Peace Initiative Bhutan demands swift action to punish the perpetrators of fake refugee scam

The organized crime orchestrated by high-ranking Nepali politicians and bureaucrats has caused immense harm to legitimate Bhutanese refugees and undermined the integrity of the refugee resettlement process, the US based organization said.

Arjun Pradhan

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Columbus, Ohio: Peace Initiative Bhutan (PIB), a US based non-profit organization dedicated to solving the Bhutanese refugee crisis, has strongly condemned the organized crime orchestrated by high-ranking Nepali politicians and bureaucrats, causing immense harm to legitimate Bhutanese refugees and undermining the integrity of the refugee resettlement process. PIB demands swift action to bring the perpetrators to justice and supports fair and impartial investigation. 

It has also asked the Ministry of Home Affairs, Narayan Kaji Shrestha and Prime Minister Puspa Kamal Dahal, and Nepal Police to stand firmly to uphold the rule of law and restore international confidence in the justice system of Nepal. 

“The remaining Bhutanese refugees in eastern Nepal are suffering. They need adequate education, healthcare, employment, and a fair and just solution. It is a complete dereliction of duty that culprits found an opportunity to make a monetary profit through the vulnerability of Bhutanese Refugees,” PIB said in its press statement. 

“The Nepali government must take immediate and decisive action to ensure justice and put an end to this criminal activity. Upholding the rule of law is crucial for restoring trust in the refugee resettlement process and securing justice for the victims.”

Additionally, PIB has called for collaboration among the Nepali government, core group countries that have successfully resettled Bhutanese refugees, including Bhutan, and international stakeholders. “Immediate consultations are necessary to find solutions for the residual Bhutanese refugees and address the root causes of the crisis. Together, we can work towards sustainable solutions that uphold human rights and support those affected by forced displacement,” the press statement reads.

The organization has urged the international community to support peacebuilding and reconciliation efforts in Bhutan. Reuniting families, releasing political prisoners, healing, acknowledging the past wrong, and being accountable to the perpetrators can all be achieved by pursuing a holistic peacebuilding and reconciliation process. “It is essential for all stakeholders to join hands in promoting peace, justice, and respect for the rights of refugees and find a fair and amicable solution,” PIB said.  

The government of Bhutan forcibly exiled more than 100,000 Bhutanese citizens in the late 1980s and early 1990s due to their dissent against the forced national integration policy and retroactive implementation of the Citizenship Act of 1985. After living in the various refugee camps in Nepal, close to 115,000 have accepted the third-country resettlement program, and close to 7,000 remain in two refugee camps in Nepal.