(Based on a research done regarding Bhutanese Refugees Reside In Den Haag (The Hague),The Netherlands By Emanthi Marambe For Asia Media Forum Fellowship)
"I am quite confident that the most unfortunate incident in the life of an individual is to become a refugee in his own country of birth. One hundred and seven thousand Bhutanese including me had to face that unfortunate experience. That was in the beginning of the year 1990. Then I was 12 years of age. Due to a political problem, a large number of our family members including my maternal uncle and grand-father had been imprisoned by the Bhutan government. Due to threats received my uncle left the country and the state imprisoned my grand-father".
The state of Bhutan summoned my father to the District Office in the Chirang district of Bhutan and having got his signature to certain documents, ordered him to leave the country within 24 hours. My father had to obey the orders issued as he was aware of the grave consequences that would have been ensued had the orders been not complied with. Hence we left Bhutan on the following night at 12 o’clock leaving behind our house, our properties and the animals we had. After 03 long days we reached the Maidhar city in Jhapa Nepal. Thereafter we learnt that our house had been burnt and all our valuable things burgled. My parents, I, My two maternal aunties and the uncle came into possession of only the clothes that we were wearing at the time we left Bhutan.
We were expelled from Bhutan merely due to the fact that we were of Nepalese origin and the state gave us nothing but sorrow. So says D.P Mainali who was reduced to a state of a refugee in his own country. As a consequence D. P. had spent a major part of his childhood and youth in a refugee camp in Nepal.
With the intervention of the Netherland government approximately 122 Bhutan refugees have been re-settled in various areas in the Netherlands by January last year(2010)Out of those resettled, Tulsa(d.p’s wife) residing in the city of Hague with D.P.
According to D. P. , at the time they reached Nepal, there had been only a few refugees there.
At the beginning of the year 1991, the state of the refugee camps in Nepal were not hygienically satisfactory. Due to malnutrition, lack of proper medical care, high temperature a large number of Bhutanese children had died in the early part of the year 1991. The refugees were not provided with good food, proper education and toilet facilities. Those conditions resulted in the deaths of many refugees. Subsequent to several months, with the intervention of the United Nations Refugee commission, CARITAS Nepal and the LWS to provide relief to the Bhutanese refugees, the conditions in the refugee camps commenced showing an improvement. In the first instance these organizations established a very small camp close to the banks of the river Kankai Mai and D. P. said that he spent five months in this camp.
After five months, Bhutan refugees including D. P. had been transferred to the camp in Beldangi II . The facilities provided to the refugees in this camp showed an improvement and a school too had been opened up for the children in a foot ball ground in that region. D. P. had been one such student in this school and although a few teachers had been deployed, education became a difficult task for the children without the necessary books. Steps had been taken by the authorities to put a few schools for the children in the Bhutan refugee camp, from the year 1992.
" I received my primary and secondary education with the support provided by the CARITAS Nepal says D. P. Since the environment was not conducive, the refugees lived in fear and disgust.
In the face of these obstacles and difficulties, D. P. says that he managed to complete his secondary education with distinctions. In view of the fact that a scholarship had been awarded to D. P. by CARITAS Nepal he had been able to complete his higher education in Damak Model Higher Secondary School.
D. P. says that considering the poor status of his family, the CARITAS Nepal provided assistance to him for his higher education.
In the midst of severe financial difficulties, D. P. had served as a teacher in a high school whilst receiving education in the Amrit Science Campus, Kathmandu .Although it was a challenge to do a job whilst undergoing University education, D. P. says that he faced that challenge successfully. D. P. had completed his science degree in the University in the year 2004 and since there were no job opportunities for him in Nepal, by some unknown luck he had arrived in Netherlands in 7th July 2005.
In Netherlands he faced a severe challenge in the face of the new environment and the language. D. P. says that he studied the Dutch language with the greatest difficulty and now he is a Chemical Engineering student at The Hague University.
According to D. P. the refusal by the state of Bhutan to take back it’s people expelled from the southern Bhutan is a violation of their human rights.
D. P. is puzzled over the failure on the part of the western countries to exert impacts on the state of Bhutan after knowing that the Bhutanese had been expelled from Southern Bhutan without any valid reason.
Although Jigme Sigme Wangchuck the king of Bhutan who was reigning at the time the Southern Bhutanese including D. P. were expelled from the country is no longer the king, the reigning king, his son too does not appear to take any initiative in re-calling the refugees to Bhutan.
By January last year (2010) 122 Bhutanese expelled from the state of Bhutan lead luxurious lives in Netherlands. But they are extremely sorry for their kinsmen imprisoned in Bhutan and their siblings and parents still leading miserable lives in the refugee camps in Nepal.
D. P. says that when relocating in the western countries the Bhutanese refugees in Nepal, it would be better if the authorities at least take the initiative of re-settled the members of the same family in one country instead of re-locating the family members in different countries. Although D. P. and his wife are living in Netherlands, their parents are re-located in the United States of America.
One of D. P.’s brothers is living in Netherlands with his family . But another brother is still living in a refugee camp in Germany (with out any legal status since last 3 years) . Looking at the Bhutanese like D. P. it would be confirmed that they are no longer refugees but although expelled from their own country they could be considered as a valuable set of people who are willing to serve the country in which they have been re-located.
“To us who were expelled from our own country merely because of being of Nepalese origin, the state of Bhutan did not give us anything other than sorrow and despair. "So says D. P. Milani who had been expelled from Bhutan as a refugee. D. P. who now lives in Netherlands had spent most of his childhood and youth in a camp in Nepal allocated for Bhutanese refugees.