Human rights struggle reaches a
By Vitit Muntarbhorn
Today is International Human Rights Day. It is also Constitution Day in
Thailand - a reminder of the struggle here and abroad for democracy and the entrenchment
of human rights in society.
An apt reminder of the precarious situation facing those who advocate and defend human
rights was last Wednesday night, when the campsite of the Assembly of the Poor _ a group
of villagers and their friends protesting peacefully and calling for justice and redress
in regard to national projects detrimental to their welfare _ was attacked by unknown
marauders near Government House.
The lessons learned over the years here and elsewhere suggest the need to be ever vigilant
in the protection of human rights. Even in a country like Thailand, the enforcement of the
people-centred constitution and the implementation of human rights and their linkages to
the democratic process remain an arduous task, as there are always vested interests trying
to undermine the process. There thus are some key challenges.
First, there is the need for a comprehensive approach to human rights. As shown by the
plight of the Assembly of the Poor, the resolution of problems involving development and
livelihood issues in the economic, social and cultural fields depends very much upon
political advocacy and access.
The right to "rice and water'' can only truly be enjoyed if people's right to freedom
of expression, association and political participation is realised. There is thus a key
relationship between human rights, democracy, sustainable development/the environment,
peace and good governance.
An approach which fosters human rights needs to target a responsive and responsible
mindset, laws, policies, programmes, practices, mechanisms, personnel, resources,
information, education, and the broad-based cooperation and participation of stakeholders.
The message for poverty eradication and the equitable redistribution of resources should
At the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg three months ago, the
global community confirmed the target of halving the share of the world's people whose
income is below a $1 a day and the share of people who suffer from hunger by 2015. It also
targeted a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers by
2020 and that all children would be able to complete primary schooling by 2015.
Second, there is the need for a balance between security concerns and human rights. This
prickly area has been accentuated by the vortex of terrorism, particularly in the
aftermath of Sept 11.
On the one hand, there is a need to pursue and punish more effectively those involved with
terrorist acts. There is an array of international treaties to counter terrorism and
closer cooperation between countries is emerging on this issue.
On the other hand, there is also the need to tackle environmental problems and the root
causes of terrorism, including the various forms of exclusion snowballing into frustration
and alienation which ultimately lead to violence. From a human rights perspective, it can
be added that international standards already permit constraints on human rights in times
of crisis, and these need to be followed in dealing with terrorism.
Yet, even in times of crisis, various rights need to be upheld. For instance, rights such
as freedom from torture are absolute and cannot be belittled. Those who are arrested
should have quick access to the courts, legal representation and the due process of law,
including the general presumption of innocence until proven guilty.
While there is a tendency on the part of many governments to call for more restrictive
national security laws, most countries already have extensive criminal laws which can be
used against terrorism. If new laws are to be enacted, they need to be tested against
international human rights standards. They should also have a sunset clause requiring
their periodic and transparent review rather than being entrenched forever in the system.
Third, there is the need to protect human rights defenders. These defenders can be
non-governmental or (inter-) governmental, individuals or groups.
The principles for their protection are found in the Declaration on the Right and
Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect
Universally Recognised Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, adopted by the United
Nations in 1998. This declaration underlines the defenders of human rights' right to
freedom of assembly, association and expression, their right to public advocacy and
peaceful participation, and their right to effective remedy where their rights are
A worrying sign of the times is that some governments like to brand NGOs all too readily
as agents of foreigners. This has enormous implications when these organisations are also
branded extremist or terrorist when they are merely carrying out peaceful activities.
There is also a tendency to make foreign and local funding more difficult and to impose
screening and closer supervision on the work of NGOs as a whole. A sense of balance and
transparency is thus required on all sides, subject to international monitoring and the
need for non-violence.
A disquieting trend after Sept 11 is the use in several countries of anti-terrorism
measures to clamp down on human rights defenders, even though these defenders are merely
carrying out democratic activities. This implies the need for more government action to
prevent abuses and counter the culture of impunity among state actors and non-state
Fourth, there is the need for effective prevention of violations and access to justice. On
the one hand, there is a call to nurture a mindset and practices which can prevent human
rights violations through more education and capacity-building. On the other hand, access
to justice at least calls for effective redress where violations have taken place. This
should include access to formal institutions such as the courts.
