• Nepal Links 2006

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 • Nepal Links 2006

Posted by anita at 2006-05-15 05:09 AM

These have been sitting in my folder for a couple of weeks now and I had thought I wanted to write something as an overview but have found that the situation is extremely complex and I don’t have time to do the research required in a timely manner.  Anyway, now that I’ve set myself straight that Nepal is a Hindu country and not Buddhist, I’ll put these links up in the hope they are also useful to someone else.  


Meeting Nepal’s Maoists



B. Raman  South Asia Analysis group Paper no. 446  18. 04. 2002  Nepal Maoists, India and China 



Communist Party of Nepal



Nepal's Maoist rebel leader Prachanda speaks exclusively to the BBC



Nepal Maoists end blockade Wednesday 26 April 2006



Nepal Maoists declare cease fire April 27 2006



Nepal Maoists inspire Philippine comrades April 29 2006



Re abduction after ceasefire April 29 2006



re impact on India



National Geographic story – Women and the revolution in Nepal



SARS virus



see this regime change

Torture, Arbitrary Detention and Self-Censorship 26 March 2002



Ethnic demography of Nepal



Human Rights Features (voice of the Asia-Pacific Human Rights Network) (A joint initiative of SAHRDC and HRDC) 





Nepal demograhics



the concept of race and ethnicity in Nepal



Glossary of Nepali terms



People and culture of Bhutan



Bhutan refugee crisis in Nepal


 • Re: Nepal links 2006

Posted by arthur at 2006-11-09 04:38 PM

 • Nepal links 2008

Posted by arthur at 2008-05-28 03:47 AM
I'm still not in a position to do much myself yet, but would just like to remind people here to actually read carefully the four page interview with Prachanda "Our revolution has won" posted more than 18 months ago and do some follow up research NOW.

Here's a few links to get you started from a page I started as soon as I had a moment to spare from my own current unavoidable preoccupations:

other interests - nepal

There are enough links there for anyone serious to understand why people here should be doing something about it now.

I  don't believe lastsuperpower is capable of doing much about anything.  But if anyone still posting here does want to help  establish some sort of  friendship/solidarity  association,  hold public discussions  about the  situation or take such  initiatives  as "Laptops for Nepal"  please say something  now  and then follow through.

Meanwhile  I have a LOT of catching up to do of reading  from the links provided - and so do you.

 • Re: Nepal/Bhutan/Bangladesh notes 2008

Posted by anita at 2008-06-06 07:10 AM

Will post some more links only when i've had a chance to proof them.  For now here are some links and paragraph pastes so that people can get the overview quickly.  Not sure what to make of the Susan Hangen thesis - think i oppose it - as she is arguing it is ok to use the race card as long as it is in the interests of challenging oppression.  Maybe i have misunderstood.   These ought to keep you going for a while!! 

Susan Hangen is the author of "Race and the Politics of Identity in Nepal" published in Ethnology 44(1):49–64 on which this commentary is based.

In Nepal, race was never used by the state to understand or classify citizens. This challenges many scholars' assumptions that race is always hegemonic. The Nepalis who identified themselves as a race were rejecting rather than replicating the dominant ways in which they had been classified. This challenges the assumption that marginalized groups are required to speak in the language of the powerful to gain recognition and change their position in society.

By using the term Mongol, the MNO transformed the people they sought to mobilize from fragmented and obscure ethnic groups into a united and globally recognized race.

Some reports suggest that the ISI of Pakistan with a view to make Nepal its hide out for exporting terrorism to India also financed some NGOs to bring demographic imbalance in Terai region by infiltration of Bangladeshi Muslims. The report said, "The official figures show that the strength of the Muslim community in Nepal has grown from 2% of the population in 1981 to 3.5 in 1991. Data compiled by the Nepalese Election Commission in connection with the recent general elections indicates that this figure could now have crossed 5% and more even be close to 10%. Steady migration of Bangladesh Muslims to the Terai considerably contributed to this increase". (India Today, June 12, 2000). Today there are 300 madrassas and 343 mosques within 10 k.m. of the boarder in Indian side while 181 madrassas and 282 mosques are in Nepal side. (Dastider). It is said that the Islamist world is quite liberal in financing the NGOs to the insidious growth of the Islamist fundamentalist net work in Nepal.

However, Bhutan has been facing its biggest political problems during his reign. Over 100,000 Bhutanese refugees are now living in the UNHCR administered refugee camps in Nepal since 1991. Bhutan has been facing its biggest security threat from the militants of India's north-east provinces, who have taken shelter in Bhutanese territories since a decade. These militants outlawed by the government of India are operating against the government of India and Indian army from their bases in Bhutan.

In 1979 His Majesty King Jime Singye Wangchuck married four sisters - Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck, Ashi Tshering Pem Wangchuck, Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuck and Ashi Sangay Choden Wangchuck as queens. An official  royal wedding and a public ceremony was held on 31 October 1988. They five princes and five princesses.  HRH Dasho Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck is the Crown Prince.


