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

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Posts Tagged ‘refugees’

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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SRI LANKA: Returnees struggle in post-war zone

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 5, 2011

THUNUKKAI, 5 July 2011 (IRIN) – More than two years after Sri Lanka’s decades-long civil war officially ended, returnees to remote villages face tough times and uncertain futures, despite governmental and international efforts at reconstruction.

“Everything that we had earned in 50 years, we lost in months,” Supiah Arumugam, 52, and a father of two, told IRIN. Arumugam returned to his home village of Thunukkai, deep in Mullaitivu District in the island’s north and once under the control of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), in March 2010. He and his family had fled the violence two years previously.

Seven months after the government declared victory over the LTTE in May 2009, the Ministry of Economic Development launched the Northern Recovery Project in December 2009 to accelerate development in the conflict-affected Vanni. Of some 120,000 resettled families in the Vanni, the ministry estimates about 29,000 have directly benefited from projects, while 56,000 families have benefited indirectly.

But families such as Arumugam’s are returning to a small fraction of what they had and reconstruction is a slow process.

Before the war, Arumugam had a large farm with hundreds of livestock. Since his return, he has battled to find an income and his belongings are few: “I don’t have a house, only eight chickens and a bicycle.”

Like most, he says he has survived the past 15 months on the US$230 initially given by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) through the government to set up semi-permanent living quarters. Supplemental cash-for-work programmes coordinated by the government and funded by the World Bank also helped pay the bills for six months. “Life is a struggle,” he said.

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NEPAL: Bhutanese refugees head West

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 21, 2010


JHAPA, 21 June 2010 (IRIN) – Pampha Sarki, 31, fled to Nepal with her family nearly two decades ago during a

Many Bhutanese do not want their children, who were born in refugee camps, to suffer as they did and are opting for third country resettlement

Bhutanese government crackdown on people of Nepalese origin.

Ironically, she is now among 80,000 who are considered Bhutanese refugees and subjected to a life of squalor, dependence and danger in seven refugee camps in Jhapa District, 500km southeast of Kathmandu.

One of Sarki’s four daughters was raped and murdered by a fellow resident in the camp. Sarki’s husband is paralysed from the waist down.

“I just want to get out of here. My family has suffered too much. We can’t take it any more,” she told IRIN in Jhapa. Sarki and her family survive on UN handouts and live without electricity.

Finally, Sarki has a glimmer of hope as she anxiously awaits a decision on her family’s application for resettlement outside Asia – in North America, Europe, Australia or New Zealand. Read the rest of this entry »

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KYRGYZSTAN-UZBEKISTAN: Tens of thousands of refugees in need of assistance

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 16, 2010


DUBAI, 16 June 2010 (IRIN) – Clashes between ethnic Uzbeks and Kyrgyz groups in southern Kyrgyzstan since 10 June have killed at least 170 people, injured 1,762 and forced 300,000 to flee their homes, according to the Kyrgyz Ministry of Health and UN agencies.

Among the 300,000 displaced are about 75,000 ethnic Uzbeks who have crossed the border into Uzbekistan and registered as refugees, according to Uzbek authorities. Some estimates put the number as high as 100,000, mostly staying in 75 camps around Andjian, Uzbekistan’s fourth-largest city some 50km northwest of Osh, which is just 5km from the Uzbek-Kyrgyz border and was the starting point for the violence.

Uzbek authorities are allowing only the elderly, women and children under the age of 18 into the country for what they say are security reasons.

Reports suggest tens of thousands of Uzbeks are still waiting to cross the border. Read the rest of this entry »

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