Continuing Tradition of Immigration
It is a matter of pleasure to be here to join with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, International Organization for Migration, the colleagues from Bhutan and with the core-group and all of you to mark this very special occasion –departure of the 40,000th Bhutanese refugee from Nepal. I think it is a great day and the weather has cooperated, as well. I know I speak from the fellow core-group members. When I say the US is proud to work with such a tremendous group of partners to provide a durable solution to our refugees from Bhutan.
When we started the program in 2007, there were 109,000 refugees living in camps of Jhapa and Morang. Most of them had to wait over 15 years in camps, but with no hope of returning to Bhutan. While we continued to press the Government of Bhutan to accept back those citizens who wish to return, we also felt it was important to offer another solution to this problem. I know there were many concerns when the resettlement program begun, most not only among the refugees themselves. It is remarkable that in less than three years, after the first departure, we have resettled 40,000 thousands Bhutanese refugees and another 50,000 expressed interest in resettlement.