11 August 2010
The UK Border Agency is today welcoming 37 Bhutanese refugees into the UK.
The move follows the agreement under the Gateway Protection Programme for the UK to take 750 refugees from a number of different locations in 2010-11. This includes an eventual total of 100 Bhutanese refugees who have been living in Nepalese refugee camps since 1992 or 1993, with no prospect of local integration in Nepal or repatriation to Bhutan. It is the first time that the UK has resettled Bhutanese refugees.
The UK Border Agency sent a resettlement mission team to Nepal in May to interview refugees. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has also assessed the refugees' needs and the most appropriate country for their resettlement. So far, 32,000 Bhutanese refugees have left the camps for eight Western countries, with most going to the USA.
The Gateway Protection Programme is operated by the UK Border Agency in partnership with UNHCR. The programme is a legal route for particularly vulnerable refugees to reach safety without being driven into the hands of people traffickers, and shows the UK's commitment to providing a safe haven for people escaping torture or death. Our Gateway Protection Programme page contains more information.
The UK has resettled 2,690 refugees since the programme began in 2004, including Liberian refugees from Sierra Leone, Congolese refugees from Tanzania, Zambia and Uganda, and Iraqi refugees from Jordan.