Refugees in Nepal. Impact on Refugee Lives and National Security


Master's Thesis, 2016
69 Pages, Grade: 1

Excerpt

TABLE OF CONTENT

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

ABSTRACT

LIST OF TABLES

LIST OF FIGURES

LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS

CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background
1.2 Statement of the Problem
1.3 Research Questions
1.4 Objective of the Study
1.5 Significance of the Study
1.6 Conceptual Framework
1.7 Limitation of the Study

CHAPTER II REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE
2.1 Becoming Refugees
2.2 Assorted Consequences of the Refugees to the State

CHAPTER III RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
3.1 Research Design
3.2 Study Area
3.3 Source of Data and Data Collection Plan
3.4 Sampling Technique
3.5 Data Processing, Analysis and Presentation

CHAPTER IV PRESENT STATUS OF REFUGEES IN NEPAL
4.1 Refugees from Tibet Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China in Nepal
4.2 Refugees from Bhutan in Nepal
4.3 Urban Refugees in Nepal

CHAPTER V IMPACT OF STATELESSNESS ON REFUGEE LIVES

CHAPTER VI IMPACT OF REFUGEE INFLUX ON NATIONAL SECURITY OF NEPAL
6.1 Frivolities of the Refugees and Consequences to Security
6.2 Impact on Internal Security of Nepal
6.2.1 Involvement in Crimes
6.2.2 Problems in Border
6.2.3 Protests and Problems in Law and Order
6.2.4 Physical Security
6.2.5 Human Security
6.3 Impact on International Relation

CHAPTER VII REFUGEE MANAGEMENT AND SOLUTION FINDING EFFORTS IN NEPAL
7.1 Refugee Management and Solution Finding Efforts of GoN
7.2 International Efforts for Refugee Management and Solution Finding

CHAPTER VIII FINDINGS, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION
8.1 Findings
8.2 Conclusion
8.3 Recommendation

APPENDICES

REFERENCES

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

This research paper entitled "Refugees in Nepal: Impact on Refugee Lives and National Security" is prepared for the partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts in Strategic Studies. First of all, I would like to convey my sincere gratitude to Army Command and Staff College, Shivapuri for providing me such an opportunity to explore the refugee influx in Nepal and its impact on refugee lives and national security of Nepal.

Very special gratitude and appreciation goes to my thesis guide Dr. Nishchal Nath Pandey for his continuous and extensive guidance for the accomplishment of this thesis. The guidance of Associate Professor Man Bahadur Khatri and Lt Col Manoj Baidawar was indispensable toward the completion of this research. This paper is the product of the composition of the empirical experiences of the refugees themselves and secondary data from various works. All the seniors, colleagues and juniors who assisted directly or indirectly while preparing this paper deserved my appreciation. I am indebted to NUCRA, MoHA, Government of Nepal, Assistant External Relations Office Mr. Dipesh Das Shrestha from UNHCR Nepal, Inspectors of APF Durga Prasad Bhatta, Dipak Puri and Nabin Khatiwada and Secretary of Tibetan Refugee Welfare Center in Nepal Mr. Migmar Dorje for their immense cooperation and assistance for the data collection process. My incredible gratitude goes to Dr. Deepak Prakash Bhatta, an academia and subject matter expert in the international relations and security related field, for his interview and assistance. I would also like to express my special thanks to all the refugee individuals who directly participated to answer the questionnaire and indirectly contributed for the completion of this paper. I am truly thankful to my spouse Mrs. Bibhuti Katel Karki for her support and assistance to deal with SPSS Statistics 20 in the data analysis process.

Finally, I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to the Directing Staffs, colleagues and well-wishers for their valuable inputs, comments and suggestions for the preparation of this paper.

January 2016 Netra Bahadur Karki

Army Command & Staff College

Shivapuri, Kathmandu

ABSTRACT

Refugees from Tibet Autonomous Region of People's Republic of China commenced fleeing into Nepal crossing the Himalayas since 1959 till today. The Bhutanese refugees first entered Nepal in 1990 and the number reached 107,810 in 2008. Additionally, remarkable numbers of the asylum seekers from different countries are taking refuge in Nepal.

