Open chapter in Bhutan, Rizal asks SAHR

Published on Nov 28 2010 // Main News

Human rights leader Tek Nath Rizal asked the South Asian for Human Rights (SAHR) to coordinate for its branch office in Bhutan for monitoring the situation.

File photo: Tek Nath Riza/pic : TP Mishra

Rizal finds SAHR as the best organization as he claims it organized several conferences and published material on Bhutanese refugee issues. “It is well aware of the human rights situation inside Bhutan.”

Leader Rizal said so while presenting a paper at a three-day regional conference, ‘The Challenges FOR SOUTH Asia: Human Rights and Democracy’ ongoing in Kathmandu since Saturday.

Meanwhile, he said that the role of Bhutanese media in exile has not been recognized by international media organizations.

“The Bhutanese refugee community is proud of the media activism in exile,” he said, “Probably, no refugees have done the work of what our young journalists in exile are doing.”

According to him, encouragement and support for media activism in exile are essential. “We cannot depend on the totally censored media operating inside the country.”

He also asked the forum to pressurize the government to release exiled journalist, Shanti Ram Acharya. “Though his friends and organizations have been advocating for his release globally, I urge this forum to create pressure on Bhutan to recognize his journalistic status and free unconditionally.”

Strongly raising the issue of Christianity in Bhutan, Rizal said that it is a moral obligation of all powerful nations and human rights defenders to ask the government to find out the whereabouts of two Christian Bhutanese who have left their village for safety as they have been hunted by the security.

He also urged the international community, resettlement countries and Bhutan’s donors to speak on behalf of the Bhutanese Christians and pressurize the government to immediately release Prem Sigh Gurung, who was jailed due to his faith on Jesus.