The government is considering allowing Bhutani refugees to settle in any third country, a facility already granted to Tibetan refugees. Discussion has begun at the Foreign Ministry regarding the process because of Bhutan's recalcitrance in repatriating its citizens. "Since Bhutan's policy seems to be dillydallying, we have no option," says Madhuraman Acharya, Foreign secretary. It has been more than a year since the Bhutani members of the Nepal-Bhutan joint verification team left Khudunabari camp, one of the seven Bhutani refugee camps in eastern Nepal. During the 15th round of joint ministerial level talks between Nepal and Bhutan, it was decided that Thimpu would take back all refugees except those of the non-Bhutani category. The other three categories are Bonafide Bhutanis, Bhutanis who have emigrated, and Bhutanis with criminal records. These three categories comprise 74 percent of the more than 100,000 Bhutani refugees in Nepal.
Despite the agreement, Bhutan has again cited the security situation in the camp as the main hurdle for the repatriation process. But Foreign Ministry officials believe that is a lame excuse. Having seen that Bhutan is unwilling to resolve the humanitarian crisis, the government is considering allowing the refugees to settle in any third country they wish.