His Majesty King Jime Singye Wangchuck also carried forward the socio-economic progress of the country initiated by his father. Bhutan has made tremendous progress in the filed of communications, hydro-electric power development, education, health, financial sector, environmental protection, and industrial and infrastructural development during his reign. The per capita GDP stood at its highest of US$ 712.8 (Nu 32,006) in 2000.


I have emboldened those points most relevant in the timeline below.

Bhutan Time Line



747:      Guru Padma Sambhava, visits Bhutan and later founds Nyingmapa

1616:    Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, a monk arrives from Tibet, and
            establishes his rule in Bhutan. He establishes duel system of rule.

1625:    Shabdrung signed agreement with Nepal seeking migration of people

            from Nepal. Thus starts the first official migration of Nepal-speaking   

            people to Bhutan.

1629 :   First European (Portuguese) Jesuits-visit Bhutan.

1651:    Shabdrung Nawang Namgyal dies. During his rule he unifies Bhutan.     

            Drukpa   Krgyupa sub-sect emerges as    a dominant religious force.

1728:    Civil war for succession struggle to  power

1772:    British forces invade Bhutan.

1774:    Bhutan signs peace treaty with British India
1841 :    British take control of Bhutanese portion of Assam Duars and
      begin payment of annual compensation  to Bhutan.
1864:    Civil war waged in Bhutan.  British seek peace relationship with 
            both sides.
1864:     Duar War waged between Bhutan and British India.
1865:    Treaty of Sinchula signed between Bhutan and British India. Bhutan 
            Duars territories ceded to British India in return for annual subsidy.


1898:    Southern Bhutan, the habitat of Nepali-speaking citizens, was accorded  

            a special administrative status under the authority of  Kazi from Dorji  

            family. Southern Bhutan administered from Kalimpong, India.

1904:    Ugyen Wangchuck helps secure Anglo-Tibetan Convention on
            behalf of Britain.
1907:   Theocracy ends and hereditary monarchy established. Ugyen Wangchuck 
           becomes  the first king of Bhutan 
1910 :  China invades Tibet laying claims on Bhutan; Treaty of Punakha  signed 
           with British Raj giving them control over Bhutan's foreign relations. 
1926:   King Ugen wangchuck dies on Aug 21 and his son Jigme Wangchuck 
      succeeds him.
1947 :  India becomes independent from Britain

1949:   Treaty of Friendship signed with newly-independent India on Aug 08, with

           guarantee of non-interference in Bhutan's internal affairs, but allowing  

           Indian influence   over foreign relations.

1949:   National Assembly of Bhutan ( Tsogdu) established

1952:   Reformist King  Jigme Dorji Wangchuck enthroned; Bhutan State  

           Congress (BSC), a political party  formed under Nehru's patronage,  

           was formed and subsequently banned

1953:   National Assembly established

1954 :  BSC gives a call for (satyagraha) movement on March 22,1954. 

           Government forces  open fire. Some 25 people were killed and several   

           others injured.

1958:   National Law of Bhutan- Citizenship law enacted. The Laws granted

           citizenship to Bhutanese of Nepali origin. Other social reforms follow in

           subsequent years.

1959    Several thousand Tibetan refugees given asylum after Chinese annex  

           Tibet.  Immigration  banned.

1960:   The king bans Bhutan State    Congress (BSC).

1961:   First Five-Year Economic Development Plan introduced.

1962:   Sino-India war. Indian troops retreat through Bhutan

1964:   Prime Minister   Jigme Palden Dorji assassinated. . A failed coup staged 
           against King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk
1965:   Unsuccessful Assassination attempt on King  Jigme Dorji Wangchuck.
1968:   First cabinet established. King decrees that sovereign power resides in 
           himself and National Assembly.

1971    Bhutan joins the United Nations.

1972:   Fourth King Jigme Singye Wangchuck succeeds his father

1974:   Aborted assassination attempt on King Jigme Singe Wangchuk, 
           the present ruler, at his coronation. Chukha Hydro-electric Project Agree 
           signed with India. New monetary system established separate  from 
           India's and first Bhutanese currency notes released. Tourism introduced.
           New Pemagatshel district established. King visits India. King crowned  
       on June 02

1975:   Work on Chukha Hydro-electric Project begins. King visits India.

1976:   First Junior College opened in Sherubtse.  Motor Vehicle Act passed.

           4th Five Year Plan launched. King attends 5th Non-Aligned Summit in

           Colombo, Sri Lanka.

1977:   Bhutan declared Smallpox Free Zone. King visits India. New citizenship Act


1978:   Bhutan joins IFAD. Royal Bhutan Embassy established in New Delhi.     

           Partial Test Ban Treaty and Geneva Protocol of 1925 signed.  

           Land Act and Stamp Act passed. King visits India

1979:   UNDP Resident Representative Office in Bhutan opened..  The Alma

           Atta Declaration signed. King  attends 6th Non-Aligned Summit in 

           Havana, Cuba. BBS established and SW transmission introduced. 