In this study, descriptive research design was used to find out the refugee influx in Nepal and its impact on refugee lives and national security of Nepal. Quantitative and qualitative data from primary and secondary both sources are utilized in this triangulation study. Semi-structured questionnaire was used to collect data from 100 Tibetan and Bhutanese refugee respondents. Focused group discussion was carried out with 35 urban refugees and a semi-structured interview was conducted with a subject matter expert. The analysis was done using descriptive statistics: frequency and percentage.

The study shows that 90 percentage of the Tibetan and Bhutanese refugees are facing various problems: identity, unemployment, health, socio-cultural and religious, access to further education, food, shelter. Refugees are found involved in various frivolities: murder, rape, looting, fake citizenship, fake passport, smuggling and protest including self-immolation. Forty-six percentage of the Tibetan and 47 percentage of the Bhutanese refugees agreed that Nepal is facing different problems due to the refugee influx. The study shows that refugee influx has depressing impact on the internal security of Nepal.

The refugee issues have unconstructively affected Nepal's relation with her neighbours, other countries and agencies. Effort of GoN has not been enough for refugee management and solution finding; however, effort of UNHCR and IOM for 100,706 Bhutanese refugee resettlement highly appreciated. International efforts should be more intensified to manage approximately 33,118 refugees residing in Nepal with more economic assistance, providing educational opportunities, enhancing vocational skills, assistance for repatriation or resettlement in third countries.

LIST OF TABLES

1. Tibetan Refugees Population in Nepal by Districts, 1993

2. Tibetan Refugees Population in Nepal as of 12 April 2009

3. Population of Refugees from Bhutan from 01 January 2008 - 30 November 2015

4. Age and Sex Wise Population of Refugees from Bhutan as of 30 November 2015

5. Population of Urban Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Nepal

6. Status of Refugees and Impact of Statelessness on Refugee Lives

7. Refugee Influx in Nepal and Impact on National Security

8. Tibetan New Arrivals as of 30 December 2015

9. Age Group of Urban Refugees and Asylum Seekers as of 30 December 2015

10. Age and Sex of the Refugees from Bhutan as of 30 November 2015

11. Refugee Management and Solution Finding Efforts in Nepal

12. Refugee Management and Solution Finding Efforts of GoN

13. International Efforts for Refugee Management and Solution Finding in Nepal

14. Resettlement of Bhutanese Refugees as of November 2015

LIST OF FIGURES

1. Refugee Management Process

2. Notion of National Security

LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS

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CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background

Human beings preferably enjoy their indigenous circumstances unless forced by the persecution and violations typically caused by the racial, ethnic, caste, religious, socio-economic or political tribulations. Numerous people have been observed being displaced internally or fled out of the state since the existence of the state. Article 1 of the 1951 Refugee Convention, as amended by the 1967 Protocol, defines a refugee as:

A person who owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it (“Convention and Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees,” 2010).

Millions of the world population is being witnessed becoming refugee or internally displaced and compelled to reside in pathetic conditions even in the 21st century, and Nepal is hosting a portion of those displaced for a long time. Nearly 100,000 Tibetan followed Dalai Lama in 1959 and spread out in many countries including Nepal. In March 1959, Tibet's young leader, the Dalai Lama, escaped from Lhasa under cover of night and sought asylum in India (Bernstorff & Welck, 2003). Approximately 20,000 of those Tibetan refugees, entered by and before 1989, are hosted by Nepal and another big mass of more than 100,000 Bhutanese refugees were hosted by Nepal from the year 1991. After Nepal opened up for the outside world in 1950, different literatures show that, apart from Tibetan and Bhutanese, Nepal has hosted Burmese refugees, Bangladeshi refugees, Kashmiri refugees and Punjabi refugees in varied span of time. Besides these all, urban refugees and/ or asylum seekers from different parts of the world, approximately 500 in number, are hosted by Nepal.

