June 22, 2008: Last week I reported that a family has claimed that someone using their father’s identity has entered the US as a supposed Bhutanese refugee. The US Embassy and the UNHCR (UN High Commissioner for Refugees) have denied those charges here, saying that the screening is rigorous.
However, a blogger writing at a blog called “Media in Bhutan“ says reporters and others who have reported on infiltration have been threatened.
Of late, even local journalists in Jhapa are displaced from their regular reporting duties citing that they reported the issues related to ‘infiltration’ of non-Bhutanese in the refugee resettlement program. Bhupendra Timsina, Damak-based correspondent for Nepal Samacharpatra daily in an exclusive interview with Saranarthi Sarokar at Nepal FM 91.8 on Saturday June 21, said that separate gangs comprising both refugees and non-Bhutanese threatened him over telephone for reporting on infiltration of non-Bhutanese in refugee resettlement.
Timsina, who had written a news story regarding the infiltration of non-Bhutanese in the refugee resettlement program on June 8 in Nepal Samacharpatra, is mentally disturbed in returning to his normal duties. According to Timsina, attempts are underway from non-Bhutanese to fly to the US in the name of Bhutanese refugees and that a section of refugees are also involved in helping non-Bhutanese for such attempts.
However, in a joint statement issued on June 18, the US Embassy in Kathmandu and UNHCR strongly refuted such news reports thereby clarifying that such reports were unfounded. Here, the main concern is how could the gang threatened Timsina if attempts to ‘infiltration’ are not underway? While respecting the stance of both Embassy and Timsina, we can at least make a predicament [Editor: it is a 'predicament' but the word I assume he wants to use is 'prediction'] that there are possibilities of infiltration even if such cases aren’t found till date. So authorities concerned should be alert in possible infiltration of non-Bhutanese in refugee resettlement.
What a mess.
[This piece is reproduced from a blog that carried one of my topics posted in my blog]
Wednesday, July 2, 2008