          Consumer Price Index (CPI) constructed. Customs Act passed. Bhutan 

           joins Asian  Reinsurance Corporation 

1980:   Royal Bhutan Embassy established in Dhaka.  Marriage Act, Inheritance 

           Act, Livestock Act, Loan Act and Police Act passed.  Bhutan Chamber of

           Commerce and Industry established.  Trade Agreement signed with

           Bangladesh.  Penden Cement Authority Ltd. Commissioned.  Postal

           Parcel Agreement & Universal Postal Convention signed.  National

          Council  for Social and Cultural Promotion set up to strengthen national

          integration, later closed down. Bhutan Standard Time introduced ( + 6.00


1981:  5th Five Year Plan launched.  District Development Committees

          established.  Joined IMF, World Bank, IDA & FAO. Ratified Convention on

          the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

          International Convention against raking of Hostages signed. King visits


1982:  Bhutan Board of Examination established. Joined WHO, UNESCO,  Asian

          Development Bank, SEARO and SACEP.  Royal Civil Service Commission

         (RCSC) established. Prisoner's Act and Royal Monetary Act of Bhutan

          passed. Signed the Final Act and the Law of the Sea Conventions. King

          visits India

1983:  Diplomatic relations established with Nepal and Kuwait. Tax policy

          introduced. Druk Air Dornier flights started. King attends the 7th Non-

          Alignment Summit in New Delhi. Joined UNIDO, Asia-Pacific Postal Union  

          (APPU), South Asian Sports Federation and Olympic Council of Asia.

          Royal Monetary Authority 'established. Degree courses introduced at

          Sherubtse  College

1984:  Diplomatic relations established with Maldives. Joined World Fellowship of

          Buddhists  Indo-Bhutan Analog Microwave link established. King visits

          India. Bhutan, Child hold first border talk in Beijing.

1985King attends the 1st SAARC Summit in Dhaka.  State visit by the Indian

          Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi and  PLO Chairman, Yasser Arafat. Joined

          SAARC. ThePermanent Mission to the UN in Geneva established. Nuclear

          Non-Proliferation Treaty signed. Diplomatic relations established with

          Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands and Norway. Statutes of

          the Centre for Science and Technology of the NAM countries and   

          International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology signed.

          Joined UNCTAD Board and ICIMOD. New law on citizenship enacted. It

          superseded the earlier citizenship laws and declared invalid the

          citizenship  cards issued since 1982.

1986:  King attends 8th Non-Aligned Summit in Harare, Zimbabwe and  the 2nd

          SAARC Summit in Bangalore, India.  Royal Bhutan Embassy established

          in Kuwait Diplomatic relations established with Japan and Finland.  Land

          Acquisition Act passed . Royal Institute of Management established. Civil

          Aviation Department established. Special Commission for Cultural Affairs

          established. 6th Five Year Plan launched.

1987:  King attends the 3rd SAARC Summit in Kathmandu, Nepal.  Visit by Prince

          Naruhito of Japan.  6th Five Year Plan launchedDiplomatic relations

          established with South Korea and Sri Lanka.  Pasture Development Act

          passed.  Joined International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions

          (INTOSAI).  Druk Air BAe-146 jet services introduced.  Dzongkha

          Development Commission opened. New  Chukha District  established

1988:  Royal Wedding held in Punakha. King and the Indian President R.

          Venkatararnan inaugurate Chukha Power Project. King attends the 4th

          SAARC Summit in Islamabad, Pakistan.  State visit by Princess Galyani

          Vadhana of Thailand,  King and the Queen of Nepal and  President

          Muhammad Ershad of Bangladesh. Joined ITU and Association of

          Development Financing Institutions in Asia and the Pacific (ADFIAP).

          Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance Notification Act passed.  

          Census is  carried out. The census team unilaterally declares many

          Nepali-speaking citizens in southern Bhutan as non-citizens. The 

          government introduces  racial policies against Nepali-speaking citizens.

          Tek Nath Rizal, Royal  Councillor appeals to King against the high-

          handedness of census team.  He was arrested and later released.

          Underground Student Union of Bhutan was formed in Sherubtse college. 

          For details please visit Bhutanese Refugees website

1989:  Diplomatic relations established with Austria. Visit by UN Secretary

          General, Perez de Cuellar. King visits India. The government lifts Nepali 

          language from school curriculum. People Forum for Human Rights, 

          Bhutan formed. Man Bahadur Chhetri, a student human rights activist

          hanged by Police. Many Nepali-speaking citizens arrested. Tek Nath Rizal

          arrested. Government introduced Driglam Namzha and One nation One

          People Policy. King attends 9th Non-Aligned Summit in Belgrade,

          Yugoslavia.  Explosives Act, Company Act and the Royal Advisory Council

          Act passed.  Joined International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)

