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Nepal - UNHCR/WFP Joint Assessment Mission: Assistance to the Refugees from Bhutan, July 2014
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The JAM was conducted from June 25 to June 27 2014. It used same methodology as 2012 JAM and consisted in primary data collection and secondary data review. UNHCR and WFP prepared comprehensive information package including key reference documents; secondary data; and other relevant background material. Questionnaires were prepared and reviewed prior to the departure to the field and were addressed to Refugee Coordination Unit(RCU) officials, Camp Management Committee(CMC), and partners, as well as to refugees and residents from the host community. Data collection during field visits was done through Focus Group Discussion(FGD), key-informant interviews, and direct observations. Over 100,000 refugees from Bhutan fled to Nepal in the early 90’s after enforcement of restrictive and discriminatory laws in Bhutan. For over two decades Government of Nepal has generously hosted refugees and played a key role with the UN and international community in pursuing solutions. As of the end of June 2014,91,224 refugees had been resettled to eight countries who participated in the group resettlement programme which begun in 2007. Out of the 26,117 refugees still present, it is estimated that 10-15,000 will remain after the group resettlement programme winds down either because they did not express their interest for resettlement, or because they will not be eligible for it.
Joint Assessment Missions (JAM) are regularly conducted by UNHCR and WFP, with the support from the Government of Nepal, and the partner agencies, in order to assess the situation and the assistance provided to the refugees, with a focus on food security and nutrition. The last one was done in June 2012. This JAM
was held in June 2014 with UNHCR and WFP team members, accompanied by two donor observers from ECHO and the US-Embassy. The major change between the current and previous JAM exercises is the significant decrease in camp population (minus 47%). The population is living in a kind of stand-by situation while waiting to be resettled which can in some cases lead to some anxiety and stress. Partner agencies and some of the key-informants interviewed reported that resettlement is sometimes the indirect cause of domestic violence, social tension, substance abuse, and even mental disorders. Though UNHCR and its partners implemented awareness and outreach activities, this remains an issue.
In the area of protection, the issue of Non-Refugee Spouses (NRS) has been acknowledged as vulnerability because they are not entitled to a food ration and because, in the case of a Nepalese wife of Bhutanese refugee husband, the latter cannot access Nepalese nationality through his wife. On the other hand,
however, although a refugee woman can attain Nepalese nationality through her Nepalese husband; many administrative obstacles make it difficult. In terms of food security, overall situation in the refugee camps is stable. The levels of household food consumption are consistently classified as acceptable for nearly all households and there are no particular risks to the beneficiaries’ well-being. Even though there are job opportunities in informal labour sector
and some refugees manage small shops inside the camps, most refugees are challenged to become self-reliant because they face certain legal restrictions. Overall, greater self-reliance could be improved through further vocational training such as hair cutting or mechanics, which are reported to be marketable skills in the camp. In addition to basic food ration distributed, refugees have access to extra food commodities through Reclamation Gardening Programme(RGP) or through the local markets.
UNHCR, WFP ,   (2014 )
Type / Script:
Annual Report in English
Thematic Group:
 UNOHCHR : UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
13.01.00  -  Protection Of And Assistance To Refugees And Displaced Persons
Reference Link:
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