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Published:March 5th, 2008 10:13 EST
Fire compounds woes of  Refugees

Fire compounds woes of Refugees

By SOP newswire

Druk National Congress is deeply anguished and saddened at this moment of greatest tragedy heaped on the unfortunate families by an outbreak of fire at Goldhap Refugee Camp (Jhapa, Nepal), leaving more than 12,000 refugee homeless. The Bhutanese refugees, already living nightmare of a life as refugee, since last seventeen years – whole family holed up in a one-room thatched roof house, without access to basic amenities like electricity etc. Their daily food, as well as nutritional intake, has drastically shrunk. Quality of their life has gradually deteriorated over the years. Whatever little household belongings these 12,000 people have managed to acquire, have now been gutted in this fire. It is indeed a very welcome gesture of UNHCR and Nepal government to extend their help promptly and the Druk National Congress expresses its sincere gratitude to both. In addition Druk
National Congress appeals to international community to extend their help to the affected poor refugees. The donor agencies, relief agencies, non-government and humanitarian organizations, working in South Asia can play a critical role in alleviating the plight of hapless refugees.

Druk National Congress firmly believes that Royal Government of Bhutan should come forward to help the victims of fire, as the cause is humanitarian and politics must be relegated to periphery. Further, throughout the world Bhutan is recognized as a Buddhist Kingdom and practitioner of compassion and kindness. This unfortunate incident provides an opportunity to the Royal Government of Bhutan to demonstrate that indeed the country practices the teachings of Buddhism, in words and spirit. And above all, these victims are primarily *bona fide *Bhutanese citizens and by virtue of this, they have a right to receive help from their nation. Therefore, this is high time that Royal Government of Bhutan come out of its slumber.

Of late, the third-country resettlement has featured prominently in local and international news. We firmly believe that it is the personal choice of each refugee to decide his/her own fate. But at the same time, majority of refugees sheltering in camps, want to return Bhutan with dignity and honour. The present crisis has precipitated owing to non-Bhutanese issues and we cannot afford another crisis because of it.

Therefore, in this backdrop, the verification of Bhutanese and non-Bhutanese has become very important. The Joint verification process, jointly initiated by a team of Bhutan and Nepal Government in early 2002, was suspended over some trivial differences. Since both the nations are witnessing historic developments, Druk National Congress, urges both governments to resume the stalled verification process in order to evolve a just, fair and honourable permanent resolution of Bhutanese refugees crisis.