Nepal

UNHCR calls on refugees to show restraint and halt growing violence in the camps in eastern Nepal

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KATHMANDU, 28 May - The UN refugee agency expressed grave concern over the death of one refugee minor and several injured refugees and policemen during the clash which first started between the refugees and later with the police in the Beldangi II refugee camp in Jhapa district on Sunday.

According to reports received by UNHCR, the violence broke out between groups of refugees in favour or against third country resettlement. To curb the escalating violence and to maintain law and order the police intervened in the camp.

The refugees also set fire to the Camp Management Committee office in Beldangi II camp and destroyed the police station in Beldangi I camp. Injured persons were brought to the AMDA hospital in Damak on Sunday.

"We are alarmed by this incident and deeply regret the tragic death of a minor despite efforts by the police to quell the unrest in the camp," said Abraham ABRAHAM, UNHCR Representative in Nepal.

The situation continues to be tense in the camp which seems to have spilled over to the other refugee camps in the eastern region.

"This is a disturbing state of affairs and I earnestly call upon all refugees and concerned parties to resolve the matter peacefully," added Abraham.

UNHCR again appeals to the refugees to abide by the laws of the country.

The UN refugee agency is closely monitoring the situation and is in close contact with the government authorities at the central and district levels. "UNHCR is grateful to the Government of Nepal for working towards restoring law and order in the camps in the face of what is a highly charged security situation in the camps," said Abraham.

Starting Monday morning, the government authorities have declared a curfew in all the seven refugee camps in Jhapa and Morang districts in eastern Nepal and 500 meters surrounding the camps. Simultaneously, for security of staff and UN property, UNHCR is reviewing its daily presence in the camps, until the situation stabilizes.

The UN refugee agency is also concerned that a prolongation of the deteriorating security situation in the camps could affect its humanitarian operation, as well as the smooth delivery of food in the camps by the UN World Food Programme.

In co-operation with the National Unit for the Coordination of Refugee Affairs of the Ministry of Home Affairs, the UN refugee agency provides protection and assistance to over 107,000 refugees from Bhutan in seven camps in Jhapa and Morang districts in eastern Nepal, together with the UN World Food Programme and NGO partners.

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For further information on this topic, please contact:

Nini Gurung
Spokesperson and External Relations Assistant UNHCR, Kathmandu Nepal