Today, the exiled Bhutan People’s Party (BPP) appealed to the Bhutanese government to allow the 50,000 refugees to return home after 20 years of exile.
BPP chief Balram Poudel said the government should start talks on the matter not only with Nepal but also with India, Bhutan’s main economic partner, and consult representatives of the exiled community.
Between 1977 and 1991, Bhutan expelled more than 80,000 Bhutanese of Nepali origin during a Bhutanisation campaign launched by King Singye Wangchuck. The goal was to create a nation free from foreign influences.
Despite recent moves towards democracy, the Bhutanese government continues to reject repatriation of the refugees, forcing the international community to move them to third countries.
In 2010, about 30,000 refugees began a new life in Australia, the United States and Canada. However, some 50,000 are still in Nepal, stuck in camps without the possibility of employment and few hopes for the future.
For 15 times, Bhutan has rejected requests from the Nepali government to start talks on repatriation, claiming that terrorists are hiding among the refugees, dismissing appeals and open letters signed by human rights activists and associations.