Support for the early repatriation of Bhutanese Refugee.

Bhutan a very tiny Himalayan Kingdom in between India and China is in political crisis today. King of Bhutan rules the country in an absolute manner as there is no written constitution. Democracy, Human Rights and rule of law are very strange words in Bhutan. It has a small population of around a million and it consist of three major ethnic groups as :- 1. Lhotsampas (around 50% of the total population lives in the southern part of the country with their own culture, language, religion and customs). 2. Sharchokpas (forming around 30% of the total population lives at the eastern part of the country. They are Buddhist and have their own way of life. 3. Ngalong (around 20% of the total population and lives at the west and northern part of the country. They are Buddhist. King belong to this group). In 1989 king introduced \"ONE NATION ONE PEOPLE\" policy. According to this policy all the people of Bhutan were asked to follow one culture, wear one dress, speak one language, and follow one customs and way of life that has been followed by his ethnic group (Ngalong), which comprises about 20% of the total population. This notorious policy made every body to wear bakhu and kira, speak dzongkha language, follow driglam namza according to which every body has to behave according to the ancient rules of the Buddhist. This deprived the Bhutanese from other community their right to religion, culture, festivals, and other traditions and customs. Thus angered the Bhutanese from other ethnic groups. King of Bhutan made a citizenship law in 1985 according to which all the lhoshampas were asked to produce land tax reciept provided by the Home Ministry of Bhutan in 1958. This was impossible task for the Bhutanese people because Bhutan Home Ministry was formed only in mid 60s. Thus almost all the southern Bhutanese were made stateless by this law in late 1990s. King of Bhutan made a green belt policy which states that one kilometer land along the Indo- Bhutan border will be made forest. This angered the southern Bhutanese because almost all the one kilometer stretch of land along the Indo- Bhutan border is thickly inhabited by the southern Bhutanese. Language of the southern Bhutanese which was included in the primary school sylabus was abruptly excluded from the curricullum of the primary schools in southern Bhutan in 1989. All the text books were burnt and buried. There was massive discrimination in the educational sectors. Almost all the higher studies facilities were provided only to the students from the north and all the bright students from the south were deprived of their right to further education. Repeated appeal by the peoples representatives from the south to the king about the presence of great descrimination was ignored by the king and petitioners were thrown into prison. Thus in sept. 1990 tens of thousands of the southern Bhutanese came to the street peacefully demanding Human Rights and Justice throughout the country. The peaceful demonstration was mercilessly crushed by the Royal Bhutan Army and Police. Many were killed and hundreds injured. Almost all the people who took part in the peaceful demonstrations were forcefully evicted from the country during the ethnic cleansing of late 1990 and early 1991. This has created the refugee problem in Nepal as India which is the closest neighbour of Bhutan did not allow the evicted Bhutanese to stay in its land. This is how Bhutanese refugee problem started in Nepal in early 1991. Nepal and Bhutan formed Joint Ministerial level Team to resolve this crisis in 1993 but it could not bear any fruits even after the completion of its 11th round of talks. Matter was made even more complicated when Nepal accepted Bhutan\'s proposal to categorise the refugees into four arbitrary groups. In their 11th round of talk Nepal and Bhutan agreed to formed a Joint Verification Team (JVT)to verify the refugee but it could not go ahead after the completion of verifying 12,000 refugee from Khudunabari camp. After a year of its completion of verifying refugee in one of the smallest camp from among the six refugee camps in the eastern Nepal, Bhutan failed to take back its people. Bhutan distributed almost all the lands of the refugee to the northern Bhutanese leaving no space for the refugee to settle in their legally owned lands in southern Bhutan in future. The recently drafted so called written constitution of Bhutan is said to be complete silent on the fate of the refugee. The drafting committee does not constitutes any representatives from the southern Bhutanese. Political parties which are functioning outside the country are ignored in the constitution. All the members of the committee are handpicked by the king from among his loyal civil servants. No members are experts in the field of constitution as all the Bhutanese constitutional experts and political scientists were exiled for their support to Human Rights and democracy in the country. Therefore we would like to appeal the International community like United Nations, European Union, USA, All donors community of Bhutan to kindly take interest in this silent suffering of the Bhutanese people and the grave human rights violation of the Bhutanese people. We appeal your high office to kindly use your office to exert pressure on Bhutan king by stopping all the funding to the kingdom before the King declares Just Human Rights and genuine Democracy in his country and take back all his bonafide citizens with honor and dignity at the earliest. He should also be pressurised to declare recently drafted constitution as null and void and form a new constitution drafting committee comprising peoples representatives from all the sections of the population of the country. All the Northerners who have been settled in the land of the refugee in the south should be taken back to their original land and provide those land to its original lawful owners.

Sponsor

Youth Organization of Bhutan (YOB), the only organization of the Bhutanese youths and students who support Human Rights and Democracy in Bhutan was formed in 1992 in exile. Since its formation it is very actively working for creating awareness about Human Rights and Democracy among the Bhutanese people. It has been organizing lots of seminars, conferences and other educational activities both inside and outside the country. YOB strongly believes in Peace and Non violence. To this effect it is also educating the Bhutanese youths about the value of peace and non violence and social service. It is the only Bhutanese organization that organizes blood donation drives to help poor and sick fellow refugee in the camp. It publishes its monthly newsletter called \"The Dragon Times\" through which it tries to narrow the gap between between Bhutanese people outside and inside. YOB has been actively working for the welfare of the refugee in the camps since its formation. Its cadres are all active in all seven camps. YOB has a very strong international network with the youths and like minded organizations worldwide. Its representatives regularly participates in the international youths and Human Rights conferences when it is provided sponsorship by the organzers. YOB is willing to works closely with the international friends to make this world a peaceful place to live for the future generation. YOB webiste is as http://www.geocities.com/freebhutan Please comment on this appeal to Ram Bahadur karki Chhetri in email as karkiram90@hotmail.com

Links

http://www.geocities.com/freebhutan http://www.bhootan.org http://www.bhutannewsonline.com http://www.geocities.com/bhutaneserefugee http://ahurabht.tripod.com/

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