1990:  King visits Bahrain, Kuwait and India.  Bhutan Peoples Party formed. It

          organizes pro-democratic rallies in southern Bhutan, pressing for greater

          democracy and respect for Nepali rights,  after which, the government

          starts  forced eviction of Nepali-speaking citizens . Nepali-speaking

          citizens start coming to Nepal as refugees. The NOC introduced. All

          schools closed in southern Bhutan. The Home Minister Dago Tshering

          issued a forced eviction order against Nepali-speaking citizens. Mass

          forced eviction of  Nepali-speaking citizens commences.  For details

          please visit Bhutanese Refugees website. Prominent dissident leaders,

          Ronthong Kunley Dorji, Sonam Tshering and Chheku Drukpa arrested for

          their activities in Eastern Bhutan. King 5th SAARC Summit in Male,    

          Maldives. Diplomatic relations established with Pakistan. New Trade

          Agreement signed with India. Convention on the Rights of the Child

          signed. Universal Child Immunization achieved.  Fire Arms and

          Ammunition Act passed.  Joined Office International des Epizooties (OIE

          ). International Direct Dialling services introduced.  Earth Satellite station

          installed. Bhutan Peoples party formed on June 02.

1991:  Six top-raking bureaucrats resign and defect to Nepal. The UNHCR

          establishes camps for Bhutanese refugees in eastern Nepal.

          Computerization of land record started. King attends the 6th SAARC

          Summit in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Diplomatic relations established with

          Thailand. Visit by SAARC Chairman, President  Maumoon Abdul Gayoom

          of Maldives.  Enabling Act for Suppression of Terrorism and Extradition

          Act   passed.  Joined Asian Institute of Transport Development

1992   Tek Nath Rizal, Chairman of People Forum for Human Rights, Bhutan

          sentenced to life imprisonment. Joined INTELSAT.  Diplomatic relations

          established with Bahrain.  7th Five Year Plan launched. New districts of  

          Gasa and Trashi Yangtse  established. Visit by SAARC Chairman

          President Ranasinghe Premadasa of Sri Lanka. Financial Institutions Act

          and National Security Act passed. BNDP formed. Amnesty International,   

          London published first documented report on violation of human

          rights in Bhutan.

1993:  The Nepalese Home Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and his Bhutanese

          counterpart, Dago Tshring held the first meeting on refugees issue on

          July 15, 1993. On 13 September, first Bhutan-Nepal Joint Ministerial

          Committee  (JMLC) talk was held. Refugees categorized as, Bonafide

          Bhutanese; Bhutanese, who emigrated; non-Bhutanese and Bhutanese

          who have committed criminal acts. Royal Securities Exchange of Bhutan

          established. King visits India. King attends the 7th SAARC Summit in

          Dhaka. visit by Indian Prime Minister Narasimha Rao.  Sustainable

          Development Treaty signed with the Netherlands. Rape Act and Plant  

          Quarantine Act passed.. Airmail, DHL and express mail services

          introduced . tek Nath rizal sentenced to life on Nov. 16

1994:  The second,  third and fourth JMLC Talk held in Thimphu,  Kathmandu

          and Thimphu  on February 21-24, April 4-7 and June, 1994

          respectively.    Visit by SAARC Chairperson, Prime Minister Begum

          Khaleda  Zia of  Bangladesh and King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia  

          of Sweden.  Joined WIPO.  International Plant Protection Convention

          (IPPC) signed.   Kurichu   Power Project Agreement signed with

          India . Amnesty International,  London published second report on

          forcible exile of Bhutanese refugees.

1995:  Fifth and sixth JMLC talk  held in Kathmandu and Thimphu  on February

         27-March 1 and April 20, 1995. King attends the 8th SAARC Summit in

         New Delhi.  Mines and Minerals Act and Forest and Nature Conservation

         Acts passed.  UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and

         Convention on Biological Diversity signed.  Work on Kurichu Power Project

         started. Bhutanese Coalition for Democratic Movement (BCDM) formed.

1996:  Seventh JMLC Talk held at the Foreign Ministers' level in Kathmandu on

          April 4-8, 1996. King visits India. Visit by  Indian Foreign Minister, I.K.     

          Gujrat. Marriage Act and Loan Act amended, and Chathrim for National

          Wage Rate introduced.  Joined Asia Pacific Seed Association (APSA). Tala

          Hydro-electric Project Agreement and  Dungsum Cement Project

          Agreement  signed with India. Basochhu Power Project Agreement

          signed with Austria. Bhutan Postal Corporation Act Passed.. Companies

          Act passed. 10th Bhutan-China border talk held in Nov. in Beijing.

         European Parliament passes the first  resolution on  Bhutanese refugees.

1997:  Royal Bhutan Embassy established in Bangkok. King visits India. Bank of

          Bhutan management nationalized. Visit by Australian Deputy Prime

         Minister, Tim Fischer and Japanese Prince. King attends 9th SAARC

         Summit in Mate, Maldives. 8th Five Year Plan launched.  Road Safety and

         Transport Act passed.  Joined Asian Broadcasting Union (ABU).  

