Geneva, Switzerland (BBN) – Over 5,000 refugees from Bhutan have left their camps in Nepal to resettle in third countries this year, in one of the United Nations refugee agency’s largest and most promising resettlement programs.

The vast majority of the refugees have left for the United States, followed by Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Norway, Canada and Denmark, under the program which began only this year, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).



Over 50,000 refugees have expressed interest in resettlement – just under half of the total 107,000 refugees from Bhutan who live in seven camps in eastern Nepal. “Some of them have been in exile for as long as 17 years,” UNHCR spokesperson William Spindler told a news conference in Geneva.

Regular meetings have been held with the refugees to discuss resettlement and other durable solutions, as well as provide information for women at risk or people with disabilities, according to a UN press statement.

The UNHCR attributes the success of the program to close cooperation with the Nepali Government, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the resettlement countries.

BBN/SI/SS/AD-23September08-11:55 PM (BST)