Among third countries that have resettled Bhutanese refugees, the USA has resettled more than 38000 refugees from the camps in Jhapa and Morang. Some of the resettled refugees in the USA have committed suicide. How are refugees in the country? Will Bhutan take back its citizens in future? Our correspondent Uma Kanta Khanal talked to US Ambassador to Nepal, Scott H. DeLisi.
How many Bhutanese refugees have been resettled in your country?
More than 38000 Bhutanese refugees from the camps of Jhapa and Morang have been resettled in the USA.
How is the condition of resettled refugees?
They are doing good job. But the resettled process is quite tough. It is very much problematic to be settled in the new place. It is a challenge for the refugees to get introduced in the new culture, new society and new language. When I talk with refugees about their problems they talk about the same. On the whole, they are doing well. The refugees who were resettled two years ago have come to the camps to meet their family members and they have told everything to their relatives about the life in America.
What jobs do they do there?
I don't in detail about their work in the USA. But what they are doing it's for them only. My grandfather had also been resettled in the USA. Now I have become an ambassador. So, many opportunities are there in America for the refugees.
There have been cases of suicide by resettled refugees, have you looked into the issues that plague them once they are resettled in the U.S?
Yes, there are some cases of suicide in the refugee community. We are concerned about this matter. But, overall the number is very small. The American government is much conscious about this matter. We are expanding the programmes in the camps so that the refugees will not have to face any problems after they get resettled in the USA. We are expanding many programmes through UNHCR and IOM by which the refugees feel comfortable after their resettlement in the USA.
What about those who do not meet the criteria for resettlement?
I think 99 percent of the refugees will meet the criteria for the resettlement. But the refugees those who are not registered will not be eligible for the resettlement. But this number will be least.
Families of refugees have been separated due to different categories in the resettlement process, why it isn't possible to resettle them in the same country?
Some cases have happened that some refugee families have been separated by the resettlement process. We have been trying not to separate the immediate family members. One problem is that some family members will meet the criteria very soon and some later. When they complete resettlement process in different timelines, the refugees have this kind of problem.
How many refugees will be resettled in the USA in total?
We do not have declared the number. As long as the refugees need the resettlement programme, this process will be continued. Until they intend to be resettled in the third countries, we will continue accepting the refugees.
Do you think Bhutan will take its citizens back those who do not want to be resettled in the third countries?
Bhutan should take back its citizens. But the government of Nepal should be active to engage the government of Bhutan in this issue. There should be strong and decisive talk between Nepal and Bhutan regarding this issue. We will keep pressurizing both the countries.