Bhutanese refugees resettled in Europe have gathered in Geneva to launch protests against Bhutan's atrocities against ethnic minorities in front of the UN office in Geneva on Friday.
Bhutan presents its first human rights report for Universal Periodic Review (UPR) before the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva today.
According to Bhutan News Service, a refugee run news agency, the agitating refugees met with English desk editor at the Communication Office of Lutheran World Federation (LWF) on Thursday as part of their lobby. The group was interviewed on the contemporary issues like ongoing resettlement procedures, life after resettlement, Human Rights situation in Bhutan and the message to the ongoing UPR.
According to reports, Human Rights Reports prepared by different Bhutanese groups, organisations and political parties were made widely available to the delegates from different countries in the UPR meeting.
The group met separately with Thomas Hunecke, Human Rights Officer, Asia-Pacific Unit in the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on Wednesday. The officer was informed about the gross human rights violations in Bhutan for last two decades, the rights of the Bhutanese children, the cause of the refugee issue and present situation of human rights inside Bhutan.
According to The Kathmandu Post, Bhutan's own human right report submitted for review makes no mention of refugees.
"This is an international forum and we don't want to give Bhutan a free pass," the paper quoted Ram Bahadur Karki Chettri, one of the organisers of the protest.
In the mean time, a new book on Bhutan's human rights situation has been published. According to apfanews.com, another news site run by the refugees, the book documents human rights violations in Bhutan from 1990 suppression to recent political changes and thereafter.
The book, entitled 'Human Rights and Justice in Bhutan', includes instances of human rights violations such as delay in repatriation of the Bhutanese refugees, restricting voting rights to 80,000 Nepali-speaking population still living in the country and thousands of monks, failure of the government to set up human rights mechanism, absence of any human rightsorganizations in the field, denial to right to education to thousands of children as parents failed to no objection certificate, discrimination in providing security clearance that is vital in obtaining business license and other government facilities and failure of the state on birth registration of the children born after 1990 (Bhutan ratified CRC in 1991), failure of the state for domestication of the state laws according to CEDAW (Bhutan ratified CEDAW in 1981).
Under UPR, the Council is mandated to review the rights record of all member-states every four years. nepalnews.com