Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Refugees: Bhutan refugees in Nepal face threats

The Indo-Asian News Service reports, Eager to build a new life in the US after languishing in camps in Nepal for nearly two decades, Bhutanese refugees now have to cope with another hurdle as militants favouring a return to Bhutan are issuing them death threats, says a report.

Sixty-two Bhutanese refugees living in the Beldangi-I camp in the tea garden district of Jhapa in eastern Nepal have asked for police protection after receiving threats from underground militant youth organisations, a local daily reported Tuesday.

The refugees told the Armed Police Force entrusted with guarding the camps as well as the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights that they had been told to leave the camp within 15 days or face abduction and death, the Himalayan Times daily said.

The threat was reportedly made by the covert Bhutanese Republican Youth Union and All Bhutan Revolutionary Students' Union to intimidate the families who had expressed eagerness to accept the offer made by the US government to resettle the refugees in American cities and villages.

Over 108,000 Bhutanese have been living in seven closed camps in Jhapa and Morang districts since the 90s, when they were evicted by the Bhutan government for their ethnic origin.