In a press conference held in Birtamod on Sunday, Balaram Poudyal, the Chairperson of Bhutan Peoples’ Party, made an appeal to Bhutanese King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, urging him to bring back Bhutanese refugees by adopting a policy of national reconciliation.
Poudyal himself has been living as a refugee in Birtamod, Jhapa, after being exiled from Bhutan in 1990. On July 30, he sent a letter to the Bhutanese King, advocating for the return of the Bhutanese refugees.
Poudyal highlighted that there are currently over 200 political prisoners held in various prisons across Bhutan, including in Paro, Chamgang, Rabuna, Mongar, and Samdrup Jongkhar. He pleaded with the Bhutanese King to unconditionally release these prisoners who have been subjected to harsh conditions for advocating for human rights and democracy.
Around three decades ago, over 150,000 Bhutanese were unjustly evicted from Bhutan for standing up for their language, culture, and democratic rights. Poudel and others are now appealing to the current Bhutanese King to embrace the national reconciliation policy and allow all prisoners to be released without conditions.
Poudyal brought to the King’s attention that about 20% of the Bhutanese refugees deported from the southern part of Bhutan have been resettled in third countries, but around 7,000 refugees continue to face difficulties in refugee camps in Jhapa and Morang districts of Nepal.
He also requested the government of Nepal to facilitate the return of Bhutanese refugees through dialogue with Bhutanese refugee representatives. Additionally, he appealed to the Nepalese government to renew the identity cards of Bhutanese refugees in Nepal and ensure that missing individuals are properly registered.
With inputs from RSS