US shutdown affects resettlement

The US shutdown has impact on refugee life in Nepal. Photo: UNHCR
The US shutdown has impact on refugee life in Nepal. Photo: UNHCR

The government shutdown in US has affected resettlement of the Bhutanese in exile in many states of the country. Since the government funds the resettlement process, it is unlikely to resume until the shut down stops.

Many families scheduled to fly to US have been stopped at the transition centre in Kathmandu and no families (destined to go US) have been flown from the camps in Jhapa and Morang since October 1.

There are concerns that many of these families stuck in the transition centre have to be sent back to Jhapa or Morang to restart processing. The health check-up conducted before the resettlement process expires in six months and it has to be conducted again to be eligible for flying.

Because the huts of those families flown to Kathmandu have already been dismantled or occupies by other neighbours, taking the families back will add difficulties. This will further discourage people from opting to resettlement.

Voice of America reported one of such family. Man Rai’s parents were scheduled to fly to Missouri on October 8 but were stuck in Kathmandu due to shutdown.

“This is having some kind of psychological effect on them. And they are saying this time, ‘The flight is cancelled. We won’t be coming to America,’” VOA quoted Subba saying.

“It is a problem of the government, but it’s having a kind of effect on ordinary people like us,” Subba said.

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