Refugees forced by various internal and external reasons are compelled to flee out of own beloved country and face many problems abroad. Socio-economic problems, lack of health facilities, cultural and religious complications, food insecurity, problem of shelter, lack of access to education etc. are the potential areas of difficulties refugees have to live with. The children, elderly people and the female seem to be extremely vulnerable to Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV), looting, abuse and exploitation and so on. Security has been the paramount important for the wellbeing of the refugees. Security is feeling of assurance against any kind of threat. Limbu (2009) defines security as physical, mental, and psychological feelings, relative to time, space, environment, and consciousness levels of the people concerned. National security is a concept that government should protect its territorial integrity and its citizen from all types of internal and external threats. National security implies security, protection, maintenance and promotion of national interests from the internal and external threats and challenges. Our national security is a state or condition where our most cherished values and beliefs, our democratic way of life, our institutions of governance and our unity, welfare and well-being as a nation and people are permanently protected and continuously enhanced (“Threat to National Security,” 2009). The researcher, in this study, has tried to discuss the security threats caused by the refugees in Nepal.

The 1951 Refugee Convention and 1967 Protocol has provided particular role for United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the state parties are to co-operate UNHCR. By its Statute, UNHCR is tasked with, among others, promoting international instruments for the protection of refugees, and supervising their application as stated in the Convention and Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees (2010): States undertake to cooperate with UNHCR in the exercise of its functions, which are set out in its Statute of 1950 along with a range of other General Assembly resolutions, and, in particular, to facilitate this specific duty of supervising the application of these instruments.

Nepal, in spite of being non-signatory to any of the convention or protocol, has been cooperating UNHCR for humanitarian cause and is obviously prone to several miserable effects. Four major issues-areas can be taken into account for a broad framework of refugee study: (a) civil society, (b) environment, (c) democratic stability, and (d) foreign policy and security problems (Baral & Muni, 1996). Nepal has been struggling for prosperous future with demographic, social, political and economic troubles and at the same time, hosting refugees has obviously burdened. 1951 Refugee Convention lays down basic minimum standards for the treatment of refugees, without prejudice to States granting treatment that is more favourable. Such rights include access to the courts, to primary education, to work, and the provision for documentation, including a refugee travel document in passport form. In spite of being non-signatory of the Refugee convention, Nepal's treatment to the refugees should be humanitarian to meet at least the basics. This superfluous population adds more liability to any state. Social security, food security, health security, physical security, personal security etc. are the possible additional internal security responsibilities of the Government of Nepal (GoN).

1.2 Statement of the Problem

The process of refugee generation continued as the conflicts of state formation spilled-over into inter-state conflicts and tensions and stabilization of territorial boundaries of ethnically, religiously and ideologically defined states (Baral & Muni, 1996). Thus, affected by the conflict, the vulnerability of these refugees increase after the transformation of the status and need of the security becomes more crucial. The refugee from different countries offers additional security threat while Nepal is fighting with the security threat shaped by the various internal problems for a long time. Recently, Migrants from Middle East have been perhaps one of the biggest headaches in the history for the European Union, the thriving portion of the globe.

Living far in the foreign country in a stateless status generates many problems to the refugees themselves forcing to survive in a pathetic condition. The refugees face the problems of essential necessity like food, shelter, health and education, which is beyond the management capability of the host countries in almost all cases. Refugees have been found experiencing terrible scanty of the minimum facilities in spite of international humanitarian responses. Circumstances formed by the refugee obviously have produced some sorts of security irritants for Nepal. Being a host country, Nepal has to ensure the safety and security of the refugee. National effort should be focused on their settlement and resettlement. In this study, the researcher has attempted to find out the status of refugees in Nepal, impact of statelessness on refugee lives and impact of refugee influx on national security of Nepal.

1.3 Research Questions

The study was focused to answer the following research questions:

1.3.1 What is the present status of refugees in Nepal?
1.3.2 What is the impact of the statelessness on refugee lives?
1.3.3 What is the impact of refugee influx on national security of Nepal?
1.3.4 What are the refugee management and solution finding efforts in Nepal?

1.4 Objective of the Study

The general objective of this research paper was to unearth the likely threats to national security caused by the refugee problem in Nepal. For this, the specific objectives of the thesis were:

1.4.1 To appraise the present status of refugees in Nepal.
1.4.2 To probe the impact of statelessness on refugee lives.
1.4.3 To find out the impact of refugee influx on national security of Nepal.
1.4.3 To study the refugee management and solution finding efforts in Nepal.

