London: For the first time, Britain on Thursday
welcomed 37 refugees from Bhutan into the country under a
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, Home Office sources
This includes an eventual total of 100 Bhutanese
refugees who have been living in Nepal refugee camps since
1992 or 1993, with no prospect of local integration in Nepal
or repatriation to Bhutan.
The UK Border Agency had 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.
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.