Call for repatriation

Bhutan Peoples’ Party Chairperson Balaram Poudel appealed to Bhutanese King Jigme Khesar Namgyal to return home to Bhutanese refugees by adopting the policy of national reconciliation.

Poudel, after being exiled from Bhutan in 1990, has been living as a refugee in Birtamod, Jhapa. He sent a letter to the Bhutanese King on July 30 with an appeal to consider returning Bhutanese refugees.

In a press meet organised at Birtamod today, Poudel said he sent the letter to the Bhutanese King as, according to him, the political problems within the country could only be resolved through the policy of national reconciliation. Also, considering the crisis raging in Bhutan that has put nationality and democracy at risk, he appealed to the Bhutanese King, he informed.

According to him, over 200 political prisoners are behind bars in various prisons in Paro, Chamgang, Rabuna, Mongar, and Samdrup Jongkhar, among other places in Bhutan at present. In this backdrop, Poudel pleaded before the Bhutanese King to release them unconditionally.

He said they were living a harsh life in prison for participating in the human rights and democracy movement. According to him, three decades ago, over 150,000 Bhutanese were unjustly evicted from Bhutan for raising their voice for their language, culture and democratic rights. “We would like to appeal to the Bhutanese King to adopt a national reconciliation policy and release all those prisoners unconditionally.

“Poudel shared that he reminded the Bhutanese Monarch that about 20 per cent of the Bhutanese refugees deported from the southern part of Bhutan were resettled in a third country and around 7,000 Bhutanese refugees were still living in difficulty in the refugee camps of Jhapa and Morang districts.

He also urged his monarch to create an enabling environment to release all the prisoners held for their involvement in the democratic and human rights movement and for all Bhutanese refugees to return home.

“The Government of Nepal ensured our basic needs of food, clothing and shelter. However, we are not happy because we want to return to our home-Bhutan. We will not be happy until we return to Bhutan,” he asserted.

Poudel also requested the Government of Nepal to facilitate the return of Bhutanese refugees from Nepal by holding dialogue with the Bhutanese. Furthermore, he appealed to the government of Nepal to renew the identity card of Bhutanese refugees in Nepal and register those missing out in the record.

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