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The Bhutani government continues to drive away Nepali-speaking Lhotsampas (southerners) while it is engaged in finalising procedures for the repatriation of its citizens who have been languishing in Nepali refugee camps for more than a decade. A refugee leader living in a Jhapa camp reported that in the last month alone eight Lhotsampa families were forced to leave their homes in the Sarbhang district of Bhutan. Among them were the widow and children of Harka Bahadur Sapkota who was tortured to death in army custody ten years ago. Chief of Sarbhang district, Sonam Dawa, himself handed over a government notice ordering the Sapkotas to immediately vacate their land. Seven other families from the same locality were served with similar notices. Dhan Maya Rai and her five daughters were forced to vacate their home on 8 June for a Drukpa family. They were forced to take shelter in a neighbour's cowshed.

Refugee leaders in Nepal have expressed doubts about the Bhutani government protecting the rights of those who have been allowed to return home. Pratap Subba, secretary of the Sanischare Refugee Camp in Morang, said under the present circumstances there was a possibility of intensified suppression of refugees from the Bhutani government when they return home.


LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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