It calls into play more popular participation in ensuring such justice, such as through
public hearings and inquiries to prevent and take precautions against (potential) damage.
There is also the challenge of improving the quality of law enforcers, particularly to
counter corruption and apathy.
Of special concern is access to and from marginalised and disadvantaged groups such as
women, children, migrants/workers, refugees, displaced persons, minorities, indigenous
peoples, the stateless, the elderly, those with disabilities, those with HIV/Aids, and the
poor - both rural and urban.
The recently established International Criminal Court can be used as an instrument against
individuals involved in genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. It also can be
an important tool to make those responsible for terrorism accountable internationally. Yet
too few Asia-Pacific states are members of the Rome Statute, and they need to participate
more and cooperate strongly with the work of this court.
Fifth, there is the need to promote human rights in the context of globalisation.
Globalisation has been promoted very much from the angle of greater integration of trade,
information and communications in the free market economy, epitomised by the World Trade
Organisation. Yet in that process, many groups have regrettably been left at the periphery
or discarded altogether.
The globalisation process and the WTO have not been too comfortable in dealing with human
rights issues, but these have now arrived unavoidably at their door, particularly in
relation to the right to health and access to drugs to help those in need, especially
those with HIV/Aids. The protection of intellectual property, particularly in relation to
the invention and manufacture of key drugs under the globalisation process should be
better balanced with survival needs and the rights of those ravaged by disease.
The integration of human rights in the globalisation process needs to be pursued more
strongly. It also can be advocated that if there is a conflict between globalisation and
human rights, the latter must prevail. Globalisation "with a human face" is the
preferred path to the future.
- Vitit Muntarbhorn is a professor with the faculty of law at Chulalongkorn
University. He was formerly a UN special rapporteur on the sale of children with a global
mandate under the UN Human Rights Commission (Geneva).
ANTI-AMERICAN DEMONSTRATIONS ERRUPT
On June 13, 2002, Shin Hyo-soon and Shim Mi-sun, both Korean middle
school girls were walking along a public road in Yangju Country, Kyonggi Province of Korea
on their way to celebrate a friend's birthday. A column of US military vehicles was using
this narrow road for a field exercise. In South Korea where more than 37,000 American
troops are stationed, it is not uncommon to meet and be disturbed by such convoys. On this
day, however, the presence of US military troops was more ominous. A 60-ton AVLM, used to
clear mines, pulled to the side of the road and crushed the two young girls to death.
The tragedy and the ensuing US military trial that acquitted the driver and controller of
the AVLM of any responsibility for the deaths has ignited widespread anti-American
feelings within all sectors in the society. Large anti-American demonstrations, both in
Korea and in other countries, have raised the issue of the legality of US bases on foreign
[Source: DAGA Dossier, December 2002]
HONG KONG NGO SHOW OF SOLIDARITY
Members of the NGO community in Hong Kong held a peaceful demonstration
on Monday, December 16, to express their solidarity with South Korean peoples protesting
against the growing US military interventions in the region.
In their joint statement, the NGOs highlighted the nefarious role played by the US in
undermining the Korean peoples' sovereignty and strongly endorsed their demands to bring
about lasting peace.
'We stand with the Korean people in remembering and celebrating the dignity of each of the
lives forever affected by the crimes of the powerful,' the statement read. 'We also
believe that through their continuing efforts, a new day is now coming when peace,
dignity, and respect for human life will flourish over violence and the arrogance of
The statement was signed by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), Asia Monitor
Resource Center (AMRC), Asian Students Association (ASA), Asia-Pacific Mission for
Migrants (APMM), Documentation for Action Groups in Asia (DAGA), Hong Kong Student
Christian Federation (HKSCF), United Filipinos in Hong Kong (Unifil-HK), World Student
Christian Federation (WSCF), as well as several concerned individuals. After a lively
march to the chanting of slogans, the statement was presented to representatives of the US
Consulate in Hong Kong.
The demonstrators assembled in Chater Garden around noon, where a few speakers briefly
addressed the gathering. Welcoming the demonstrators to the event on behalf of ARENA,
Aditi Chowdhury hoped that the massive peaceful protests in South Korea would inspire
similar movements in other countries that would ultimately lead to the withdrawal of US
military forces from Korea and the rest of Asia. Bruce Van Voorhis of the Asian Human
Rights Commission began on a very personal note saying: 'As an American living in Asia,
there are times when I often feel ashamed. This is one of those times.'
