Nepal

Nepal: Bhutanese refugee resettlement passes 25,000

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IOM has now helped more than 25,000 Bhutanese refugees to resettle in third countries from camps in eastern Nepal.

The Bhutanese refugee resettlement programme, which is in close collaboration with UNHCR and the Nepalese government, began in November 2007.

Some 22,060 refugees have left for the US, 1,006 for Australia, 892 for Canada, 316 for Norway, 305 for Denmark, 299 for New Zealand, 122 for the Netherlands.

They represent nearly a quarter of the over 100,000 Bhutanese refugees of Nepali origin who fled to seven camps in the Jhapa and Morang districts of Nepal in the early 1990s following Bhutan's decision to expel them and revoke their citizenship.

Subsequent negotiations to allow them to return to Bhutan failed and in September 2007 the Nepalese government signed a Memorandum of Understanding with IOM to carry out resettlement activities in Damak, the Nepali town closest to the camps.

IOM works with the resettlement countries and UNHCR to facilitate refugee departures. It processes cases for resettlement countries, conducts health assessments and cultural orientation courses based on the requirements of each resettlement country, and organizes all transportation from the refugee camps to final destinations.

IOM organizes some 1,500 refugee departures every month by charter flight from eastern Nepal to Kathmandu. It then takes the refugees from Kathmandu to their final destinations on commercial flights.

Over 86,000 Bhutanese refugees currently remain in the seven camps.

For more information please contact Jennifer Pro, IOM Nepal, Email: jpro@iom.int Tel. +977-985-110-4589

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