Maoist election puts things into sharper perspective regarding Bhutanese refugees

As we reported before, the United States has agreed to take 60,000 Bhutanese refugees from camps in Nepal.   The Bhutanese who are of Nepali descent are divided on whether they want to be resettled in the West.  Many are holding out in hopes Bhutan will take them back.  This article adds more clarity while it reports a dramatic shift in policy by the newly elected Nepal government. 

Kathmandu, April 27 (IANS) The historic victory of Nepal’s former Maoist guerrillas in this month’s crucial election and their bid to lead the new government has cast a dark shadow over the process started by the US and other western governments to offer Bhutanese refugees in Nepal new homes abroad.

The Maoists, who fought a 10-year armed battle to overthrow Nepal’s Shah kings, are opposed to the US-led initiative by seven western governments to resettle over 105,000 Bhutanese, who have been languishing in refugee camps in Nepal for almost two decades after being evicted by the royalist government of Bhutan in the 1980s.

‘We oppose the process started (under the Girija Prasad Koirala government of Nepal) to resettle the Bhutanese refugees in third countries,’ said Maoist foreign affairs chief Chandra Prakash Gajurel, who was also one of the winners in the April 10 election.

‘How can Nepal give documents to the Bhutanese to go abroad when they are not Nepali citizens?’ Gajurel told private radio station Ujala FM. ‘Our party will try to ensure they go back to Bhutan.

‘From there, they can go to foreign countries if they want to.’

The Maoist announcement comes even as the International Organisation for Migration and the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Nepal (UNHCR) jointly started flying out Bhutanese refugees from closed camps in eastern Nepal to the US, Australia and New Zealand. 

Then here is a critical statement to help our understanding of why Bhutan definitely does not want them back now.

……15 rounds of negotiations failed to see any thaw in Bhutan’s attitude with the Druk government saying the refugee camps had been infiltrated by Maoists and to allow the refugees back home would be tantamount to ‘importing’ terrorism. 

Then finally comes some real explanation about how we got in the middle of this.  

As the donor governments, which helped to keep the camps in Nepal going, began to grow weary of the deadlock and started cutting aid, the US, also goaded by the fear of a militant movement brewing in the camps, played a major role in persuading the Koirala government last year to allow the refugees to go abroad.

For readers who wish we weren’t mucking around all over the world, this last is revealing.   A “militant movement” might be brewing in camps so we should take them to America where our melting pot will do its magic and militants will be transformed into kitchen workers and meat packers too busy chasing American materialism to be bothered with their Maoist politics.  

This last may in fact be the great myth that volags have about the Islamists too—once in America the melting pot goes to work and poof any wish to bring Shariah law to the world is forgotten.  Not!

See all of our posts on this controversial resettlement here.

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