhutanese who emigrated; c) Non- Bhutanese people; and d) Bhutanese who have committed criminal acts. A joint statement said that on completion of the verification of refugees, the two sides would specify their positions on each category and reach a mutually acceptable agreement, which would provide the basis for the resolution of the problem.
However, the verification process of refugees into four categories has not begun mainly because of Bhutanese intransigence. Nepal created another blunder by agreeing to categorization. Second MJC Meeting: The second meeting of the Ministerial Joint Committee (MJC) held in Thimphu on February 21-24, 1994, discussed the “mechanism for verification of the four agreed categories of people in the refugee camps in Nepal”. Nepal proposed the involvement of a third party, which was rejected by Bhutan. The succeeding talks thereafter focused on stablishment of verification mechanism and harmonization of positions on categories of refugees, but in vain. Third MJC Meeting: The third MJC meeting was held in kathmandu on April 4-7, 1994. Both the countries agreed to constitute five members each from Bhutan and Nepal in the Refugee verification team. Fourth MJC Meeting: The fourth round of meeting was held in Thimphu in June 28-29, 1994. Both the parties exchanged their position on each of the category of the Refugees. Disagreement prevailed over the position regarding four categories. Fifth MJC Meeting: The fifth MJC meeting held on February 27-March 1, 1995 in kathmandu.
It was first talk with the new government in Nepal after 1994mid-term election. Nepalese Home Minister K. P. Oli lead the Nepalese team and Bhutanese delegation was led by Home Minister Lyonpo Dago Tshering. It was continuation of the harmonizing. Sixth MJC Meeting: The sixth MJC meeting was also held in Thimphu on April 17- 20, 1995. Former Home Minister Mr. K. P. Oli took part in the meeting. There was a complete deadlock. Through Nepalese part Tried to show flexibility, The Royal Government of Bhutan did not shift an inch from its known position on repatriation of the of the Refugees.
But names of the Joint Verification Team members were exchanged. Seventh MJC Meeting: The Seventh MJC meeting held at the Foreign Ministers’ level in Kathmandu on April 4-8, 1996. Former Minister for External Affairs Dr. Prakash Chandra Lohani and Bhutanese Foreign Minister Mr. Lympo Dawa Tsering led their respective countries at the talks. No progress was achieved from the beginning. Bhutanese side insisted that they could not take back the people who left the country voluntarily, but insisted they could apply according to the laws of Bhutan.
Nepali side maintained that the application of Bhutanese Law would create stateless people in a massive Scale. This was against the UN Convention on Human Rights. Nepal wanted Bhutan to suggest ways to solve these problems. According to Nepal, that was not a problem between two countries but was a matter between the Royal Government and the people of Bhutan. On this issue, Bhutanese side wanted to consult with its cabinet in Thimphu. Four months later Bhutanese Foreign Minister informed Nepal that the Bhutanese cabinet negated all the four of the Refugees due to Nepal’s proposal on category two.
He further proposed a “thorough groundwork to ensure fruitful outcome of the next meeting of MJC. ” Eighth MJC Meeting: Jigmi Y Thinley, the Bhutanese Foreign Minister and his Nepalese counterpart Dr Ram Sharan Mahat led their respective delegation at the eighth talk held in Kathmandu on September 13-16, 1999. This also concluded in disagreement on verification process. Bhutan proposed to start verification on a dubious list of 3000 refugees prepared by the UNHCR. Nepal rejecting Bhutan’s proposal, rightly proposed that the verification should be started from one of the refugee camps.
Ninth MJC Meeting: The ninth round of talk held May 22-25, 2000 at Thimphu, also ended without any breakthrough. Both sides had agreed on naming the verification team within 15 days and starting the verification process within two months. The request for the 10th round of the MJC meeting scheduled for 25 December came from Bhutan, facing a mounting international pressure. Many Bhutanese believe that Bhutan’s gesture is phony and, as usual, intended to hoodwink the international community. Some significant developments have taken place concerning refugees since the ninth talk.
Tenth MJC Meeting: The tenth round of MJC meeting was held on December 25-28, 2000 in Kathmandu. Bhutanese team was led by its Foreign Minister Jigmi Yozer Thinlay and the Nepalese delegation was led by Mr. Chakra Prasad bastola, Foreign Minister of Nepal. The tenth talk was able to break ice. It decided to create Nepal-Bhutan refugee Joint Verification Team (JVT). The Nepalese team was to be led by Mrs. Usha Nepal, Joint Secretary at the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Bhutanese by Dr. Sonam Tenzin, Director at the Bhutanese Ministry of Home Affairs.
The JVT was created and started its work of interviewing and verifying 98,886 Bhutanese refugees from Khudunabari refugee camp in Jhapa on March 26 2001. After trying since 1993 to solve the Bhutanese refugee question, the 10th round of the Nepal-Bhutan Joint Ministerial Level Committee held on 25-28 December, 2000 has finally made some progress. Eleventh MJC Meeting: The eleventh round of MJC was held in Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan on August 20-23, 2001. The Nepalese team was led by its Finance Minister Dr Ram Sharan Mahat and Jigmi Yozer Thinlay led Bhutanese team.
On his return form Bhutan, Finance Minister Dr Ram Sharan Mahat said that Nepal and Bhutan have agreed to begin the repatriation of Bhutanese refugees of Khudunabari camp by October. However, Nepal’s proposals to reduce the categories of the refugees into Bhutanese and non-Bhutanese were not accepted by Bhutan. Twelfth MJC Meeting: Under sustained international pressure, the Nepal-Bhutan Joint Verification Team (JVT) was formed. The verification of over 12,000 refugees living in Khudunabari undertaken by the Joint Verification Team (JVT) on March 26, 2001 was completed on December 14, 2001.