Personal, too, was the message from Rev. Shin Sheung Min of the World Student Christian
Federation, as he reflected upon the recent happenings in his homeland. The spontaneous
protests were a true reflection of people's anger and desires, an expression created by
thousands of ordinary people organising in their own communities, he said, and described
how large numbers of primary school children and elderly citizens were also out on the
streets in below zero temperatures, participating in the peaceful protests, which had
their roots in the peoples' deep yearnings for peace and freedom, after more than 50 years
of US military intervention in Korea.
Later, carrying placards reading 'Justice not Immunity,' 'US troops out of Korea,' 'No
sham trials for guilty Americans in Asia,' and 'Peace and Reunification,' the group
marched to the US Consulate. The spirited, colourful march moved through the streets of
Central Hong Kong with chants of 'Koreans want Justice!,' 'No immunity!,' and 'Peace in
Asia!' ringing in the air.
Upon reaching the Consulate, they asked to present the US Consul General with their
statement, along with a dossier on the crimes of the US military in Asia.
The reaction of the Consulate was interesting. Though they already had been informed of
the visit, consular staff initially refused to meet or talk with the demonstrators. Police
and security personnel surrounded them, as gates were locked around the building.
The NGO delegation refused to leave, continuing to display posters and chanting slogans.
In several impromptu speeches, demonstrators decried the arrogance of the US in the world,
finding a metaphor in the arrogance of consular officials, who did not even show the
decency to come outside and meet with them. With plenty of noise and vibrant colours, the
crowd waited in the hot sun, demanding a response from inside.
After a while, a security officer offered to accept the statement himself. The
demonstrators made it clear, however, that they would hand over the statement only to the
Consul General or an official representative. At long last the Press Spokesperson came out
to receive the statement after the security officer made sure that the demonstrators were
clear about 'US policy' in such events - maintaining a 'safe' distance from consular
officials and not touching him/her.
The statement was then read aloud, before being handed over. It read: 'The Korean people
are fed up with this continuing history of US hegemony that has threatened their prospects
for peace every day, for more than 50 years. They will not take it any more, and have a
spoken with a common voice through their vibrant, community-based initiatives against
militarism and violence. We stand in solidarity with their efforts in this important time
for peace-loving people everywhere.'
The consular representative received the statement but offered no comment, beyond saying
that the US government would consider the demands of the Korean people. To which the group
unanimously responded 'Justice, Not Rhetoric!'
[Source: ARENA, Hong Kong]
EX-DICTATOR NE WIN'S REMAINS SCATTERED
The remains of former dictator Gen. Ne Win, who died in disgrace under
house arrest, were scattered Friday by his daughter in the Yangon River in accordance with
Myanmar's state media blacked out news of Ne Win's passing away, making it clear that he
was as much a political pariah in death as in the last year of his life.
Ne Win, 91, had been under house arrest since the March 7 arrest of his eldest daughter
Sandar Win's husband and three sons for allegedly plotting a coup against the military
government. They were sentenced to death in September and have appealed.
Ne Win, once thought to wield great influence on the government until his kin's arrest,
died on Thursday morning at his lakeside villa with only Sandar Win by his side.
He was cremated Thursday afternoon in a private ceremony, denied the military honors
befitting a general. Only about 25 relatives and friends - but no government
representatives - attended.
[Source: Associated Press, Friday, December 6, 2002]
DR. CYNTHIA MAUNG RECEIVED 2002 MAGSAYSAY AWARD
The Magsaysay Award Foundation held the Ceremonial Conferment of 2002
Award for Community Leadership to Dr. Cynthia Maung on October 28, 2002 at Cabbages and
Condoms Restaurant in Bangkok, Thailand.
At the ceremony, Carmencita T. Abella, president of Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation made
welcome remarks and then read the citation. Dr. Gelia T. Castillo, vice-chairperson of
Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation conferred the award to Dr. Cynthia Maung. And Dr. Cynthia
Maung addressed the response speech. In response speech, Dr. Cynthia said, " We all
come from different parts of the world, but I'm sure that we all have the same concerns
about the global refugee crisis."