         Convention on Chemical Weapons signed. Stare Trading Corporation of

         Bhutan privatized.  Civil works on Basochhu and Tala Power Projects

         started. Signed Extradition Agreement with India. 11th Bhutan-China       

         border   talk held in Aug in Thimphu.

1998: Visit by Prince Charles of Wales and Chairman of SAARC, President

         Maumoon Abdul Gayoom of Maldives. . King visits India.  King cedes

         some powers to national assembly, giving up role as head of

         government .         Joined the Constitution of the Asia-Pacific

         Telecommunity (APT) and Asia- Pacific Network Information Centre .   

         Bhutan and China signed an Agreement to Maintain Peace and Tranquility

         on the Bhutan- China border in 1998. Bhutan and China signed an

         Agreement to Maintain Peace and  Tranquillity on the Bhutan-China Border in          1998.1th Bhutan-China border talk held in Dec. in Beijing. Amnesty 

         International,  London published third report Crackdown in Eastern Bhutan.

         Bhutan refused office building permission in New York for poor  human rights.

1999:  Cable television and internet services allowed. Eighth JMLC talk held in

          Kathmandu on September 13-16, 1999. Forty political prisoners,

          including  Tek Nath Rizal, granted amnesty and released. Municipal Act

          passed.  Jigmi Y. Thinley becomes the first Chairman of the Council of

          Ministers.13th Bhutan-China border talk held  in Thimphu.

2000:  First internet cafe opens in Thimphu;  Ninth and tenth rounds  of JMLC

          talk held on May 22-25 and December 25-28, 2000  in  Thimphu and  

          Kathmandu respectively.14th Bhutan-China border talk held in Nov. in

          Beijing. Amnesty      International,  London published fourth report-

          Right to Nationality of Bhutanese refugees. Seventh Round Table Meeting  

          (RTM) of development partners for Bhutan held in Thimphu. European

          Parliament passes the second resolution on  Bhutanese refugees.

2001:  Eleventh JMLC Talk held in Thimphu on August 20-23, 2001. JVT starts

          verification    of refugees started in Khudunabari camp on March 26 and

         completes on  Dec. 15. Bhutan's first Constitution drafting committee formed

          on    Nov. 30. 15th Bhutan-China border talk held in Nov. in Thimphu.

         International human rights organisations like Human Rights Watch and

         others send memo to Bhutan and Nepal governments on refugee issue. R.K.

         Budathoki, President of Bhutan Peoples Party murdered.

2002: Denmark closes its Liaison office in Bhutan in March. Crown Prince 

         addresses Un special session on children in New York in March . Ganga

         Adhikari a   Bhutanese refugee girl also submits memorandum  on the

         plight of   Bhutanese refugees to UN Secretary General, UN High

         Commissioner for   Refugees and UN Human rights High Commissioner 

        during the special  session on children.  Bhutan foreign Minister J.Y.

        Thinlay  visits Canada in May. 80th session of National Assembly begins

        on   June  25. Lyonpo Kinzang becomes new Head of Government on    

        August  14. Indian and Sri Lankan Foreign Minister's  visits in Aug. Bhutan

        established diplomatic relations with Australia on Sep 15 and Singapore on

        Sep 23. China, Bhutan Foreign Minister level 16 the  border talk held  in

        Beijing on Oct 12. Bhutan FM meets Chinese PM Oct 14. Canadian Gov. Gen.

        visits Bhutan on Dec 29. Amnesty      International,  London published fifth

        report on Bhutanese refugees. Visits of Nepal's opposition Communist leader,

        Indian foreign Minister Shinha and  Indian army chief S. Padmanabhan.

        Constitution Drafting Committee submits draft Constitution to Kinga and King

        to Prime Minister.

2003: Verified Bhutanese refugees of Khudunabari camp launch indefinite. hunger strike 0n Jan 07.

        Canada and Bhutan established diplomatic relations on June 25, 2003.

Profound changes were occurring in the religious system of Nepal. The early patronage of Buddhism by the kings gave way to a more strictly Hindu devotion, based on the worship of a variety of deities but ultimately relying on Pashupatinath, the site of one of Hinduism's most sacred Shiva shrines. Within the Buddhist community, the role of the monks and monasteries changed slowly but radically. Early Buddhism had rested on the celibacy and meditation of monks and nuns who had withdrawn from the world in their own living complexes (vihara). As a more ritualistic vajrayana Buddhism expanded, a division grew up between the "teachers of the thunderbolt" (vajracharya) and ordinary monks (bhikshu), leading to caste-like divisions and the marriage of religious teachers. The higher-ranking teachers monopolized the worship in the monasteries and controlled the revenues brought in from monastic estates. Monasteries became social and economic centers, serving as workshops and apartments as well as shrines. These roles were kept intact well into the twentieth century.

Bhutanese Refugee Crisis in Nepal

Many are probably completely unaware of a refugee crisis taking place in the eastern region of Nepal. Currently, some 96,000 refugees are accommodated and assisted in seven refugee camps in eastern Nepal with assistance from the UNHCR. An additional 15,000 refugees are scattered throughout Nepal, attempting to rebuild their shattered lives.

