Kathmandu: The Global Campaign for the Release of Political Prisoners in Bhutan (GCRPPB) has requested Tshering Tobgay, who is set to return as the Prime Minister of Bhutan, to grant amnesty to more than 50 individuals currently held as political prisoners in prisons in Bhutan.
The GCRPPB, based in in The Hague, Netherlands, is a global initiative formed in 2019 to advocate for the safe release of Bhutanese political prisoners.
Congratulating on securing most seats in the recently-concluded parliamentary elections, GCRPPB has also requested Tobgay for a legal pathway for repatriation from those 6,500 Bhutanese refugees
currently residing in the camps, who have expressed their desire to return to Bhutan.
Tobgay’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP) won the most seats in Bhutan’s parliamentary election held this week.
Issuing a statement, GCRPPB said it acknowledges Bhutan’s transition to a democratic, constitutional monarchy, and Bhutan’s significant strides toward becoming a consolidated democracy over the past decade are worth applauding. “However, despite these democratic advancements, over 50 individuals labeled as political prisoners are currently held in various prisons across Bhutan. While some family members of the political prisoners have resettled across eight Western nations, some are still residing in the impoverished refugee camps of Nepal — in hopes of reuniting with their dearest husbands, fathers, sons, brothers, uncles, and friends. It has become increasingly difficult for these families to live a happy life, no matter where and how they live,” the statement reads.
In the statement, GCRPPB has also requested to extend citizenship rights to the remaining 40,000 Nepali-speaking Bhutanese, currently residing stateless in Bhutan. “We request the government to provide appropriate opportunities to the Nepali-speaking Bhutanese resettled in Western countries who hold passports from those nations, enabling them to visit Bhutan for familial and socio-economic purposes. The government should work towards creating a friendly environment for national reconciliation with the exiled former-Bhutanese citizens,” it requested.