Dr. Cynthia said, " In our country, over one million people are displaced internally
and approximately two million people are displaced into neighbouring countries. For over
40 years, the military regime has controlled Burma. This has left the country isolated and
very divided with civil society almost totally disrupted. Children are born everyday
without birth registration. Children and young people continue to drop out of school. They
are vulnerable to being forced into military activities such as child soldiers and porter
as well as trafficking and prostitution. All of these problems affect the psychological
well being of the whole nation."
" This award recognizes the courage and dignity of the people who are working towards
freedom and peace for Burma. Thank you very much for supporting our struggle and for
helping us to build a new partnership with all of you." said Dr. Cynthia Maung.
Former Prime Minister of Thailand and 1997 Magsaysay Awardee for Government Service, Anand
Panyarachun made the closing remarks on behalf of the Magsaysay Awardees.
Dr. Cynthia Maung is a Karen doctor and has been treating the thousands of
Burmese-refugees for fourteen years in Mae Sot (of Thailand), a sanctuary for Burmese
refugees in flight from upheaval and civil war at home.
[Source: Asian Tribune]
VIOLENCE IN ACEH CONTINUES
The Aceh Commission for Disappearances and victims of violence (KontraS
Aceh) reported a number of violence acts that were going on in Aceh during January to
November 2002. 1,307 killed, 1,860 were tortured, 1,186 were arrested or arbitrary
detention, 377 cases of disappearances (some of them already known where he/she detained,
there is found be corpses) and 46 women were sexually harassed. Those numbers of violence
were part of practical impunity and violence acts that happened any years before. In 1999,
421 killed with summary/extrajudicial killing, 802 tortured, 293 arrested/arbitrary
detention, and 101 disappeared. In 2000, 524 summary killing cases, 419 were
arrested/arbitrary detention, and 140 disappearances. In 2001, Aceh commission for
disappearances also reported: 1,014 summary killing cases, 768 tortured, 578 were
arrested/arbitrary detention, and 377 disappearances.
Based on the data and number that is described above proves that the number of victims of
violence and acts of violence have increased each year. We ensure that, the numbers that
reported above are lower than the reality acts in field, caused by our limitation to found
the remote areas, also caused by the fear of victims or families and witness to report
about violence, Thus far there is no exact mechanism provided by the state to protect the
victims and witnesses of various crimes against humanity and human rights violations.
Based on the numbers, data or reality, Aceh commission for disappearances and victims of
violence (KontraS Aceh) is willing to submit several alternative solutions to decrease the
high number of violence acts that are going on in Aceh.
1. Both sides (Indonesian Armed Force/Indonesian Police and Free Aceh Movement) have to
build up trust building and have a goodwill to end a longer conflict in Aceh.
2. While getting peace process, both sides have to keep out any statements or threaten
each other, because it would become a serious obstacle in building trust and towards the
3. One of parties, could not be allowed to pressure another party with reason that's to
force to peace agreement be signed. Because that is not a good starting on the cessation
of hostilities and trust building, and that will create a worse conflict in the future. In
another word, conflict will not be a comprehensive ending, but only muffled a while.
4. Both sides have to talked clearly on ceasefire mechanism without under pressure,
because ceasefire is the first step to end conflict in Aceh in accordance with democratic
and dignity solution.
5. Both sides have to bring the international observer who have capability to reach all of
the areas that ensured as stages of violence, and they should have authority "to
consider" violence of agreements who has been done by either party.
6. We invoke to the state to provide guarantee for victims and witness of violence acts,
and have to announce a clearly mechanism
[Source: Kontras Aceh, December 3, 2002]
U.S. SET TO USE MINES IN IRAQ
The Pentagon is preparing to use anti-personnel land mines in a war
with Iraq, despite U.S. policy that calls for the military to stop using the mines
everywhere in the world except Korea by 2003.
To prepare for a possible war with Baghdad, the Pentagon has stockpiled land mines at U.S.
bases in countries ringing Iraq, according to Pentagon records. The decision to make the
mines available comes despite a recent report by the General Accounting Office, Congress'
investigative arm, concluding that their use in the 1991 Gulf War impeded U.S. forces
while doing nothing to impair Iraqi forces.
Using the mines would stoke the international debate over the merits and morality of using
land mines, which can remain deadly long after fighting ends.