1.5 Significance of the Study

The mass flow of forced displaced people has been observed during world wars, in and after the cold war and even today. The displaced refugees are always in huge need of humanitarian assistance and face economical, political, identity and security problems, and at the same time, the host nation have to deal with and manage those issues that definitely threatens not only the national but also the international peace and security. On this background, it is very important to study the overall security threat created by refugees in Nepal, even though; a few issues have been studies separately by some authors, some of those are reviewed during this research. The researcher deems that the study helps to understand the present status of the refugees in Nepal, impact of statelessness on refugee lives and impact of refugee influx on national security of Nepal.

1.6 Conceptual Framework

The Conceptual framework has been developed in order to achieve clear and in depth understanding of the study being carried out. Extensive literature review has apparently contributed to form the following conceptual frameworks:

REFUGEE MANAGEMENT PROCESS

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Figure 1: Refugee Management Process

Source: Author's own creation

Refugee management has been one of the toughest situations for the host countries and the international community as well. As shown in figure 1, push factors like unemployment, environmental degradation, drought, conflict, insecurity, injustice, inequality etc. and pull factors like opportunities, social security, justice, equality, access etc. have terribly forced the millions of world population to flee out of home. Some of the affected population becomes IDPs (Internally Displaced People) and some others flee out to others accessible countries. These people in many cases get refuge in the neighbouring countries and some are deported or facilitated to reach to other countries for the settlement. National and international humanitarian response is most in this situation for the immediate management of the refugees and for the solution finding process subsequently.

NOTION OF NATIONAL SECURITY

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Figure 2: Notion of National Security

Source: Author's own creation

As shown in figure 2, national security simply has twin aspects: concurrently enforcing of internal peace and stability, and maintenance of international relation. Security forces and diplomacy are two vital tools to national security where political, economical, social and cultural efforts cannot be disregarded. These all security endeavors, in fact, targeted to the beneficiaries: nationals and internationals.

1.7 Limitation of the Study

The study was based on the primary data collected through questionnaire from refugees being hosted by Nepal and the secondary data collected from National Unit for Coordination of Refugee Affairs (NUCRA) in Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA), UNHCR Nepal, online literatures and various books are also utilized in this thesis. The sample size was smaller and the area of the study has covered only the Tibetan refugee, Bhutanese refugee and urban refugee in Nepal. It may not necessarily be generalized in different context.

CHAPTER II REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE

2.1 Becoming Refugees

Various online literatures relating to the refugee and some books are reviewed to form the conceptual framework for this study. Nepal has received refugees in different periods. Political, ethnic, religious, nationality, race, social group etc. issues particularly in the neighbouring countries forced people becoming refugees in Nepal. Tibetans, who largely entered Nepal in 1959, are the first group (B. P. Subedi, 2001). "One nation, one people" policy of Bhutan in 1989 failed to mainstream the Nepali origin Bhutanese in the southern Bhutan that lead to the agitation. On this regard, Gautam (2013) stated:

The Nepali origin Bhutanese entered Nepal seeking asylum since 1990 after they were systematically evicted from their homeland by the royal Government of Bhutan on the ground of being illegal settlers and economic immigrants and regarded them as anti-nationals after the mass demonstrations of September 1990. They settled in Nepal under the status of refugees as screened and registered by the UNHCR.

In addition to Tibetan and Bhutanese refugees, Nepal has received some asylum seekers from different countries and they are named urban refugees. As stated by Jacobsen (2005), urban refugees face the same economic problems as the urban poor: shortages of jobs, housing, credit and banking services, higher prevalence of crime, and political marginalization.

Not only the urban refugees, all the stateless people are being noticed in pathetic living condition and many of them have even lost their lives. A three-year-old boy found lying facedown on a beach near Turkish resort of Bodrum was one of at least 12 Syrians who drowned attempting to reach Greece. Turkish media reported that his five-year-old brother had also met similar death (Smith, 2015).

