UN HRC commits to act on Bhutan political prisoners

Hague based human rights activist Ram Karki, as part of the International Campaign for the Release of Political Prisoners in Bhutan (ICRPPB) interacted with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet on June 5 and appealed the UN to help release Bhutanese political prisoners in various prisons in Bhutan.

Karki informed the high commissioner Bachelet that Bhutan has still around 100 political prisoners in its various prisons since inhuman arrested dating back to 1989 for staging peaceful demonstration in support of human rights and justice in the country. He further said the status of many of those arrested was never known as international monitoring is very limited. He information the commissioner that we have been able to collect details of 37 such prisoners currently serving sentences. 

Bhutan declared itself a democracy in 2007, Karki said, adding there is no reason or ethics for Bhutan government continuing to keep these people in jail who had actually demanded democracy and freedom.

“We see no reason for them to suffer in prisons as the very reasons for their arrest was their demands human rights and democracy and it is already introduced in the country. Their parents, wives, children are awaiting unendingly for their reunion”.

The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention conducted an official country visit to Bhutan from 14 to 24 January 2019. The group were mostly accompanied by the government officials and the meeting with the prisoners were mostly monitored and not independent as reported by our reliable sources. Those who received unmonitored meeting were given a very short time, thus they could not share information with the group and thus they could not bring out the facts in their report as ratified by UNHRC on September 2019.

Karki appealed the high commissioner to look into this matter urgently and help for their release.

In her response, High Commissioner said that she is well informed about the situation of Bhutanese of Nepali origin people and their human rights situation both inside and outside the country and promised to address those issues including the issue of Bhutanese Political Prisoners after going through the details information submitted and those UPR documents. She further said that after all Bhutan was forced to accept the special fact-finding UN group though they could not function independently.

Read appeal here

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