UN agency welcomes donation from EU to feed Bhutanese refugees in Nepal

UN agency welcomes donation from EU to feed Bhutanese refugees in Nepal

Bhutanese refugees
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today hailed a €1.5 million donation from the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO) to feed over 108,000 Bhutanese refugees in eastern Nepal who are unable to work outside the camps in which they reside.

Since 1992, WFP, in close coordination with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), has being providing food for the Bhutanese refugees at the request of Nepal’s Government.

WFP aims to feed the Bhutanese refugees, who arrived in Nepal 16 years ago after the introduction of strict citizenship laws in their homeland, at a cost of almost €18.5 million over the next two years, of which donors have already contributed €8.5 million. In the past six years, ECHO has donated €13.4 million towards WFP’s efforts.

“We are very pleased that ECHO has decided to once again support the refugees,” said Richard Ragan, WFP Country Director in Nepal. “The Commission has consistently been on of the biggest providers of humanitarian support to the refugees.”

Frustration has been growing among the Bhutanese refugees as they have seen no solution to their situation over the last 16 years. A substantial offer of resettlement places by the United States was made last year, and Canada and Australia have also shown interest, but resettlement has yet to take place.

Last November, UNHCR and the Nepalese Government began taking a census of refugees, in which any existing information will be validated, cross-checked, updated and recorded in a new database, and refugees will have their photographs taken for identity cards.