Nepal – the country of the Buddha and the Mt. Everest

Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without – Buddha

NEPAL: Bhutanese refugee numbers nearly halved

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 24, 2011

DAMAK, 24 August 2011 (IRIN) – Nearly half of the roughly 108,000 Bhutanese of Nepalese origin who fled to Nepal in the early 1990s have been resettled in third countries, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), and the seven camps they were living in are in the process of being consolidated into two.

Since late 2007, when a third-country resettlement programme was introduced, UNHCR has resettled 50,996 of the refugees, also known as Lhotsampas; 43,056 have been resettled in the USA alone. They fled Bhutan after the government stripped them of citizenship.

Due to a reduction in donor funds and to provide services more efficiently to the dwindling number of refugees, the Nepalese government and UNHCR have begun merging the camps into two – Beldangi in Jhapa District and Sanischare in Morang District. The plan is to complete the process by mid-2012.

“Refugees don’t necessarily feel comfortable losing half of the community, so it makes no sense to do business as usual,” Stephane Jaquemet, UNHCR country representative in Kathmandu, told IRIN.


Camps Beldangi I, Beldangi II, and Beldangi II Extension merged into Beldangi camp in January 2011, centralizing food distribution, health care and education. IRIN Asia | NEPAL: Bhutanese refugee numbers nearly halved | Nepal | Refugees/IDPs.


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