Bhutanese Refugees in Nepal (Powerpoint)
Washington, DC: UNHCR Washington
August 2007, 16 pages
Presents a snapshot of the resettlement crisis facing Bhutanese refugees living in seven camps in Nepal through analysis of demographic data, an historic timeline, current challenges, and the United Nations response. This population of approximately 108,000 people from southern Bhutan were forced into refugee camps in Nepal during the early 1990's after the Bhutanese government confiscated schools and land of sub-cultures deemed inadequate to measure up to the officially sanctioned Bhutan language, customs, religion, and political affiliation. This refugee group is fifty percent male and fifty percent female with approximately 35% of the population under the age of 18. Almost 70% adhere to the Hindu religion but Buddhists comprise 25% of the group, 5-8% are Kirat (an indigenous religion), and 2-3% are Christians. The well organized and stable camps offer education through the 10th grade with great success in primary education. A small, but very active, minority opposes resettlement in the West andinsists on repatriation in Bhutan. They have used misinformation, threats, and violence to thwart resettlement agreements. The United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR) works to closely coordinate resettlement, improve camp security, and use town meetings, publications, and radio broadcasts to disseminate accurate information. Once security is complete, the multi-year resettlement program will commence and many, if not most, of the refugees will resettle in the United States.