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Monday, 24 April, 2000, 07:28 GMT 08:28 UK
Bhutan crticised over Nepalese refugees

A visiting delegation from the Euroepan Union has criticised the government of Bhutan for what it says is its hard line stance preventing Bhutanese refugees living in camps in Nepal from returning home.

The head of the delegation, Gerard Collins, said that there can be no excuse for the treatment the refugees are being given.

The delegation visited a refuge camp Jhapa nearly four-hundred kilometres from the capital, Kathmandu.

There are about a-hundred-thousand Bhutanese of ethnic Nepalese origin living in eight camps, run by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.

They had fled Bhutan in 1990 following a ban by King Jigme Singhe Wangchuk on the use of Nepalese language in schools and colleges. Mr Collins said he was concernd about the plight of the refugees, particulary the seventeen-thousand children born in the camps since 1990. Nepal and Bhutan have held several rounds of talks to try to resolve the problem, without success.

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