Bhutan and Human Rights:
While the global democratic nations are thriving in recognition of international human rights under the slogan of “Free and Equal in Dignity and Rights, we would like to remember the human rights situation back in Bhutan since late 80s and draw your kind attention for your support and solidarity – so that the people of Bhutan too could live a dignified and secure life as any human being in any democratic countries around the world.
Bhutan is a tiny Himalayan Kingdom located in South Asia. It is a landlocked country sandwiched between China in the North and India in the South. With the total population of approximately 0.8 million, the country is ruled by absolute hereditary monarchy since 1907. In 2008, the monarch introduced parliamentary democracy – however it is only to hoodwink the international community, who are concern about the plight of over one hundred thousand Bhutanese refugees living in the United Nation High Commission for Refugee (UNHCR) sponsored refugee camps in Nepal since early 90s.
The sole crime of the innocent, peace loving and most patriotic citizens of Bhutan, was to raise their voice against the royal policy of “One Nation, One People”, enacted and implemented in 1989, which grossly violated the basic rights and fundamental freedom of the diverse ethnic community of Bhutan. Under this royal proclamation, every citizen had to wear only the national dress in all time, speak only the national language, and follow only the Kargyudpa sect of Mahayana Buddhism, which is the state religion of Bhutan. As a member state of United Nations Organization, Bhutan violated the UN Charters, Conventions and Covenants, which ensure to protect, promote, preserve and practice the rights and privileges of every human beings across the globe.
Since the Bhutanese people, particularly the ethnic Nepalis, could not tolerate the royal command, they protested peacefully in 1990 with the appeal to reconsider on the implementation of the One Nation, One People policy. Ironically, however, the law of the land says in Bhutan that anyone speaking against the royal command is termed as an act of treason. So, instead of considering on the peaceful appeal of the people, the royal government deployed martial law in the whole of southern Bhutan, where the majority of the inhabitants were of ethnic Nepalis, who are popularly known as Lhotshampas, which literally means the Southern inhabitants.
There were rampant actions against the people from the royal Bhutan army and royal Bhutan police. For instance, the arbitrary arrest, inhuman torture, imprisonment without legal trials, ruthless killings and evictions became the business of everyday life. This compelled several thousands of people fleeing into exile looking for shelter, safety and means of survival. So, by 1992, over one hundred thousand Bhutanese citizens arrived in Nepal seeking shelter in the UNHCR run refugee camps. Since then till date the Bhutanese people are living a most pathetic refugee lives in the camps in Nepal while around fifty five thousand of them have resettled in different countries in America, Europe and Australia.
Back in Bhutan, the human rights situation is still not improved despite the fact that the country has been introduced to the outside world as the youngest democracy. There are more than one hundred political prisoners languishing in the Bhutanese jails facing treasons merely on their crime of raising their voice for true democracy, seeking to live a dignified life with equality, freedom and justice. The custodians of global democracy are mute and have remained silent spectators on the agony of the Bhutanese people and the absolute monarchy is ruling the country in his iron fist.
We hope the global peace, democracy and development loving people around the world will not hesitate to come forward to speak against the royal atrocities in Bhutan and extend their support and solidarity so that there will be no more refugees created from the land of last Sangri-La on earth.
May peace and human rights prevail forever!!!