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Refugee resettlement resumes

Wednesday, February 8th, 2017
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Resettlement of Bhutanese refugees that was halted by US President Donald Trump’s immigration ban has resumed.

Bhutanese refugee Kali Maya Magar’s six-member family (pic, above) was barred from flying to the United States last week. In a letter sent to the Beldangi camp where Kali Maya has been living ever since she fled Bhutan 25 years ago, the International Organisation for Migration said the multi-national resettlement program had been put on hold until further notice.

But as a US federal appeals court questions Trump’s immigration ban, Magar’s family was taken to Damak on Wednesday for a medical test, which is conducted for those refugees who are all set to fly abroad under the resettlement program.

“We have been told that we will be flying to the US in a few days,” an excited Kali Maya told Nepali Times on Wednesday.

Nearly 100,000 Nepali-speaking people were evicted from Bhutan in the early 1990s. They had been living in seven refugee camps in eastern Nepal.

Despite several rounds talks at various levels, Nepal and Bhutan failed to find a solution to this issue. And in 2008, the International Community decided to resettle them mainly in the US and other European countries.

As of now, 107,949 Bhutanese refugees have already been resettled abroad, mostly in the US. Only 11,185 Bhutanese refugees now live in two camps, and 2,000 of them are waiting to be resettled abroad.

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