U.S. Resettlement Offer Gives Hope, Creates Tension Among Bhutanese Refugees

U.S. Resettlement Offer Gives Hope, Creates Tension Among Bhutanese Refugees

KATMANDU, Nepal -- Tucked away in the forests of eastern Nepal, acres of neatly organized bamboo huts accommodate the victims of one of the world's most intractable refugee situations. For 16 years, tens of thousands of Bhutanese refugees have languished in seven overcrowded camps, relying on international aid for food and shelter, and slowly losing hope.

Today, many are pinning the last of those fading hopes on an offer from the United States to resettle 60,000 people. But the offer has also caused a schism amongst the refugees. While many see this as the only viable option to move on with their lives, a bullying minority insist that repatriation should be the only option.

"If you speak of resettlement, your head will be in a bag and your body will be at the side of the river," was the message hand-delivered to two camp secretaries who were in favor of the U.S. offer, according to a new report from Human Rights Watch.

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