I will discuss Bhutan refugee issue with India: US Under Secr

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Kathmandu, Nov 3 (UNI) The US Under Secretary of Refugees, Population and Migration Ellen Sourbrey has sought Indian cooperation in solving the Bhutanese refugee problem.

''I will also call on India for cooperation in this regard as India has influence over Bhutan.'' said the Under Secretary.

She informed that 15,000 Bhutanese refugees living in Nepal will be landing in the US by next year.

Addressing the refugees languishing in various UN sponsored camps in eastern Nepal, she said ''no one would lead a life of refugee upon arrival in the US.'' She called on Bhutanese refugees to take advantage of the US resettlement proposal.

''We have offered you an opportunity and is up to you to accept it or not and the process of resettlement might go on for a long time,'' added Ms Sourbrey.

The US is in favour of refugees' repatriation. It is every refugee wish all over the world to return to his home, but the US came in with the resettlement offer as the issue was tangled for a long time, she is quoted as saying in the English langauge daily newspaper.

Representative of the UN High Commission for Refugees in Nepal, Abraham Abraham, said ''we also respect refugees' wish and right to choose the opportunity.'' More than 100,000 Bhutanese refugees of Nepalese origin have been languishing in eastern Nepal for over 15 years when they were forced out to leave the country.

Nepal and Bhutan have held series of talks to resolve the problem, however, Bhutan has refused to take back the refugees.

Nepalese civil society and human rights organisations want the involvement of India to resovle the issue, however, India has been saying that this is a bilateral issue between Nepal and Bhutan and should be resolved amicably.


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