22nd Feb 2018

Civil Society Dialogue on the Future of Bhutanese Refugees

A dialogue program on the theme "The Future of Bhutanese Refugees" was organized on 26 June 2014 in Kathmandu by Refugee Watch Nepal (RefWAN) - a network of PPR Nepal, INHURED International and HURFON. The objective of the program was to seek for a viable solution for the Bhutanese refugee problem. More than 90,000 Bhutanese refugee population have already gone for third country resettlement to date, as a part of durable solution initiated by the international community in late 2007.

The dialogue was focused on the future of remaining population who haven't yet expressed their interest towards third country resettlement and other remaining population who are ineligible for the same due to multiple reasons. Panelists who represented different sectors of social life like, journalism, international relation, legal practice, refugee rights, academia and politics suggested different viable solutions for the problem. Reopening of diplomatic dialogue with Bhutan and concerned stakeholders, internationalization of Bhutanese refugee issue, regional initiative through South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and local assimilation through appropriate legal-political mechanism were some important among others.

The conclusion of the program was to think the problem from different perspectives and to take new initiative for appropriate solution in collaboration of all stakeholders, government of Nepal, civil society and international community who have been playing a key role on the issue.

Participants also raised various issues relating to the problem as well as provided comments and suggestion on the remarks made by the panelists. The program was chaired and moderated by Prof. Kapil Shrestha, coordinator of Refugee Watch Nepal. Dr. Bhekh Bahadur Thapa, Dr. Prakash Chandra Lohani, Dr. Gopal Krishna Siwakoti, Mr. Yubaraj Ghimire, Mr. Craig Sanders and Mr. Janak Pandey contributed as panelists.

The program was the initiative of Refugee Watch Nepal, a committee formed by representatives from civil society organizations and the eminent personalities working in the sector of human rights and refugee rights in Nepal. The program was a collaborative effort of civil society organizations and of its kind organized for the first time in Nepal.

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