As camp secretary, Rasaily is worried about the funding cuts that will affect fellow-refugees who remain. The UN stipend for refugees is now only Rs650 per person every month in lieu of food rations.The World Food Program (WFP) supplies of oil, sugar, salt and other rations have also been slashed, only rice is distributed. Additionally, education funding for 951 students is being cut and students beginning Grade 5 must get enrolled in Nepali government schools.
There are only three options for refugees according to UNHCR guidelines: assimilation in Nepal, repatriation to Bhutan, or third-country resettlement. Unfortunately, for many of the remaining refugees, none of these options are viable. Nepal has not accepted the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, its 1967 Protocol, nor established a national legal framework concerning refugees and asylum-seekers, and Bhutan refuses to take its people back.
Applications for resettlement to a third country have been closed since December 2016. Only those approved for family reunification may travel, though many are still waiting for their departure dates. The only other remaining camp in Sanischare may be closed soon.
Meanwhile, Bhutanese outside the camps face different challenges. Tek Nath Rizal, 71, the leader of the Bhutanese in forced exile used to be a member of the Royal Advisory Council in Thimphu. He fled to Nepal after being accused of a conspiracy against the King, but Nepal’s royal government kidnapped him from his home in Kathmandu and deported him back to Bhutan in 1989. He was jailed and tortured for 10 years and named a Prisoner of Conscience by Amnesty International.