Bhutanese Refugee in Nepal

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Bhutanese Refugee in Nepal

M.Sc. Part - 2 Examination Paper - 9 and 10

Human Rights Department University of Calcutta
Name: Rupak Ghosh Roll __91/HRT___ No.___050011___ Registration Number: 011543 of 2000 - 2001

It would not have been possible for me to carry out out this study without the encouragement and assistance of my friends. I owe a large measure of gratitude to the people of the refugee community. I am thankful to the Mr. D.P. Kafley and other Bhutanese Refugee leaders for their warm hospitality and assistance. I am extremely grateful to Prof. B Choudhury, Prof Isita Mukherjee and Prof. Manik Chakrabarty for their kind support and guidance. Rupak Ghosh


Bhutan is a tiny mountain kingdom perched in the eastern Himalayas with an area of approximately 47,000 sq. km. Landlocked; the country is bordered by the Tibet autonomous region of China to the north and by India to the south, east and west. The Drukpas, or Ngalongs of Tibetan Mongoloid origin, inhabit the northwest part of the country. they form about 16–20% of the population and speak Dzongkha, an offshoot of Tibetan. Sharchhokps of Indo-Burmese stocks predominate in the eastern region and constitute about 30– 35% of the population and speak Sharchhopkha. Nepali speaking people of Indo-Aryan origin lives in southern Bhutan and form about 40 – 45% of the population. Bhutan is ruled under an absolute and hereditary monarchy established, with British involvement in 1907. The king is both head of state and head of government. There is no written constitution or bill of rights. The popular demand for political reform, human rights and democracy to replace the current absolute monarchy began after the withdrawal of right to nationality from a large section of the southern population by implementing the Citizenship act of 1985 through a national census in 1988. People’s resentment and anger finally exploded in the form of peaceful protests and rallies between September and October 1990. The crackdown on the pro-democracy supporters by police and army began. The crackdown involved arbitrary arrest and detention, torture, extra-judicial killings, rape, plunder, confiscation of lands, properties and citizenship documents, demolition of houses and forced evictions. The exodus to Nepal began in early 1991 after the government of India failed to provide needed humanitarian relief to the Bhutanese refugees seeking asylum in India. More than 100,000 Bhutanese refugees have been created. This is one sixth of the total population of Bhutan who have been stripped of their citizenship, exiled, and rendered stateless. Still they are living as Refugees. It is one of the longest refugee crises in the world. However no one is concerned about them really. India is not bothering about their problem and supporting the absolute monarchy. My aim of study is to uncover their plight and misery through academic study.


Refugee: A refugee is a person seeking asylum in a foreign country in order to escape persecution. Some regional legal instruments further include those seeking to escape generalized violence in the definition of a refugee. Those who seek refugee status are sometimes known as asylum seekers and the practice of accepting such refugees is that of offering political asylum. The most common asylum claims to industrialized countries are based upon political and religious grounds. Under the 1951 United Nations (UN) Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and 1967 Protocol, a signatory nation must grant asylum to refugees and cannot forcibly return refugees to their nations of origin. However, many nations routinely ignore this treaty. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is dedicated to protecting the rights and wellbeing of refugees. As of 31 December 2004, the agency reported a total of 9,236,500 official refugees (excluding an additional 4 million Palestinian refugees)....
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