2.2 Assorted Consequences of the Refugees to the State

The refugee crisis has become a real problem for Nepal. The presence of refugees has given rise to economic, social, cultural, environmental and many more other problems in Nepal (Dahal, Pokharel, & Shakya, 2007). Researchers have shown that refugee's problem has created serious security threat to some hosting nations. In the mid 1990s, in a number of parliamentary debates in Kenya on the question of crime and security, several members including cabinet ministers blamed refugees for rising criminality in the country (Mogire, 2011). As a consequences of these events (conflicts) during the past decade and a half, there has been increasing recognition that massive refugee flow may threaten international peace and security (Loescher & Milner, 2005).

Nepal naturally faces several problems due to the refugee hosting and authors have exposed some illustrations in their literatures. Morang Police, on a press conference, made Ram Prasad Rai, a Bhutanese refugee from Sanischare camp, public who was arrested for looting Laxmi Bank Damak and murder of Man Bahadur Tamang from Sundarpur, Morang (Bhattarai, 2014). The questionable, restrictive and many criminal activities of the refugees have put themselves in suspicion. These activities vary from simple social disorder to serious crimes. In Tashi's case, he acquired Nepali citizenship, and along with it, the right to buy land, register a business, to travel outside the country, and to vote for people to represent his interests (Frechette, 2002). A Tibetan girl Dzechen Yangtai, 25, is arrested with fake Machine Readable Passport (MRP) who used citizenship card of Sita Tamang of Rasuwa district. Yangtai said she paid one lakh rupees to get that MRP and CIB has started investigation on the case (“Tibetan Girl Arrested with Fake MRP,” 2014). Crippled with the destruction caused by the bloody Maoist insurgency which has taken 13,000 lives since 1996, Nepal has the additional burden of harbouring refugees from the neighbouring countries (Pandey, 2006). GoN has perceived the illegal and problematic activities of the refugees as serious security challenges and in fact challenge to national security. A Tibetan man who set himself on fire in Nepal’s capital in the latest in a string of self-immolations protesting China’s rule over Tibet has died at a hospital (“101st Tibetan to self-immolate in protest of Chinese rule since 2009 dies in Nepal,” 2013). The refugee settlement have a wide range of impacts in diverse fields like economic, social, cultural, environmental and religious sectors since their arrival all over Nepal in general (Gautam, 2013). The influx of the refugees in Nepal has some types of negative impact in almost every aspect. The influx of the Bhutanese refugees has affected the natural, social and economic environment of the surrounding areas, because they are engaged in illegal cutting of trees in the government forests, are engaged in business and work as cheap labour thereby affecting the business and employment of the local community (Kansakar, 2006). As stated by NUCRA in “Refugees in Nepal : A Short Glimpse,” (2010):

Presence of a large number of refugees in heavily populated districts has created serious socio-ecological problems of diverse nature. Unemployment problem has further aggravated because the refugees have taken away scarce jobs of the local inhabitants. Heavy pressure of the refugees in the areas surrounding the forest resources has caused deforestation and environment degradation. Besides, problems like scarcity of foodstuffs, alcoholism, prostitution, social conflicts, epidemics and pollution have also been noticed. Similarly, maintenance of law and order has been threatened by the occurrence of frequent vandalism and violence in and outside the camp.

The refugee issues have been unproductive for the better international relation as well. Many problems in the border are observed during long span of time. A Romanian videotape that appears to show Chinese security forces shooting two Tibetan refugees in the Himalayas contradicts Beijing’s claim of shooting refugees in self-defense. China acknowledged that soldiers killed one refugee and wounded another on 30 September 2006 (Kahn, 2006). Nepal's immediate neighbours India and China sometimes seem to be suspicious.

In this chapter of literature review, these different works have provided the theoretical framework for this present study. These earlier precious discussions of various writers have assisted to form the outline for the study of the refugee problem in Nepal, impact of statelessness on refugee lives and impact of refugee influx on national security of Nepal.

CHAPTER III RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

3.1 Research Design

Descriptive research design was used in this triangulation study where qualitative and quantitative data were utilized from primary and secondary both sources.

3.2 Study Area

The area of this study has covered the Tibetan refugees, Bhutanese Refugees and Urban refugees in Nepal. Bhutanese Refugee Camp in Beldangi from Jhapa district, Tibetan Refugee Settlements in Chhorepatan Pokhara, Ekantakuna Lalitpur and Bouda/ Jorpati Kathmandu are specially focused during the research process.

