IOM helps over 8,000 to resettle abroad

Published on Dec 16 2008 // Main News

Kathmandu, December 16: International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said this year it helped over 8,000 exiled Bhutanese leave refugee camps and resettle in third countries, including the US, Australia and New Zealand.

This year the U.S. accepted over 7,500 refugees, Australia accepted 365 and 134 were resettled in New Zealand. A smaller number were resettled in Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands.

These include the processing of cases referred to resettlement countries by UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, as well as the medical screening, cultural orientation and travel arrangements of refugees accepted for resettlement.

IOM opened a sub-office in Damak in December 2007 and now employs over 200 local staff operating in Damak and all seven Lhotsampa camps.

"The pace of the operation is now picking up," says David Derthick, Head of IOM Damak. "Our resettlement numbers have gone from fewer than 100 in 2007 to over 8,000 this year. The decision of whether to opt for resettlement or not is entirely up to the families concerned, but next year we expect to move between 16,000 to 18,000 people," added Derthick in a statement issued. Bhutan News Service