Human Rights and Bhutan

Published on Nov 29 2010 // Opinion
By Tek Nath Rizal

I am quite certain that most of us are well aware of the Bhutanese refugee problem and deteriorating human rights situation inside Bhutan. Violation of human rights in Bhutan from the state authority started becoming more rampant since 1988. As a result of this, almost one-third of Bhutan’s population was forcefully evicted out of country in 1990s. Following massive pressures from rights organizations and others around the globe, the then King of Bhutan, Jigme Singey Wangchuck, played a drama in the name of change in 2008, but just aimed at blindfolding the international community by abdicating the throne to his son, Jigme Kheshar, who is the King at present. Even, the first general election was held to trumpet so-called democracy in Bhutan.

Considering the degree of suppressions on the innocent people who raised their voices for democracy and changes, the regime-gifted democracy is nothing but just the same autocratic kingship as it has excluded those who suffered for centuries to get their rights respected. The Bhutanese democracy at present is never true in its real sense as it has failed to address the issue of political prisoners who have been spending their hard lives in various jails since years. How can we accept it as democracy when it was given without releasing those political prisoners and not expressing interest to resolve the refugee problem?

In such an occasion, Bhutan failed to include the refugee community by calling them back home. Besides doing this, unfortunately the so-called democratic Government of Bhutan doesn’t have to be answerable to any sorts of human rights violations in the country. That was why it took a leap by successfully hosting the 16th SAARC summit in Thimphu this year. Presence of SAARC leaders in the summit was, indeed, an indirect gesture of support to the Bhutanese regime.

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