Ratan to do advocacy from Australia (Resettlement)

Published on Jan 30 2009 // Main News
Kathmandu, January 30: Ratan Gazmere, who is a noted personality among the Bhutanese community through Appeal Movement Coordinating Council , is scheduled to fly to Adelaide, Australia on February 2.

In an exclusive interview with the Nepalitimes, he has regretted for spending his useful 17 years in Nepal.  "I spent 17 out of my 51 years here. These were the prime years of my life," quoted the weekly today.

Gazmere, one of the first leaders in exile to welcome the offer of third country resettlement, stood stern towards the categorization of the Bhutanese into four groups by Nepal and Bhutan.

"Kathmandu could never confront Thimphu, its biggest blunder being the acceptance of the four categories through which Bhutan sought to divide the refugees in the joint verification exercise," Ratan told the Nepalitimes.

An Amnesty International declared prisoner of conscience, Gazmere has accused International Organization for Migration for harassing the exiled Bhutanese with inadequate information.

"While we are grateful to the governments that have reached out to us, there is a serious lack of transparency in IOM", said he adding "The poor, confused refugees are being treated as if they were commodities," he told the weekly.

According to him, the common people in camps are harassed and provided with inadequate information. He said that their sense of dignity is being affected.

Gazmere, who has been advocating for human rights in Bhutan through Association of Human Rights Activists (AHURA) Bhutan, is another high-profile leader to leave Nepal next to Rakesh Chhetri who emigrated to the United States of America in 2005. The writer could not reach him through telephone for his comments. Bhutan News Service