February 26, 2021
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Finding solace
Bhutanese refugees in Nepal getting resettled Bidur Thapa remembers the day six years ago when he came to Nepal as a refugee from Bhutan. He struggled to understand the culture and language of his new land as most Bhutanese are unfamiliar with Nepalese way of life. Six years into the resettlement of tens of thousands of Bhutanese refugees to third countries from camps in Nepal, experts say there are lessons from the operation that can inform similar efforts around the world. Since the launch of the programme in late 2007, more than 86,000 of the 108,000 Bhutanese refugees in Nepal have been permanently resettled in eight countries-the United States, Canada, the Netherlands, Denmark, Australia, Norway, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom-making the operation among the world’s largest of its kind. “The main lesson from this refugee situation has been that strong commitment and cooperation of the states can help unlock protracted refugee situations,” Cecile Fradot, senior protection officer at the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) Nepal office said. A protracted refugee situation (PRS) refers to a situation in which refugees have lived in exile for five years or more, and where there is a low likelihood of resolving their situation in the near future, according to the PRS Project a joint research initiative by Oxford University’s Refugee Studies Centre, the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, and the Internal Displacement Monito
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