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UNHCR/WFP Joint Assessment Mission Report Assistance to the Refugees from Bhutan in Nepal
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Following the enforcement of restrictive and discriminatory citizenship laws in Bhutan, over 100,000 refugees from Bhutan fled to Nepal in the early 1990s, where they were recognized on a prima facie basis by the Government of Nepal (GoN). The refugees from Bhutan were originally settled in seven refugee camps in south-eastern Nepal, where the GoN and UNHCR provided them with basic humanitarian assistance and international protection, in cooperation with other national and international partners, including WFP. To assess the situation in the camps and the assistance provided to the refugees, Joint
Assessment Missions (JAMs) have been conducted periodically by UNHCR and WFP with assistance from the Government of Nepal, the implementing/cooperating partners, and
NGOs. The 2012 Joint Assessment Mission was held during June 2012. Representatives of
UNHCR and WFP conducted field visits in the camps, accompanied by observers from donors (ECHO, EU, and the US Embassy). The most significant change since the last Joint Assessment Mission (2008) has been the scaling up of the resettlement process, which commenced in 2007. As of 31 May 2012, more than 65,000 refugees have been resettled to third countries and the camp population has been reduced to 48,640 persons. With the current rate of resettlement departures of approximately 12,000 to 18,000 per year for the next years, it is projected that less than 10,000 refugees from Bhutan will remain in Nepal in five years’ time. Resettlement continues to be the only viable durable solution for these refugees, as voluntary repatriation has not yet been possible and local integration is not an option. Discussions have been held between UNHCR and the Government of Bhutan to allow refugees to be considered for voluntary repatriation on a humanitarian basis, but this has not yet been possible to implement. The other significant change since the previous JAM in 2008 has been the consolidation of the remaining refugee population from seven camps into two camps. In December 2010, the GoN formally approved UNHCR’s proposal on camp consolidation, under which three eastern camps were gradually closed and the refugees relocated to Beldangi camp in Jhapa District and Sanischare camp in Morang District. Despite the reduction of the refugee population, the needs of those remaining have not decreased. Additional vulnerabilities have been identified through the resettlement screening process, including: gender based violence (GBV), alcohol and substance abuse, psycho-social and mental health issues, and protection risks for children not in a stable family environment. Although innovative programmes were put in place during the years to more effectively address these issues, the need for long-term funding to support them remains a concern.

UNHCR, WFP ,   (2012 )
Type / Script:
Progress Report in English
Thematic Group:
 UNHCR : Refugees and Migration
13.01.00  -  Protection Of And Assistance To Refugees And Displaced Persons
Reference Link:
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