Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Bhutan Insurgencies

As refugees depart for US, camps in Nepal foster new resistance
Don Duncan, GlobalPost

School children (above) in the last "Himalayan Buddhist kingdom" (WFP); Bhutanese refugee camp in Nepal (; King Wangchuck of Bhutan passes throne.

BHUTAN — The impressive necklace of cliff-perched fortresses that dot this Himalayan nation's mountainous perimeter are a testimony to Bhutan's long-standing effort to keep out foreigners. In the 1980s, however, the tiny Buddhist kingdom of just 600,000 sandwiched between the People's Republic of China and India, found itself with what it considered to be a foreigner problem.

Bhutan's minority population of ethnic Nepalese had mush-roomed to represent one-third of the population, causing then-King Jigme Singye Wangchuck (left, seen crowning his son) to start a "one nation, one people" policy to deport and strip many of their Bhutanese citizenship.

The campaign ended with the expulsion of about 105,000 Nepalese through beatings, torture, and murder committed by the Royal Bhutan Army that lasted until the early 1990s, human rights groups and deportees say.

"We left because we were scared that they would imprison us, that they would beat us, that I would be raped," said Matimya Moktan, 41, who arrived in Nepal in 1991 and now lives in a small mud stick hut with her three children and husband in one of seven refugee camps in eastern Nepal. More>>