From 15,000 to 20,000 people are killed or maimed worldwide each year by land mines,
according to the United Nations. Of those, 80% are civilians and one-third are children.
In advance of a possible war, Pentagon records show, the U.S. military has stored land
mines in Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and on Diego Garcia, a British-owned
island in the Indian Ocean where U.S. forces have a base.
In 1997, international negotiations produced a treaty to ban the use of land mines; 146
countries are parties to it. The United States has not signed the treaty, but in 1998
President Clinton directed U.S. armed forces to phase out use of land mines by 2003,
except in Korea.
[Source: Tom Squitieri, USA TODAY]
Denial of the right to refugee; Political
maneuvering, stagnation and human rights violations
One year has past since the refugees of Khudunabari, the first and
smallest Bhutanese refugee camp in Nepal, were verified on 14 Dec. 2001, but there has
been little or no activity to verify the remaining 88 percent of, or 89,100, Bhutanese
It was hoped that verification would lead to the speedy repatriation of the 100,000
Bhutanese refugees who have been in exile for over a decade. However, like the first
bilateral discussions between Nepal and Bhutan in 1993 where they agreed to do precisely
this, the refugees languish in camps, victims to political maneuvering. Repatriation seems
to be years, if not decades, away.
Despite its signature to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial
Discrimination (CERD) and ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC),
Bhutan took measures to ethnically cleanse the Nepali speaking Bhutanese known as
Lhotshampas. Lhotshampas are Southern Bhutanese of Nepali origin, most of whose
predecessors settled as farmers in southern Bhutan between 1875 and 1940. With the aim to
implement its one nation one culture policy based on the traditions of the ruling Ngalong
ethnic group, the 1958 Citizenship Act giving citizenship to Lhotshampas who had lived in
Bhutan for at least ten years and owned land, was retroactively narrowed by the
Citizenship Acts of 1977 and 1985. Not only was the requirement of residence in Bhutan
extended from ten to twenty years, but language and cultural requirements that reflected
those of the Ngalongs were also made compulsory. The 1985 Act began to be enforced
arbitrarily on southern regions alone, with additional outrageous requirements: those who
could not show documentation from 1958, even if they had documentation of residence in
1957, were not considered citizens. Protests and petitions to the king that began in 1990
resulted in violence, costing the lives of both citizens and officials. Unfortunately,
even those who petitioned peacefully were deemed "anti-national" and many were
imprisoned. Policies were created so that anyone who were deemed "anti-national"
would be evicted from the country. Evidence shows that threats, coercion, torture, rape,
arrests, and harassment were used to make many Lhotshampas leave Bhutan; during this time
homes were destroyed and 76 of the 114 schools in southern Bhutan were closed. Some
refugees were forced to sign Voluntary Migration Forms (VMF), to which the government
denies. From 1990 to 1993 over 80,000 refugees crossed the border to India and then Nepal.
Unfortunately, little has been done to change the situation. For over a decade the dignity
and livelihood of the Bhutanese refugees have been violated, and though the refugee
status, by its very nature is supposed to be temporary, refugee life has become
systematized and institutionalized. For ten years these refugees have queued for their
rationing of food and clothing, and, unlike Tibetan refugees in India, are prohibited from
working. Movement is restricted and, due to donor drain, educational opportunities for
youth have been curtailed. The bleakness of repatriation has led some to consider
violence. Furthermore, safety within the camps cannot be taken for granted. Cases of
sexual violence committed by UNHCR officials against Bhutanese refugee women and girls
have been recorded since 2000.
Though bilateral talks between Nepal and Bhutan agreeing to a verification process leading
to the repatriation began in Oct. 1993, it was only during the 10th bilateral meeting on
Dec. 2000 that they agreed to establish the Joint Verification Team (JVT), which was made
up of either Bhutanese or Nepali officials alone. The process was criticized as being
opaque ?as neither by what equation one would be deemed Bhutanese or what they would with
the findings was told ?and slow, and a mere show to appease the international community.
Though measures were taken to speed the process in the 11th bilateral talk in Aug. 2001,
Amnesty International estimated that six years would be necessary for all refugees to be
verified. Though the interviews that began in Khudunabari, the least populated of the
seven camps, ended on 14 Dec. 2001, the JVT did not disclose the results of the
verification. Furthermore, the JVT made no further actions to proceed in completing the
verification of the six remaining camps, leaving approximately 88 percent or 89,100 yet to
be verified, according to the Association of Human Rights Activists Bhutan (AHURA Bhutan).
