U.S. Ambassador to Nepal Alaina Teplitz recently met with and bid farewell to Ms. Sahri Maya Thatal, the 90,000th Bhutanese refugee to be resettled in the United States. Ms. Thatal and her four children left Nepal on September 21 to start their new lives in the northeastern state of New Hampshire. Ambassador Teplitz visited the Beldangi Bhutanese Refugee Camp in Jhapa last week where she discussed the third-country resettlement program which is close to completion.
In a ceremony at the U.S. Embassy, Ms. Thatal shared her hopes for new opportunities for herself and her children in the United States after spending over 20 years in a refugee camp. Paul Norton, Chief of Mission for the International Organization for Migration, the IOM, and Kevin Allen, Country Representative for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, or UNHCR, joined Ambassador Teplitz in bidding farewell to Ms. Thatal. The total number of Bhutanese refugees who have been resettled to third countries has reached 105,000, with 90,000 in the United States.
The United States, in coordination with the government of Nepal, UNHCR, IOM, and the governments of Australia, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, and the United Kingdom began resettling Bhutanese refugees from eastern Nepal in 2007.
“The Nepali people and government have been very gracious hosts to refugees for decades and the third-country resettlement of Bhutanese refugees is one of the most successful refugee management stories in recent memory,” said Ambassador Teplitz.
“However, the massive resettlement program is coming to an end. While the international community continues to ask the Government of Bhutan to repatriate those refugees who would like to return, finding a durable solution here in Nepal for those who will remain is critical.”