3.3 Source of Data and Data Collection Plan

The data collection process was initiated with the formal official letter of the college. The primary data are collected from refugees through semi-structured questionnaire (Appendix A). The first hand empirical data collected via questionnaire were the invaluable and piteous experiences of the refugees themselves. The sample size of the Tibetan Refugee was 50, among them 23 individuals from Tashiling Tibetan Refugee Settlement, Chhorepatan, Pokhara, 12 individuals from Samdupling Tibetan Refugee Settlement, Ekantakuna, Jawalakhel, Lalitpur and 15 individuals from Choejor Tibetan Refugee Settlement, Bouda/ Jorpati, Kathmandu were involved.

For the questionnaire, 50 Bhutanese refugee individuals from Beldangi Bhutanese Refugee Camp, Jhapa were involved. Focused group discussion was conducted with 35 urban refugees from different countries outside of the UNHCR Kathmandu office on 18 December 2015 and the data was collected based on the same questionnaire. A semi-structured individual audio interview (Appendix B) was conducted on 22 December 2015 with Dr. Deepak Prakash Bhatta, an academia and a subject matter expert on international relations and security related field, to support the analytical aspect. The questionnaire data collection in Pokhara and Jhapa was carried out by the enumerators. The secondary data were also utilized for the study, which were collected from various books, online publications, UNHCR Nepal and NUCRA.

3.4 Sampling Technique

The data collection process was intricate due to the sensitivity of the refugee issues. The network-sampling technique was adopted for the data collection via questionnaire. The refugee individuals who could read and understand the questionnaire were the target sample and maximum diverse views were tried to be included.

3.5 Data Processing, Analysis and Presentation

As this paper was designed to carry out descriptive and analytical study, the collected data are presented in the tables with the help of percentage and frequency. The data are rationally described and analyzed to come to the research conclusion where the opinion of the subject matter expert received in the interview is utilized to strengthen the analytical portion. Among the respondents of the questionnaire, a Masters Degree holder from Tashiling Tibetan Refugee Settlement, Chhorepatan, Pokhara and another Masters Degree holder from Bhutanese Refugee Camp, Beldangi, Jhapa were randomly selected for the follow up telephone interview to probe for more accurate and detail information.

All the questionnaire sets were coded and the qualitative data were labeled. The data were categorized based upon the labeled theme and the data entry process was done. The thematic analysis was based on the similar responses of the respondents. The responses received on the question number 5 i.e. the problems being faced by the refugees were categorized in these themes: a. No Refugee Card/ No citizenship/ No identity, b. Unemployment, c. Health problems, d. Socio-cultural & religious problems, e. No access to further education, f. Family and relatives split, g. Problem of food & shelter, h. Insecurity from wild animals, i. Difficult to get driving license, j. Problem to open bank account, k. Problem of travel documents, l. Restriction of refugee movements, m. Restriction on peaceful demonstration, n. No permission to apply for jobs, and o. No permission to own fixed property. The responses on the question number 7 i.e. problems being faced by Nepal because of the refugee influx are categorized under these themes: a. Economic problem and hike in market price, b. Criminal activities & Security related problems, c. Socio-cultural & religious problems, d. Political pressure from neighbouring countries, e. Deforestation, f. Over population, g. Environmental degradation & pollution, h. Shortage of resources, and i. Unemployment. Similarly, question number 9, 10 and 11 were also categorized under similar theme received by the respondents for the ease and accuracy of the statistical analysis. The data acquired by the questionnaire were analyzed with the help of Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) 20 software developed by International Business Machines Corporation (IBM). Zotero Standalone https://www.zotero.org/ was utilized for the citation following American Psychological Association (APA) 6th edition of citation style.

CHAPTER IV PRESENT STATUS OF REFUGEES IN NEPAL

Nepal has extended her generosity to guests who abandoned their countries for noble causes since time immemorial. As of April 2015, 145 state parties are the signatories to the 1951 Refugee Convention, 146 signatory state parties to its 1967 Protocol, 142 signatory state parties to both of the instruments and 148 state parties signatory to one or both of the convention and protocol as of end of the year 2015. Nepal is a non-signatory to both, yet many people from Tibet Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China, Bhutan, and other many countries have taken refuge and/ or asylum in Nepal on humanitarian ground. The refugees in Nepal, as per the UNHCR record, are categorized into three: Tibetan refugees, Refugees from Bhutan, and urban refugees. In addition to these, few people from different countries are migrated to Nepal and named as asylum seekers but GoN uses the term 'Illegal migrants'. Existing status of refugees in Nepal is presented in the following subheadings.

