Reporter Deepak Adhikari at Time magazine tells us a twisted tale of how Somalis originally hoping to get to Europe, got duped, and ended up in Nepal.
Mahad Abdullahi Hassan had never heard of Nepal before the day he landed there. When the 28-year-old Somali boarded a flight from Dubai to Kathmandu on May 23, 2007, he was hoping he would finally reach his dream destination: Sweden. He had, after all, shelled out $4,000 to a human trafficker who promised to smuggle him to the Scandinavian country.
Oops, looks like Europe wins and Nepal loses.
Instead, when Hassan got off the plane, he found himself in the airport in Kathmandu, where a taxi took him and the trafficker, who was traveling with him, to a bustling tourist neighborhood in the Nepalese capital. “It was a strange place,” says Hassan. “All the buildings looked the same. Everything was new to me.” When they booked a hotel there, the trafficker assured Hassan that he was arranging the necessary documents to complete their journey to Sweden. But the next morning, when Hassan woke up in an empty room, he realized he’d been duped. “I realized I was completely at a loss,” Hassan recalls.
Nepal is swamped with refugees and fears becoming a human trafficking magnet.
….according to the U.N., developing nations like Nepal now host 80% of the world’s 15.2 million refugees, nearly 20% of whom are designated as urban refugees living outside refugee camps.
“We don’t want Nepal to be a hub for human-trafficking,” says Bhattarai. The government recently imposed a ban on issuing on-arrival visas for the residents of a dozen countries, including Somalia, Burma, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Nigeria and Sudan.
Then this little section of the Time magazine story leaves out an important fact.
Nepal is no stranger to people seeking shelter in its borders. Nearly 87,000 Bhutanese are now living in UNHCR-run refugee camps in southeastern Nepal, having fled the tiny kingdom of Bhutan after government policy stripped them of Bhutanese citizenship.
The “Bhutanese” living in camps, 60,000 of whom are on the way (or have already arrived) to live in the US are ethnic Nepalese who had gone to live in Bhutan, Bhutan expelled them, and now Nepal won’t take them back. So, add to this mish-mash of displaced persons in Nepal there are “refugees” who are Nepalese! Does that make sense?
To further demonstrate the insanity of Nepal’s situation, Hassan would like to go back to Somalia but Nepal deems it unsafe to do so, all of which leaves me in the end with no sympathy for Nepal.