Ninety percent of verified Bhutanese refugees could produce documents to prove their origin to Bhutan. Since, a year passed, neither the result of verification of refugees has been made public nor the verification of the remaining camps have been started. Thirteenth MJC Meeting: The 13th Nepal Bhutan Ministerial Joint Committee (MJC) Meeting on the repatriation of more than 100,000 Bhutanese refugees living in the refugee camps in southeast Nepal was held on March 24-26, 2003 in Thimphu. The Bhutanese Foreign Minister Lyonpo Jigme Thinley led Bhutanese delegation while his Nepalese counterpart Mr.
Narendra Bikram Shah led the Nepalese delegation. Fourteenth MJC Meeting: The fourteenth round of Nepal Bhutan Ministerial Joint Committee (MJC) Meeting was held in Kathmandu, Nepal on May 19-22, 2003. It was scheduled to announce the result of nearly 12,000 verified refugees of Khudunabari camp, withheld the results. This meeting expected to offer a breakthrough in the resolution of Bhutanese refugee imbroglio, instead, yielded enormous legal implication of international and regional dimension. The refugee issue has now been engulfed into very deep regional omplexities after this meeting. If Khudunabari result is any barometer for the dignified return of 110,000 Bhutanese refugees, then 95% of refugees will be turned into a state of perpetual statelessness, even if repatriated. The MJC finally agreed on their joint stand on four categories and issued a statement on Agreed Position on the Four Categories (APFC). Nepalese delegation was led by Foreign Minister Mr. Narendra Bikram Shah and Bhutanese delegation by Bhutanese Foreign Minister Lyonpo Jigmi Y. Thinlay.
Fifteenth MJC Meeting: The 15th Nepal, Bhutan Ministerial Joint Committee (MJC) meeting was held in Thimphu, Bhutan on October 20-23, 2003. The Kathmandu Post dated October 24, 2003 reported as follows on the outcome of 15th MJC Talk: The Nepali delegation of the Nepal-Bhutan Ministerial Joint Committee said today that the repatriation process of Bhutanese refugees would begin as early as the second week of February 2004. Chapter- four 4. Findings, Conclusions and Recommendations. 4. 1 Findings The foregoing analysis of the Bhutanese Refugee problem shows that it is a most complex issue before the world community including Nepal.
The prolonged failure to resolve has made it more complicated. By 1990, Nepal was playing host to over one hundred thousand Bhutanese Refugees spread over seven camps in the two districts of Jhapa and Morang, eastern Nepal. Over fifteenth rounds of bilateral talks have been held so far with no evident result, Verification exercise was conducted with due formal process and even those verified as genuine Bhutanese nationals are awaiting to go back home but apparently in vain as nothing has been said on the topic.
No apparent solution seems imminent. The major findings of the study are as follows: •Bhutanese Refugees are the results of medieval type of Bhutanisation and integration policies adopted by the Royal Government of Bhutan since the fifties, in general, and late eighties, in particular. Southern Bhutanese People’s revolts against the illegal and discriminatory laws of Nationality and Citizenship, Census Policies and extreme violations of their human rights are genuine and need support from within and outside the country. Bilateral attempts of Bhutan and Nepal to resolve the problem by way of quiet diplomacy have failed completely and any delay in search of other option or lingering of bilateral negotiations will automatically help the RGB or is likely to encourage to those elements and forces intent on destabilizing the region. •Nepalese Parliament has done nothing in concrete form that can help the government to find the proper and durable solution. Nepalese weak diplomacy and just figurative role of our diplomats are serious concern to Nepal’s future international relations. Nepal inability to convince the three major actors of the problem – Bhutan, India and world community is one of the core problems of the issue and these shows that diplomatic and the negotiations skill of Nepali delegates. 4. 2 Conclusions Prior to the presence of Bhutanese refugees, Nepal had been facing the Tibetan refugee problems. However, being in a small number, they had not shown the significant impact.
After the entrance of 60 asylum seekers of the Bhutanese refugees in Nepal 12 December 1990, the influx of Bhutanese refugee increased very rapidly and the Nepal government could not control the problem and requested to UNHCR and other agencies managed the refugees to live in seven different camps under the supervision and financial support of UNHCR. Now the total population of refugees has reached more than one lakh. The population pressures of the Refugees have created many negative impacts which has been facing by host communities. The major impacts faced by the local people are social, economic, environmental and health and sanitation.
Bhutanese refugees’ problem has been eluded solution so far. The prolonged continuation of fixing issue this is not advisable for developing peaceful and Harmonious environment in the region. Nepal too seeks durable solution to the problem. No piecemeal solution may be in favour of Nepal. Going to the entire possibility of finding modus operandi of durable solution to the refugee problem, three–fold methods are available: (a)Voluntary repatriation, (b)Resettlement, and (c)Local Integration Local integration of the Bhutanese refugees in Nepal is not the right approach for the national interest of Nepal.
They would be a permanent burden and would continue to create a host of problem to the country. Resettlements may be in favour of Nepal. But its possibility is very much remote. The USA and other European Countries has been showing interest to resettlement Bhutanese refugees in their country. The USA has already started for the processes. Internally, the solution of repatriation, resettlement in third countries and integration of refugees in to the host community, have been seen as a durable in ending the refugee problem altogether. 4. 3 Recommendations
For the solution of the Bhutanese Refugee problem following recomm