Stateless Refugee Children from Bhutan Living in Nepal: Testimony of Bill Frelick to a Joint Briefing for the Congressional Children's Caucus and the Congressional Human Rights Caucus on the Status of Stateless Children
New York, NY: Human Rights Watch
February 15, 2007, pages
Recounts the history and current conditions of Bhutanese refugee youth and children through the testimony of Bill Frelick, Refugee Policy Director for Human Rights Watch, to the Congressional Children's Caucus. Frelick outlines the restrictive citizenship laws enacted in Bhutan in the 1980s which forced many of Bhutan's Nepalese-speaking citizens to flee or be deported to live in Nepali refugee camps. The camps continue to operate 15 years after they were created, and the path to repatriation or resettlement continues to be confusing and unknown. The children in the camps acknowledge their human rights situation and express a deep desire to improve their lives through resettlement. Human Rights Watch urges the United States to: continue diplomatic pressure to restore Bhutanese citizenship to the refugees, work with the UNHCR to improve information about resettlement, proceed quickly with the resettlement process, and encourage the Nepali government to allow the refugees to naturalize.