With one sixth of the population in exile, the tiny kingdom of Bhutan has the dubious distinction of being one of the world's highest per capita generator of refugees. The roots of the problem lie in the government's attempts to alter the kingdom's demography in favor of the ruling ethnic group. Since 1990, over 100,000 thousand southern Bhutanese of Nepalese ethnicity have been made refugees after being forcibly evicted, forced to flee persecution and repression, or expelled after being coerced into signing "voluntary" emigration forms. Ten years later, the refugees remain in camps in Nepal administered by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

The global apathy toward the issue of Bhutanese refugees in Nepal is appalling. India has stood by and done nothing even though they are a key player in the situation as they allowed the refugees transit across India en route to Nepal.

Setting the Stage

Bhutan is a country ruled by a hereditary monarch, His Majesty King Jigme Singye Wangchuck. The King is both the Head of State and Head of  Government although since 1998 much of the powers have been transferred to a Council of Ministers. The population of Bhutan is a subject of much speculation since the exact figures have never been divulged by the government. While government estimates have gone as high as 1.4 million, the King once divulged that the number was actually closer to 600,000. Taking this figure as more likely, the total population at the end of 2000AD is around 750,000.

The reason behind this secrecy is highly political. Bhutan is inhabitated by three main ethnic groups. Western Bhutan, the centre of power,  is inhabited by Ngalongs of Tibetan origin (15-20%). Eastern Bhutanese, the Sharchops, are of Indo-Mongoloid or Tibeto-Burman  (40-45%). Both these groups share a common religion (Buddhism) and Tibetan-derived culture. The third group are ethnic Nepalese who are mainly Hindus, and comprise immigrants of more recent origin (late 19th century onwards) who were granted citizenship in 1958. They make up between 40 and 50% of the population. Ethnic Nepalese have lived in the southern part of the country for centuries, and the early phases of economic development at the turn of the century brought a large influx of additional ethnic Nepalese. As part of larger migration patterns, many families have, for generations, lived within Bhutan and considered themselves proud Bhutanese while keeping their Nepali tongue and Hindu rituals intact as evidence of their ethnicity.

The roots of the crisis in southern Bhutan lie in the leadership's concern over the growing southern Bhutanese population, both as a percentage and in terms of real numbers. Perceiving a threat of being swamped by ethnic Nepalis, a policy with an eventual goal of balancing the demographic pattern was initiated in the mid-1980s; the idea was to set right a historical error of judgement - the grant of nationality in 1958  to ethnic Nepalese settled in the south.The grant of citizenship in 1958 was by royal decree. The new citizens were not granted papers nor was there any major changes in the lives of the people then. Bhutan was still a medieval kingdom in 1958 - there were no motorable roads, no electricity, no hospitals or other government public facilities and just 5 primary schools in the entire kingdom. There was no individual certification of grant of nationality because neither the government nor people considered it necessary  at the time.


In 1985, the government enacted a new Citizenship Actand began a census of inclusion and not exclusion - each person was expected to prove he/she was domiciled in Bhutan in 1958 to qualify as a Bhutanese by registration according to the 1985 Citizenship Act. The government started with a fresh slate; the onus was on the individual to prove his or her credentials. Officials demanded tax receipts for exactly the year 1958, not even ones issued earlier would do ostensibly because a person may have left the country before 1958 and returned only after the cut-off year. In many cases, persons were unable to produce the documentation necessary, such as land tax receipts from 1958, to show residency nearly 30 years before.

In conjunction, the government began aggressive efforts to assert a national culture, to tighten control over southern regions, to control illegal immigration, to expel ethnic Nepalese, and to promote national integration. Beginning in 1989, more discriminatory measures were introduced, aimed at shaping a new national identity, known as Drukpa.Drukpa is based on the customs of the minority Ngalong ethnic group. Measures included a national dress for official occasions and school uniform, the teaching of Dzongkha as a second language in all schools, and an end to instruction in Nepali as a second language (English is the medium of instruction in all schools). 

During this period, citizenship became a highly contentious issue. Requirements for citizenship first were formalized in the Citizenship Law of 1958, which granted citizenship to all adults who owned land and had lived in the country for at least 10 years.  However, in 1985 the new citizenship law significantly tightened requirements for citizenship and resulted in the denaturalization of many ethnic Nepalese.  The Marriage Act of 1977 had prescribed that only children born of Bhutanese fathers, not either spouse as before, would be considered citizens. The 1985 Citizenship Act tightened this requirement further and required both parents to be Bhutanese for citizenship by birth. Applied retrospectively and in tandem with the 1958 tax receipt stipulation, the government could declare tens of thousands of legal southern Bhutanese as non-nationals. A person born in Bhutan in 1959 suddenly became an illegal resident during the 1988 census when either parent could not prove his/her presence in the country in 1958, the cut-off year. Thus began the woes of southern Bhutanese.