AHURA, 99.8 percent of the Khudunabari refugee families presented valid documentary
evidences to the JVT.
A year has past, but the next (12th) bilateral talk is still pending, and both states have
yet to come to any conclusion as to how the Bhutanese refugees should be categorized.
Nepal's proposal of a two-part categorization (Bhutanese and non-Bhutanese) during the
11th bilateral talk was rejected by Bhutan. Bhutan instead insisted on the four-part
categorization agreed in 1993 a) Bonafide Bhutanese, if they were forcefully evicted, b)
Bhutanese who emigrated, c) Non-Bhutanese, and d) Bhutanese who had committed criminal
acts? but many NGOs and refugees have been concerned that this violates international
norms of citizenship and would take away the citizenship of many Bhutanese refugees,
especially since many of the terms of the categorization remain undefined. Bhutan's main
contention is that many of the refugees in the camps are not in fact true Bhutanese
nationals, but illegal migrants, local citizens of Nepal, or those who willfully forfeited
their right to citizenship by leaving the country. Evidence shows the contrary.
Furthermore, thus far no measures have been taken to discuss the repatriation procedures
and the conditions to which the refugees will return. Evidence state that the government
has pillaged houses and villages of the refugees, only to repopulate them with Northern
Bhutanese. Discrimination against the Lhotshampas continues within Bhutan's borders. Civil
servants who had relatives in refugee camps were forced to retire and Lhotshampas continue
to be harassed. Though Bhutan is party to the CRC, and is obligated not to discriminate
children based on ethnicity or descent, in June 2001, the Committee on CRC expressed
concern because Lhotshampas children received de facto discrimination in access to
education and services.
Role of the UNHCR:
Though the UNHCR's responsibility is to promote the conclusion and ratification of
international conventions for the protection of refugees, its involvement to speed the
repatriation of Bhutanese refugees has been disappointing and the UNHCR remained
unresponsiveness to Oxfam-GB's 2000 report on sexual abuse in the camps. Only after a Nov.
2002 expose from the Khatmandu Post did the UNHCR headquarters investigate and admit that
16 UNHCR officials were guilty of committing sexual violence against Bhutanese refugee
women and children. As the UNHCR has taken steps to review the refugee camp situation, it
can take greater participation in the verification process, urging both governments to
come to a proper conclusion regarding the categorization of the refugees.
Where has the International Community been?
Though the international community responded with outrage to the ethnic cleansing in
Kosovo, little consistent attention has been given to the plight of the Bhutanese
refugees. Governments and donor agencies continued to pour resources into Bhutan, and only
a handful of NGOs sought to place the needed pressure on the governments of Bhutan and
Nepal. Though the European Parliament passed a June 2000 resolution, calling on Bhutan and
Nepal with cooperation with all parties involved to reach an agreement for the early and
voluntary repatriation of refugees to their country of origin, its members like Denmark,
Austria, and the Netherlands continue to donate funds to the Bhutanese government, without
directly addressing the refugee matter. These three states, in addition to other donors
like Japan and Switzerland are all party to the CSR. Furthermore, donor states, which also
include India and Kuwait, have all ratified or acceded to the International Covenant on
Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural
Rights, and affirm that fundamental rights are not exclusive to their State's citizenry
but to all human beings.
Furthermore, India is Bhutan's largest donor country its lack of involvement has been
disappointing, particularly because a) 25,000 Bhutanese refugees are said to be residing
in India and b) many of the Nepal-based refugees had fled first to India, only to be taken
eastward to Nepal. The Indo-Bhutan Treaty of 1949 states that while India will not
interfere in Bhutan's domestic administration, Bhutan will be guided by India's advice to
international relations and as India has great influence as a sub-regional leader, India
can play a critical role in furthering the discussion between Nepal and Bhutan.
As there has been little movement since the verification of the first camp, and as the
Bhutanese refugee situation is an international matter, AHRC urges you to send letters to
the governments of a) Bhutan, b) Nepal, and c) India, d) donor countries (Denmark,
Austria, Kuwait, the Netherlands, Japan, Switzerland), and the UNHCR.