United States is set to expedite the processes of resettling the Bhutanese refugees in America with its plan to establish offices in Nepal for the purpose soon, State Department officials have said.
Lawrence Bartlett and Janice S Belz, two US State Department officials on a visit to Nepal, said Washington is planning to set up offices in Kathmandu and Jhapa district in July in order to expedite the processes of resettling Bhutanese refugees in the US.
"There is no limit to the number of the refugees willing to go to the US," Bartlett said during an interaction with the refugees at Goldhap camp yesterday. "It can be 30,000 or more than 60,000 as well," said Bartlett, Assistant Director of the Department of State's Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration.
"After five years of resettlement in the US, you can either receive US citizenship and live a life like Americans there or return to your own country if amicable environment is created then," said Belz.
The US would begin taking Bhutanese refugees from January 2008. "We will begin taking 60,000 of them (refugees) from January," said Hari Bangale, secretary of Beldangi-2 camp, quoting Bartlett as having said.
According to him, the visiting US officials said that the 60,000 refugees would be taken phase-wise which might continue till 2011.
The State Department officials will meet government representatives and UN officials to discuss the resettlement programme, the Kantipur Online said on Thursday.
Over 107,000 Bhutanese refugees have been staying in seven camps in eastern Nepal since early 1990s and 16 rounds of talks between Nepal and Bhutan governments have failed to make any progress over their repatriation. Nepal has also given green signal to the re-settlement programme.