Bhutan Human Rights issues raised with EU officials

President of Bhutanese Community in The Netherlands (BCN) Ram Karki attended a two-day semi-nar on European Union (EU) advocacy organised by European Council for Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) at Brussels, Belgium on 9 and 10 July 2019.

The seminar’s objective was to familiarise and train the EU based Refugee leaders, refugee advocates, experts and activists on numerous agencies under EU and their functions and how to advocate on refugee related issues with them effectively. The seminar was attended by many prominent refugee lea-ders from EU countries.

Several issues related to exiled Bhutanese were raised on the second day where senior officals from European Parliament, European Commission and European External Action Service attended. 

The top officials were apprised of the EU resolution on 14 March 1996 and that it did have only negligible impact on Bhutan to improve human rights situation and condition of political prisoners. The leaders have been apprised of Bhutan government’s continued efforts to eliminate the trace of southern Bhutanese by changing the traditional names in southern Bhutan.

The issues of Bhutanese in The Netherlands facing challenges in preserving language and culture due to sparse settlement were also discussed. Other difficulty resettled Bhutanese faced was attainment of citizenship through naturalisation due to language barriers. The EU leaders have been urged to review the process.

Continued denial by Bhutan Government to issue tourist visas to those naturalised resettled Bhutanese who wanted to visit as tourist to Bhutan in order to meet their friends, relatives and family members was also discussed. The EU leaders have been urged to use their good office in influencing such decision by the Bhutan government. 

The EU leaders have been urged to take initiative to repatriate those willing to go back Bhutan, of 7000 exiled Bhutanese still living in Nepal.

It was informed that European Parliament’s resolutions are not mandatory and cannot be implemented but it only act as a concerns and advice to the concerned country. It was advised that regular advocacy and lobbying through civil society organisations with the concerned MEP would help, said Erika Schulze, Administrator for a parliamentary body at the European Parliament.

European Commission’s  representative Nuria Diez Guardia (Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs Policy Officer) said that issues post resettlement of the exiled Bhutanese fall under the jurisdiction of member states until now. She advised that such authority will be transferred to EU from member states from September 2019.

Madam Lucie Samcova of EU External Affairs Action Service (EEAS) (Head of Migration and Human Security Division) said that civil societies of the respective countries should come forward with their credible information and such information will be effectively used by the EU to formulate its future policy towards such nations. Countries where there are no civil societies functioning effectively, EU take inputs from exile-based civil societies.“Human Rights Division of the European Union will be the right body for all such human rights issues as they are the right body to deal with such cruel Human Rights Violation issues” said EP’s Eri-ka Schulze.

3 thoughts on “Bhutan Human Rights issues raised with EU officials

  • July 20, 2019 at 8:45 am

    Hats off to Ram Karki for such issues. Lets continue to unfold the reality of Bhutanese government.

  • July 20, 2019 at 8:56 am

    Former Bhutanese refugees are banned to visit their birth place or country Bhutan, so called Gross National Happiness country in the world. Is it not violation of human rights? Even allowed, former Bhutanese refugees with Netherland, UK, NZ, AUS, US, Canada citizen n passport will visit as tourist. We should be allowed to visit our birthplace country as FORMER CITIZEN OF BHUTAN. Kim, the president of North Korea allows its migrated citizen and why not Bhutan? What was the agreement made between UNHCR, Nepal Govt. and RGOB? It should be made transparent.

  • July 20, 2019 at 3:19 pm

    Ram Karki ji it is very good initiative from your part to attend such august meeting appraising influential people regarding the inhuman situation in a so called Shangri-La. I would be more happy if I could do the same in USA. We would rather ask for dual citizenship rather than a visa. At this moment of time it seems more logical because we were resettled by these countries willingly and they should also keep our interest in the top of their agenda & not treat us as animals brought in a cage from somewhere.
    All the best.


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