The world must not forget Bhutanese refugees

Bhutanese refugees are among the hardest-hit refugees in China. The desperate situation facing around 100,000 Bhutanese refugees in Nepal was highlighted by the head of the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) on World Refugee Day yesterday.

Rome-based JRS International director, Lluis Magrina SJ, told AsiaNews: "The plight of the Bhutanese refugees in Nepal must be emphasised. Their situation is deteriorating as they realise they have no future. They see there is nothing for them and they are falling into despair."

Around 130,000 refugees of Nepalese origin from Bhutan have lived in seven camps in eastern Nepal for 13 years now. They fled or were expelled from the country in the eighties following a wave of repression and both Nepalese and international attempts to have them repatriated have so far led to nothing.

JRS works in the camps for Bhutanese refugees, running education services on behalf of Caritas and UNHCR. Another essential task of JRS workers is simply to be with the refugees as they experience growing demoralisation. "The important thing for the church is to keep accompanying refugees, so they will know someone cares for them," said Fr Magrina. "Refugees feel absolutely without an identity so having a friend means much to them, because it signifies a link to the outside world, with someone who cares."

Jesuit Refugee Service: The world must not forget Bhutanese refugees

LINKS (not necessarily endorced by Church Resources)
Jesuit Refugee Service
Mercy Refugee Service
Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office
United Nations |UN High Commissioner for Refugees | World Refugee Day

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21 Jun 2005