A Bhutanese finally gets asylum in Germany

Published on Dec 13 2009 // Main News
By Tej Man Rayaka Monger

December 12, 2009: There was time, very critical time, when a Bhutanese seeking asylum in Germany was extradited to Bhutan, where he would face severe torture, harassment, and jail terms. Fortunately, he has been granted asylum, thanks to international pressure and lobby by exiled Bhutanese groups including media in exile.

The long awaited asylum appeal of Tandin Wangdi is being accepted by the German authority. He is out from the prison and is granted asylum by the Federal Republic of Germany early this week.

He was set to receive deportation to Bhutan in last June. He then escaped to Switzerland and remained underground for three months and appealed for asylum in Switzerland. However, Switzerland authority put to prison kept for three and half months and deported back to Germany. He lived his life in the German prison for almost four months and was in the verge of receiving deportation. Now he is given stay permission with a travel document in accordance to the Geneva Convention 1951.

His father Tshering Penjor from Trashigang told apfanews that his son would have long back been deported to Bhutan if the Lhotshampa friends had not worked on it sincerely. “They have selflessly helped to stop the deportation of my son. I am not an uneducated person, my son is immature, we would have really been in trouble if our friends in exile did not help us,” he added.

He further states that this is a big message and a milestone to the people inside Bhutan of all communities to understand the feeling of oneness rendered by Lhotshampa brethren in a distant foreign land. He expresses his gratefulness to the Lhotshapma people for giving a new life to his son.

Durga Giri, General secretary of BPP who had been advocating for Tandins asylum in Germany, right from the beginning has said that this successful mission has in fact established a small food for thought to the Thimphu regime against its ethnic cleansing policy.

Feeling of co-existence, mutual respect and communal harmony are the basic of country’s political stability, he added. He has thanked all those who have helped directly or indirectly to create an opinion to stop Tandins deportation and acceptance of his asylum in Germany.

He also appreciated German government for reconsidering the decision in favor of Tandin, a political activist from Bhutan. His struggle for asylum has shown how difficult it is to survive for political activists in Bhutan.

A group of 21 Bhutanese resettled in Australia had taken up signature campaign under the leadership of Parsuram Luitel to appraise the Australian government to alert German government of possibility of threat of his life. Similarly, Ram Bahadur Karki had raised the issue with the Netherlands foreign Ministry and GHRD.

Giri had prepared and forwarded memorandums to UNHCR, Core group countries Amnesty International and various rights bodies across Europe and liasensing with the defence lawyers and follow ups seeking asylum for Tandin.