Attempts by southern Bhutanese to persuade the government to review the census implementation were unsuccessful. The government even deemed such attempts acts of sedition. Youth in schools, colleges and villages became agitated and began to express dissent. This gave the government an excuse to become more aggressive and overtly discriminatory. The 'One Nation, One People' policy was adopted. A green-belt plan was unveiled that threatened to make a third of all southern Bhutanese homeless. When the people reacted by rising up in mass protests all over southern Bhutan, the government began a massive crackdown. Thousands were arrested and among them hundreds detained for years without trial.

The 1985 Citizenship Act also provides for the revocation of the citizenship of any naturalized citizen who "has shown by act or speech to be disloyal in any manner whatsoever to the King, country, and people of Bhutan." In even more draconian measures, the government declared that anyone who had left Bhutan to assist friends and family in their exodus would also be revoked of citizenship and "...such people's family members living in the same household will also be held fully responsible and forfeit their citizenship." 

Outraged by what they saw as a campaign of repression, ethnic Nepalese mounted a series of demonstrations, sometimes violent, in September 1990.  The protests were spearheaded by the newly formed Bhutan People's Party, which demanded full citizenship rights for ethnic Nepalese, the reintroduction of Nepali as a medium of education in the south, and democratic reforms. Characterizing the BPP as a "terrorist" movement, the authorities cracked down on its activities and ordered the closure of local Nepalese schools, clinics, and development programs.  Many ethnic Nepalese schools reportedly were turned into Army barracks.  There were credible reports that many ethnic Nepalese activists were beaten and tortured while in custody, and that security forces committed acts of rape.  There also were credible reports that militants, including BPP members, attacked and killed census officers and other officials, and engaged in bombings.  Local officials took advantage of the climate of repression to coerce ethnic Nepalese to sell their land below its fair value and to emigrate.


Starting from a small group of dissidents who escaped the crackdown launched by the authorities, the refugee community grew as security forces plundered and terrorised villagers in the south following the protest demonstrations of September-October 1990. But the exodus peaked during in the first half of 1992 when the government initiated a campaign of systematic expulsion by forcing people to sign "voluntary" emigration forms before deporting them. The flood of refugees eventually stopped, but not before a hundred thousand had been forced to leave Bhutan. Just as people had suddenly mysteriously "volunteered" to leave in droves, there were no more "emigrants " - the government had met its target of reducing its southern population by a third.

According to Amnesty International, entire villages sometimes were evicted en masse in retaliation for an attack on a local government official, forcibly signing "voluntary migration forms" as they left under threat of torture and imprisonment.  By August 1991, according to NGO reports, 2,500 refugees already were camped illegally in Nepal, with a steady stream still coming from Bhutan.  The UNHCR began providing food and shelter in September of that year, and by year's end, there were 6,000 refugees in Nepal.  The number swelled to approximately 80,000 by June 1993, when the UNHCR began individual screening of refugees.  The flow slowed considerably thereafter; there were no new refugee arrivals from Bhutan to the camps during the year.  According to UNHCR, there were 98,269 ethnic Nepalese refugees in 7 refugee camps in eastern Nepal, as of June 30.  Much of this increase since 1993 is the result of births to residents of the camps.  An additional 15,000 refugees, according to UNHCR estimates, are living outside the camps in Nepal and India.

The Government maintains that many of those who departed the country in 1991-92 were Nepalese or Indian citizens who came to the country after the enactment of the 1958 Citizenship law but were not detected until a census in 1988.  The Government also claims that many persons registered in the camps as refugees may never have resided in the country. According to the UNHCR, the overwhelming majority of refugees who have entered the camps since screening began in June 1993 have documentary proof of Bhutanese nationality. The Government also contends that many ethnic Nepalese left the country voluntarily, thus renouncing their Bhutanese citizenship. However, human rights organizations credibly dispute this claim.


A Nepal-Bhutan ministerial committee has met ten times since 1994 in efforts to resolve the Bhutanese refugee problem. Bhutan has continually stalled the proceeding claiming Nepal's political uncertainty. Finally, in late December 2000, with pressure mounting from the international community and significantly, the United States and under threat of aid denial, Bhutan finally agreed with Nepal to a system to verify the nationality of Bhutanese refugees in Nepal in preparation for their for return to Bhutan.  refugee verifications began in March 2001. However, the Bhutanese government efforts to resettle persons onto the land once occupied by refugees continues to represent an obstacle to a negotiated resolution of the refugee problem.

Family members of refugees who are still residing in Bhutan are routinely discriminated against. A resolution adopted by the National Assembly in July 1997 prohibits these still-resident family members of ethnic Nepalese refugees from holding jobs with the Government or in the armed forces.  Under the resolution, those holding such jobs were to be retired involuntarily. The Government states that 429 civil servants, many of them ethnic Nepalese, were retired compulsorily in accordance with the July 1997 National Assembly resolution, and that the program was terminated in November. The Government also began a program of resettling Buddhist Bhutanese from other regions of the country on land in the southern part of the country vacated by the ethnic Nepalese now living in refugee camps in Nepal.  Human rights groups maintain that this action prejudices any eventual outcome of negotiations over the return of the refugees to the country. In many cases, Buddhist Bhutanese are reluctant to resettle the land, fearing the eventual return of the rightful owners, and are often coerced and even forced to move against their wishes.

