Wednesday, 11 August 2010

So much for Gross National Happiness...


The Himalayan ex-kingdom of Bhutan made loads of headlines with it's invention of Gross National Happiness as a measure of the country's performance. Hippies, Greenies and assorted trendy lefties all squealed with delight at this innovation.

But if Bhutan's such a happy place why are we housing refugees from this 'happy country'?

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.

Not such a great idea after all it seems!


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interesting one, Bhutan is suffering from a Maoist insurgency in the same way that Nepal, Sikkim and Assam are. These refugees were evicted about 20-25 years ago, possibly ethnic cleansing or possibly in response to illegal immigration from Eastern Nepal. There is no clear evidence either way although my feeling is that it was the former.

The King partially liberalised the economy 10 years or so ago, and there has been increasing unrest since then as well.

Fascinating place though, albeit struggling with modernisation.