Kathmandu: Global Campaign for the Release of Political Prisoners in Bhutan (GCRPPB) has written an open letter to the Bhutanese King appealing to release political prisoners.
In the letter, GCRPPB Coordinator Ram Karki has requested Bhutanese King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck to use the constitutional Royal Prerogatives to provide amnesty to the prisoners. The letter was written on the occasion of the 42nd birthday of the Bhutanese King.
[Related: A long and desperate wait for the families of Bhutanese political prisoners]
Currently, more than 100 political prisoners have been languishing behind the bars in the South Asian country for decades. Most of them were booked under the National Security Act which demanded life sentences; thus the prisoners are currently serving life sentences. Most of their elderly parents, wives, and children are now resettled in various countries after living in various UNHCR aided refugee camps in Nepal for more than 20 years.
[Related: Concerns raised over wellbeing of Bhutanese political prisoners]
GCRPPB has been making repeated calls to free the prisoners by appealing to the King of Bhutan and other stakeholders. The campaign was formed in 2019 to call for the early release of Bhutanese political prisoners.
[Related: Bhutanese diaspora calls to rescind award to former Bhutanese Home Minister on charge of human rights violation]
Here’s the full text of the open letter to the Bhutanese King:
His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck
The King of Bhutan
Kingdom of Bhutan
Sub: Appeal to Release Political Prisoners on the occasion of His Majesty’s 42 Birthday.
First of all, I would like to extend my congratulations and Best Wishes to your Majesty on the auspicious occasion of 42nd Birthday. May the year ahead bring a lot of happiness and prosperity to His Majesty and the entire Bhutanese people under your Majesty’s command.
I am writing this open letter on this auspicious occasion in the hope of getting your immediate attention as our several appeals that was sent through post and emails in the past were all ignored and were never responded. The major reason for this repeated ignorance might be because our such appeals never reached to Your Majesty’s hand.
With due respect, on behalf of the families of Bhutanese Political Prisoners, I would like to put forward my most sincere request for your Majesty’s kind consideration and sympathetic action, please.
Following the dawn of democratic government and a constitutional monarchy, the families have a great expectation that their sons, brothers and sisters who were arrested on political grounds and are now serving prison sentences in various prisons in Bhutan will be provided Amnesty.
Most of the family members of those political prisoners are already resettled in various eight countries after living many years in Bhutanese refugee camps in Nepal. Most of them have successfully gained citizenship in the countries they resettled. Others are in the process of acquiring one. Despite being living in economically developed countries and enjoying all necessary amenities, they feel incomplete and emotionally desolate only because their close family members/relatives/friends have been serving in Bhutan’s prisons. They have remained disconnected following their resettlement after which ICRC stopped their family visit program. Those in the prisons are their dear husbands, fathers, sons, brothers, uncles, friends without whom it has become increasingly difficult for them to live a modest life, no matter where and how they are now living.
Therefore on families behalf I the undersigned, with my heavy heart, take this opportunity to request Your Majesty’s good office to gracefully use the constitutional Royal Prerogatives (per Article 2.16.c of the constitution of Bhutan) to provide amnesty to those unfortunate human beings. Families would be ever grateful to your Majesty if this honest and sincere appeal is duly considered.
The elderly parents of those political prisoners are in the way of dying without their wishes to see the face of their beloved son’s being fulfilled. Children of those prisoners who were just born have great wishes to see their fathers/mothers and likewise other family members. They have been waiting for decades in the hope of getting opportunities to live the rest of their lives peacefully together.
We humbly look forward to Your Majesty’s positive response to this most sincere appeal.
Global Campaign for the release of political prisoners in Bhutan (GCRPPB)