Hopes Dashed

The verification process of Bhutanese refugees started at 9.30 AM ( Nepal Time) on March 26, 2001 by a specially formed Joint Verification Team, made of up Nepali and Bhutanese officials. The verification was to proceed at a rate of ten families a day. It was disclosed that only Bhutanese team interviewed the refugees. Many are outraged at the pace of verification and demand that more JVT teams be formed. Many believe the Bhutanese government to not be proceeding in good faith, instead using a delaying tactic with the hopes that as the years pass, eventual repatriation will grow more difficult. At the current rate of ten families a day, the verification process will take over seven years to complete. And there is the in the selection of Dr. Sonam Tenzing, Director of Bhutanese Home Ministry as the Bhutanese head of JVT interviewing the very refugees he was responsible for forceful eviction while he was the District head of Sarbhang district in Southern Bhutan.

Sources: Amnesty International, UNHCR & the Bhootan Organization

The recent report indicates a grave situation particularly in Dalit, Janjati and Muslim ethnic community; about 37% of Dalits, and 32% of Janjati households do not own agricultural land while 41% of Muslims are landless. About 79% of Mushar, a Dalit community, do not own land; they have the lowest literacy rate of 7.3%.

Nepalling: Nepal, Prachanda, Lenin, Miaow

from: slackbastard - @ndy
Monday, 19th May, 2008 12:12:19
Nepalling: Nepal, Prachanda, Lenin, Miaow Crack Pot Kin, May 2, 2008: So how is Anarchy doing these days which revolution are you lot leading in the world, mus ... e salaries must be compared with the Nepali average wage of just $200 a year[102/Eur129]; Nepal is the poorest country in Asia. Around 10% of the population takes 50% of the wealth, the bottom 40% takes 10%. 85% of Nepalese people don t have access ... a handful of brave if aging souls on lastsuperpower.net.For a Maoist perspective on events in Nepal, see Revolution in South Asia: An Internationalist Info Project.On a completely fucking bizarro note, see the Maoist Internationalist Movement and its dec

Then why does Nepal stick to the bilateral process? http://www.bhutannewsonline.com/internationalization.html

UNHCR ostensibly decided to phase out its involvement in the refugee camps by the end of 2005, firstly, because it accepts the fact that there is no hope of refugees returning home through the clumsy bilateral process, and secondly, AFPC agreement of May 2003 has provisions for local integration. Thirdly, Nepal and Bhutan have deliberately excluded UNHCR from the verification, repatriation and rehabilitation process. It is natural for any UN agency to withdraw itself from a process in which the concerned governments do not value its expertise or involvement.

Bhutan refugees take up arms - 16-year-old girl leads armed struggle in east Nepal


2008 Repatriations


"Many of the Brahmins, rather than abandon their religion or their country, poisoned themselves; some emigrated from their native homes, while a few escaped the evil of banishment by becoming Mohammedans. After the emigration of the Brahmins, Sikandar ordered all the temples in Kashmeer to be thrown down. Having broken all the images in Kashmir, (Sikandar) acquired the title of 'Destroyer of Idols'."[8]

16 December 1971 (from West Pakistan); note - 26 March 1971 is the date of independence from West Pakistan, 16 December 1971 is known as Victory Day and
 commemorates the official creation of the state of Bangladesh

Bangladesh Lonely planet


there is much here/ history and demographics etc



A list of Nepalese businesses and Social Associations etc.



NAFA (Nepalese Australian Friendship Association)  Queensland Branch home page - Donate Children's programs.  "NAFA aims to improve the physical, social, emotional and economic well being of people in Nepal through small development projects and to promote friendship between the people of Australia and Nepal"

Tilganga Eye Clinics

Engineers without borders

Hindu extremists


Bhutanese refugees human rights reports

Bhutan 2003


More Kashmir

Shah, 54, who heads the pro-independence Democratic Freedom Party, is dubbed the "Nelson Mandela" of Kashmir after spending more than 20 years in Indian jails.

"The world community, the European Union in particular, should play a Kosovo-like role in getting the dispute resolved" in Kashmir, added Yasin Malik, chairman of pro-Independence Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front.

Both Malik and Shah want India and Pakistan to withdraw from Kashmir to pave the way for its independence.

Shah, 54, who heads the pro-independence Democratic Freedom Party, is dubbed the "Nelson Mandela" of Kashmir after spending more than 20 years in Indian jails.

"The world community, the European Union in particular, should play a Kosovo-like role in getting the dispute resolved" in Kashmir, added Yasin Malik, chairman of pro-Independence Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front.

Both Malik and Shah want India and Pakistan to withdraw from Kashmir to pave the way for its independence.


Madheshi movement analysis