January 10, 2012
Now, the Bhutan refugees, in thousands of numbers, resettled in many countries, including Canada, Nepal, America etc…, are belligerently subjected to religious conversion by various Christian groups in addition to their pathetic life sans basic rights
by Dipin Damodharan
In today’s world, the definition of human rights has a scrupulous distorted character-here rights are confined to some sects or religions.
When Kashmiri Pandits had been wiped out by the terrorists tutored by Pakistan in the early 1990s, there were no rights activists to condemn it. When the Kashmiri Pandits women were brutally raped and mercilessly killed by the Islamic fanatics, there were no rights advocates to heave voice for them…The same is in the case with Bhutan refugees also.
The story has been hidden in the shades of history for so many years and the hapless population, – including Lhotshampas, Buddhists, Hindus etc-haven’t got help from any corner or they have no one to bank on for assistance except a few organizations.
Now, the Bhutan refugees, in thousands of numbers, resettled in many countries, including Canada, Nepal, America etc…, are belligerently subjected to religious conversion by various Christian groups in addition to their pathetic life sans basic rights. .
The Bhutanese refugees living in many countries are feared of losing their own beliefs and rituals in alien lands. They are confused, whether to live or die in this world which they think preserved for someone.
“In Canada, there are around 3000 Bhutan refugees, but many of them are forcibly converted to Christianity by certain groups within weeks of their arrival,” a social activist based in Canada tells Views Post. He also adds that many Indian groups are trying their best to give them confidence.
To dig out this tragic story of Bhutan refugees, we have to go back to the political psyche of Bhutan. The country, which is situated in the midst of rising powers India and China, has a culture rooted in Buddhism.
The nation has now generated one of the highest numbers of refugees in the world in proportion to its population. The progressive world may not digest the fact that over one sixth of Bhutan’s people have sought asylum in different countries including Nepal and India, following the planned expulsion by the inhuman Bhutanese regime.
The Lhotshampas people are supposed to be the biggest victims of this expulsion. The people of Nepali origin who began to settle in the south of the country in the late 19th century are called the Lhotshampa.
But for the Bhutanese regime, that Nepali race became a threat in the 1980s and they were branded as anti-nationals. When suddenly a population had become the enemy of the state, obviously the state dealt it with iron hands.
Organizations like Amnesty International states that several thousands of Southern Bhutanese were imprisoned, and more than 2000 tortured, following the government’s action. Nepali language was eliminated from the school curriculum. As a result of this, thousands had fled to India and Nepal.
According to some reports the flow of refugees into Nepal was up to 600 per day in 1992. Around one lakh people were sheltering in United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR)-administered camps in Nepal’s two south-eastern districts by the end of 1992.
“A resettlement process happened in 2008, which has seen thousands of Bhutanese refugees from the camps in Nepal being resettled to USA, Canada, Australia, Denmark, New Zealand, the Netherlands and Norway, “ says a Canadian activist who fights for Bhutanese refugees.
Figures published in December 2009 revealed that 22,060 refugees have been resettled in the US, 1006 in Australia, 892 in Canada, 316 in Norway, 305 in Denmark, 299 in New Zealand and 122 in the Netherlands.
According to the rights activist, the number of refugees in Canada is around 3000. He also blames that the independent Christian organisations are trying to convert these people to Christianity. He also tells that the same thing happens to the refugees resettled in other countries.
The Bhutanese refugees wish to come to their country, but the Bhutan government never ready to accept them. The activists fighting for them have called for the intervention of Indian government in the issue on the belief that India can pressure Bhutan.
They have submitted a memorandum to Indian MP Tarun Vijay and also requested him to present the issue in Indian Parliament.