Refugee day celebrations finally ended

Published on Jun 21 2010 // Main News
UNHCR’s chief presenting his speech in Nepal Toursim Board

Kathmandu, June 21: Celebrations of this year’s World Refugee Day (WRD) in Nepal has finally come to an end Monday evening following a formal program at Nepal Tourism Board organized by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

The ending program marked presentation of videos clips of resettled Bhutanese, photo exhibition, speeches and Bhutanese traditional dance by artists from camps.

T.B Gurung, camp secretary of Beldangi-I camp formally inaugurated the program with a candle light, while UNHCR’s Nepal Representative Stephane Jaquemet delivered the opening speech. UNHCR brought around a dozen of Bhutanese from the camps to Kathmandu for various performances in the event.

The UNHCR also made presentation of video clips recorded from resettled Bhutanese in various countries and of those who are shortly leaving the same.

Considering Sunday as a holiday in the UN offices, the UNHCR conducted camp based programs on the last Friday and media gathering in the capital city on Monday.

BCN also announced the results of essay writing competition held in the camps to mark WRD amidst a function in Beldangi-I camp, where UNHCR’s chief distributed the prizes sponsored by Global Human Rights Defense from The Netherlands.

Yesterday, Bhutan Media Society, Kathmandu and International creators’ Forum, Jhapa jointly organized drawing competition among the local artists and those from the camps.

Two dozen artists demonstrated their skills this Sunday by painting canvases to depict life in refugee camps, said the event manager Jeetan Subba of BMS.

President of ICF Jhapa informed that 15 participants from various Bhutanese refugee camps and eight from local host
community spent almost the whole day to portray their canvases in the event.

The first candidate of BCN essay writing competition in between Stephane and camp supersor Beldangi-I
The first candidate of BCN essay writing competition in between Stephane and camp supersor Beldangi-I

The Hague-based rights body Global Human Rights Defense (GHRD), Bhutanese Community in The Netherlands (BCN) and Youth Organization of Bhutan  from America sponsored the art competition.

According to the organizers, canvases painted by Guna Sunuwar and Deo kumar Rai of Pathri camp in Morang district received first and third prizes respectively, while that of Rajen Gurung from Beldangi-I camp of Jhapa district secured second position.

A famous fine art artist from the region, Pawan Rajbanshi, who was present in the event as the chief judge, presented cash prizes and certificates to the winners. 

BMS is planning to conduct fund raising through auctioning of some of the canvases, BMS Subba said.

Similarly, Khudunabari and Goldhap camps organized cultural programs to mark the WRD. Even dramas were presented to remind atrocities of the regime on exiled Bhutanese. Resettled Bhutanese from Nebraska supported celebrations in Khudunabari, while Youth Friendly Centers sponsored the program in Goldhap.

Over 32,000 Bhutanese from the camps have departed to the United States and other countries since the launch of the resettlement programme by UNHCR in November 2007.

“The United States, with 27,926, has accepted the majority of the refugees,” Stéphane Jaquemet in a statement released by the UNHCR.

The other countries accepting refugees are Australia (1,530), Canada (1,445), New Zealand (447), Denmark (326), Norway (324), and the Netherlands (178), while departure procedures of some 100 refugees are underway.

(With inputs from Arjun Pradhan and Tilak Niraula in camps)