UNHCR says over 20,000 Bhutanese refugees resettled abroad

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Kathmandu, Sep.8 (ANI): UN refugee agency UNHCR and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) on Tuesday announced that over 20,000 Bhutanese refugees have left camps in Nepal for resettlement countries since the beginning of the programme in November 2007.

The United States has accepted the largest number of refugees - 17,612, many of whom have resettled in Texas, New York, Georgia, Arizona, Pennsylvania, and California, a statement read.

It said that Australia has accomodated 846, Canada 674, Norway 299, New Zealand 294, Denmark 172, and the Netherlands 122.

"We are grateful to the resettlement countries for generously giving a chance to the refugees to start their lives afresh in a new country," Nepal News quoted Diane Goodman, UNHCR Acting Representative in Nepal, as saying.

"We are equally thankful to the Government of Nepal who has generously hosted the refugees for so many years, and without whose support this programme would not be successful," Goodman added.

UNHCR continues to ensure that refugees are able to make free and informed decisions regarding solutions. The IOM works with UNHCR and the resettlement countries to facilitate refugee departures from Nepal. IOM activities include the processing of cases for resettlement countries, notably the USA, as well as medical screening, cultural orientation and travel arrangements.

The statement further said that more than 78,000 refugees have already expressed their interest for resettlement. (ANI)

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