-  Thursday 22 October 2020

First Batch of Bhutanese Refugees to Leave for US by March

 -  The Himalayan Times

Kathmandu, Feb 04 2008 - The first batch of the Bhutanese refugees is scheduled to leave for United States in March as part of the resettlement programme, and numbers are expected to increase by July.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) headquarters in Geneva has welcomed the government's decision to issue exit permits to Bhutanese refugees who voluntarily opt for resettlement.

The UNHCR, in a statement released to media today, welcomed the government's decision of granting exit permits to Bhutanese refugees for third country resettlement as a breakthrough in mid-January.

It said the government decision has paved the way for the large-scale movement of refugees who decide voluntarily to be resettled after spending up to 17 years in Nepal's camps.

The exit permit allows refugees to leave the Jhapa and Morang camps for third countries once their cases are accepted.
The UNHCR said the group resettlement process has been gaining momentum in the camps since it started late last year. "Thousands of refugees have expressed interest, and UNHCR has submitted the details of nearly 10,000 interested refugees for consideration by the resettlement countries," it added.

The refugees are currently in various stages of the process, ranging from interviews to extensive medical screening and cultural orientation before departure.
While the United States has offered to consider for resettlement at least 60,000 refugees from Bhutan, Canada has indicated it will accept up to 5,000. Australia, Denmark, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Norway have also expressed their willingness to accept refugees from Bhutan for resettlement.

"While resettlement offers a welcome solution for those who voluntarily choose this option after 17 years in the camps, the UN refugee agency will continue to advocate for the option of voluntary return to Bhutan for those refugees who wish to do so," UNHCR said.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and officials from the resettlement countries are conducting further interviews of the Bhutanese refugees, it added.

Source : The Himalayan Times

Other articles by reporter The Himalayan Times

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