8,000 exiled Bhutanese are resettled so far: UNHCR
Kathmandu, January 07: The UN refugee agency on Wednesday announced that in 2008, over 8000 exiled Bhutanese have left their camps in Nepal for resettlement countries in the west.
The United States of America which announced that it would resettle 60,000 of them, and even more if needed, received the largest numbers so far – 7,547.
They have gone to cities like Tuscon, Seattle, Pittsburg, Altanta and Baltimore.
Departures to Australia total 393, New Zealand 129, Canada 40, Netherlands 27, Norway 24 and Denmark 13.
"We are pleased to see so many refugees starting their lives afresh after living in difficult conditions in the camps for the last 18 years and to learn that those resettled are adapting well in their new country," said Daisy Dell, UNHCR Representative in Nepal. "This programme would not have been successful without the strong support of the Government of Nepal, International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the resettlement countries."
Since the start of the resettlement programme in November 2007, more than half of the exiled Bhutanese in Nepal (over 60,000) have already expressed their interest for resettlement.
UNHCR said it continues to ensure that exiled Bhutanese are able to make a free and informed decision regarding solutions. Comprehensive and transparent information on resettlement and other durable solutions are provided to the exiled Bhutanese through regular information sessions in the camps and individual counseling, the statement reads.
Some 16,000 – 18,000 exiled Bhutanese are expected to leave Nepal in 2009. At the same time, UNHCR, together with the international community, will continue to advocate for the option of voluntary repatriation to Bhutan for those who wish to do so. Bhutan News Service