4.1 Refugees from Tibet Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China in Nepal

The flow of Tibetan refugees through the Himalayan border into Nepal commenced when the Dalai Lama XIV left Lhasa for asylum in India in 1959. The influx of the Tibetan refugees in Nepal continued for some more years and even at present. According to information received from different reliable sources, their total number is estimated to have reached 20,000 (“Refugees in Nepal : A Short Glimpse,” 2010). However, the 1993 record has confirmed only 12,540 Tibetan refugees in the country who got Refugee Card (RC) where second or perhaps third generations of them are already there. As shown in table 1, the only GoN data, these refugees were scattered over 21 different districts of the country.

Table 1

Tibetan Refugees Population in Nepal by Districts, 1993

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Source: "Refugees in Nepal: A Short Glimpse" published in December 2010 by NUCRA

Table 2

Tibetan Refugees Population in Nepal as of 12 April 2009

(Demographic Survey of Planning Commission, Dharmashala)

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Source: Tibetan Refugee Welfare Center, Lazimpat, Kathmandu

Table 2 shows, different from the almost obsolete government data in table 1, the population of Tibetan Refugees in Nepal provided by Tibetan Refugee Welfare Center on 17 December 2015. The demographic survey was carried out by the planning commission, Dharmashala. The Tibetan refugees are scattered in different ten districts of Nepal, namely Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Taplejung, Solukhumbu, Tanahu, Manang, Mustang, Rasuwa, Baglung and Kaski, as shown in the table 2. This statistics keeps on changing due to the Tibetan New Arrivals (TNA) entry and exit movements in Nepal. Out of 13,465, only 3,545 Tibetan refugees are RC holders and 9,920 are Non-RC holders.

4.2 Refugees from Bhutan in Nepal

The Bhutanese refugees, mostly ethnic Nepalese from Southern Bhutan, first entered Nepal at the end of 1990 from the eastern bordering town Kankarbhitta through the Indian Territory. A group of 60 asylum seekers was provided shelter for the first time at Maidhar in Jhapa on 12 December 1990 on humanitarian ground. By September 1991, approximately 5,000 refugees entered into Nepal and the number was increasing day by day. GoN requested UNHCR to coordinate emergency assistance for these refugees. Refugee Coordination Unit (RCU) in Jhapa in coordination with UNHCR registered 107,810 Bhutanese refugees by October 2008. Most of them were accommodated in seven camps of Jhapa and Morang districts of eastern Nepal.

The record revealed that out of the total registered refugees, 84.65 percentage possess Bhutanese citizenship certificates, 10 percentage land ownership certificates, 2.95 percentage school certificates, marriage certificates, court and service certificates of Bhutanese Government, while 2.35 percentage do not seem to have any evidence. It is alleged that their documents were seized forcefully by the Bhutanese Government (“Refugees in Nepal : A Short Glimpse,” 2010).

Many sessions of Nepal-Bhutan meetings failed to find the solution to the refugee problem. Finally, third country resettlement was chosen as the solution plan of International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Table 3

Population of Refugees from Bhutan from 01 January 2008 - 30 November 2015

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Source: UNHCR, Kathmandu, Nepal

Table 3 shows the cumulative number of the refugees from Bhutan from 01 January 2008 to 30 November 2015. As of 30 November 2015, 100,706 refugees are already resettled in third countries and 17,573 refugees are still in Nepal looking forward to be resettled.

Table 4

Age and Sex Wise Population of Refugees from Bhutan as of 30 November 2015

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Source: UNHCR, Kathmandu, Nepal

Table 4 shows that the Bhutanese refugees are kept in two camps. Among 17,573 refugees, 14,070 are in Beldangi camp in Jhapa, 3,470 are in Sanischare camp and thirty-three are out of camp. The table also reveals that number of the male of all age group population is higher in both the camps except the age group 5-11 in Sanischare camp. The table further reveals that the number of male population of all age group, except age group 5-11, is higher in both camps. In Sanischare camp, the number of female population of age group 5-11 is higher than male population.

