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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 March, 2004, 17:23 GMT 18:23 UK
Bhutan dissident's hunger strike
A leading Bhutanese dissident, Tek Nath Rizal, has begun an indefinite hunger strike to support demands for the repatriation of Bhutanese refugees who have been living in camps in neighbouring Nepal for more than a decade.

Mr Rizal began refusing food and water in the Nepalese capital, Kathmandu, following the repeated failure of negotiations between the Bhutanese and Nepalese authorities to resolve their dispute.

More than 100,000 Bhutanese refugees, mostly Hindus of Nepalese origin, left the country in 1990 following alleged political repression by the government of the Buddhist kingdom.

Bhutan says most of the people living in the camps are illegal Nepalese immigrants and that it is only prepared to allow back a few thousand of them who it regards as genuine Bhutanese refugees.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service



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