Bhutanese refugees leaving Nepal passes 40-thousand

This story from the Washington Post sums up the situation, if you aren’t familiar with it. It’s, as these things typically are, complicated:

AP photo Binod Joshi

KATMANDU, Nepal — A campaign to resettle ethnic Nepalese forced out of Bhutan two decades ago has found homes for 40,000 refugees in Western countries, although tens of thousands continue to wait, an official said Monday.

More than 100,000 ethnic Nepalese – a Hindu minority in Bhutan for centuries – were forced out of Bhutan in the early 1990s by authorities who wanted to impose the country’s dominant Buddhist culture. They have lived as refugees in Nepal ever since.

The United Nations – with the help of the United States and other countries – set up the resettlement program in July 2007. More than 60,000 refugees originally signed up, while the rest said they preferred to wait in camps or try to return to Bhutan. The first refugees began leaving Nepal in November 2007 and they have resettled in the U.S., Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands.


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