Bhutan’s growth rate second highest in South Asia; HUROB makes an appeal to Prachanda to raise issue of Bhutanese refugees at the UN; US ready to take in more refugees
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  • Reports noted that Bhutan’s growth rate was the second highest in South Asia. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has estimated that by 2008, Bhutan’s growth rate would be over 14 percent. A major reason for the current increase in the rate of growth was the export of power from the Tala hydropower station to India. Bhutan’s current account balance had also switched from deficit to a surplus of 10.5 percent of the GDP, with the ADB projecting the surplus for 2009 at 4 percent1.

    Meanwhile, the issue of Bhutanese refugees again came to the fore with the Human Rights Organization of Bhutan (HUROB) making an appeal to Nepal’s Prime Minister, Puspa Kamal Dahal to raise the issue at the UN General Assembly. The organization, in a letter addressed to Prachanda, stated that they were “victims of Bhutan government’s arbitrary policy of ethnic cleansing, targeting the Nepali-speaking southern Bhutanese.” It criticized the third country resettlement programme, charging that the programme had sidelined the “right to return of more than 100,000 Bhutanese citizens dwelling in Nepal2.”

    US Ambassador to Nepal Nancy Powell also stated that the figure of 60,000 refugees was not a limit set by the United States and added that the US would be ready to take in more refugees, if they expressed an interest in the third country resettlement programme3.