4.3 Urban Refugees in Nepal

Generally, refugee camps are established for the better administer and supervision of the refugees, but for some reasons, urban refugees are allowed to settle in urban areas of a country where they found asylum. Reports show that about half of the world refugee population under UNHCR mandate now lives in urban settings (Wikipedia, 2015). Unlike refugees living in established camps, who are provided with food, homes, medical services, training and education, urban refugees live in cities they have fled to, at once more integrated with their new homelands and more vulnerable to them. Though the UNHCR supports urban refugees through assistance and education, some are still vulnerable to detention or deportation (Adhikari, 2009). As of end of the year 2015, 545 urban refugees from different ten countries are taking refuge in Nepal under UNHCR protection effort.

Table 5

Population of Urban Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Nepal

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Source: UNHCR, Kathmandu, Nepal

Table 5 shows the comparative number of the population of the urban refugees in Nepal. The number of the urban refugee is increased by 5.21 percentage in the month of December 2015 reaching 545 from 518. The population of the refugees and the asylum seekers from Pakistan, Myanmar and Democratic Republic of Congo is in increasing trend whereas from Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Somalia and Bangladesh is decreased. The asylum seekers from Iraq are new arrivals and additional country to be listed.

CHAPTER V IMPACT OF STATELESSNESS ON REFUGEE LIVES

The refugees are seen to be surviving in very pathetic condition around the globe. A three-year-old boy found lying facedown on a beach near Turkish resort of Bodrum was one of at least 12 Syrians who drowned attempting to reach Greece. Turkish media reported that his five-year-old brother had also met similar death (Smith, 2015). They fled out of Syria due to the fierce civil war. These types of sample cases tell us the terrible living condition of the refugees.

The empirical experiences of the Tibetan and Bhutanese refugees staying in Nepal for decades have contributed to reveal the impact of statelessness on their lives. Table 6 below shows that four percentage of the Tibetan refugees and 30 percentage of the Bhutanese refugees are staying in Nepal for less than 20 years who are born and brought up in Nepal. Here, others all are staying in Nepal for more than 20 years. Ninety-four percentage of the family members of the Tibetan refugees and 66% of Bhutanese refugees are staying together in Nepal. Other 34% family members of the Bhutanese refugees are split and resettled in third countries. Among the respondents, 90% of the Tibetan refugees and the Bhutanese refugees have the same opinion that they are having some kinds of problems in Nepal. Sixty-two percentage of the Tibetan refugees stated that they have the problem of Refugee Card (RC) and 66 % of the Bhutanese refugees stated that they do not have citizenship card of any country and they, in fact, lack the identity of themselves. Unemployment is the problem of almost half of the respondents. Only 4% of the Tibetan refugees and 38 percentage Bhutanese refugees are facing different kinds of health problems like lack of health facilities, depression, anxiety etc. Fourteen percentage Tibetan refugees said that they have socio-cultural, religious and linguistic problems. The GoN has been suspicious on their religious and cultural activities. On the other side, only 10% of the Bhutanese refugees are facing socio-cultural and religious problems. Eight percentage of the Tibetan refugee respondents said that they are facing problem for technical education in Nepal and they do not have access to further abroad education. Thirty-eight percentage of the Bhutanese refugee respondents said that they are facing problem to get further education because of the inaccessibility and economic inability.

Table 6

Status of Refugees and Impact of Statelessness on Refugee Lives

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Source: Questionnaire Data Collection, 2015

[...]

Excerpt out of 69 pages

Details

Title
Refugees in Nepal. Impact on Refugee Lives and National Security
Course
Masters Degree in Strategic Studies
Grade
1
Author
Year
2016
Pages
69
Catalog Number
V316737
ISBN (eBook)
9783668167018
ISBN (Book)
9783668167025
File size
690 KB
Language
English
Tags
Nepal, National security, Refugees, Resettlement, Repatriation, Integration
Quote paper
Netra Bahadur Karki (Author), 2016, Refugees in Nepal. Impact on Refugee Lives and National Security, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/316737

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