Bhutanese refugees, depressed, accuse UN of separating families

We have written a lot lately about Bhutanese refugees in America with a very high rate of suicide. Here is one story I’ve had kicking around from New Hampshire that I never got around to posting.

But, this was a big surprise to me.  It seems that refugees left behind in camps in Nepal are also depressed and are developing serious mental illnesses.   This is just a reminder to the do-gooders who think bringing refugees to the West and dropping them off in troubled city neighborhoods to work as cheap laborers is always an act of kindness, consider this news:

From ekantipur.com (emphasis is mine):

 Though third-country resettlement of Bhutanese refugees has provided relief to many, the initiative has been the cause of pain for some.

Durga Devi Odari, who was once a lively, happy person, has been on medication for the past three years. Odari went into a state of depression when her parents were flown to the USA and her brother to New Zealand. Her dreams of settling abroad, for which she even divorced her husband, were shattered.

She can’t find her parents!

“I am not sure about finding my parents and I do not know if I will ever be able to find my loved ones,” said Durga.

Durga’s case is not an isolated one: many refugees awaiting resettlement are battling with depression. As the number of people in the camps decreases, depression is becoming a serious issue for those remaining.

Though the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Transcultural Psychosocial Organisation (TPO) has not officially confirmed the numbers of those with depression, mental disorders, and drug dependency inside the camps, the increase in activity of the TPO, which specialises in providing counselling services, has fuelled speculation that the number of those facing depression is increasing.

Refugees claim UN has separated families!

While the UNHCR has made assurances that they would not separate families without parental consent, some refugees claim that the UNHCR’s actions demonstrate otherwise.

The UNHCR has been working with TPO since 2008, two years after the initiation of the resettlement process.

According to Sanchahang Subba, Secretary of the Beldangi Camp, he receives hundreds of letters per day by those seeking the whereabouts of their loved ones.

How did we come to bring 70,000 Bhutanese to America?    

In 2007: Ms Sauerbrey blamed the refugee leaders in the camps in Nepal for the “intimidation”.

We’ve been writing about this subject since 2007 when then Asst. Secretary of State Ellen Sauerbrey (a Bush appointee) announced the decision to help the UN clean out its camps for Bhutanese/Nepalese in Nepal.  Here is one re-cap.   Keep in mind the UN and our State Department were never in a hurry to clean out the Palestinian “refugee” camps.

Just now I was looking around further on the history of all of this and was reminded that camp leaders were furious when the third country resettlement began and I suspect the woman in our story above, who divorced her husband to try and be resettled with her parents, was probably married to a camp political leader.  The leaders wanted to keep the pressure on Bhutan to take them back until we stepped in and brought tens of thousands of them to the US to work in meatpacking and other menial labor jobs.

Other than our need for cheap labor (and the contractors’ needs for refugee numbers because they are paid by the head!), what was our national interest in getting involved in a dispute involving Nepal and Bhutan?

Here is another writer a year ago on the same topic.

The photo is from this BBC story where Sauerbrey said sending the Bhutanese to western countries (the US took the lion’s share) was all done for “humanitarian” reasons.

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