May, 3: The Department of National Identity Card and Civil Registration are considering registering the births and deaths of the refugees living inside the country. Although it is being discussed, officials said both the home ministry and the department are positive about it.
The government only allows the birth registration of refugees so far. As per the directive of the home ministry, refugee children can be registered in the respective ward offices, but other events are not recorded.
The Nepal government has given refugee status to thousands of victimized Tibetans and Bhutanese people. After third-country resettlement, the number of Bhutanese refugees living in camps in Jhapa and Morang has come down to around 6,300 and Tibetan refugees living in Nepal stands around 12,000.
There were talks of providing refugee identity cards and permanent account numbers (PAN) to Bhutanese refugees when Sher Bahadur Deuba was the prime minister, but that did not happen. Separately, the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs has also consulted legal experts and human rights defenders on how to initiate vital registrations of refugees, its advantages and disadvantages and other legal procedures.
According to the UN refugee agency, the UNHCR helped resettle more than 113,500 Bhutanese refugees in 8 different countries in one of the largest resettlement programmes globally between 2007 and 2016.
As per the home ministry data, as many as 9,101 Tibetan refugees are living in various places in Kathmandu Valley like Bauddha, Swayambhu, Pharping, Jawalakhel and Jorpati. There are Tibetan refugees also in Kaski, Solukhumbu and Baglung, among other districts of Nepal.
As per Article 11 (4) of the constitution, every minor found within Nepal’s borders, the whereabouts of whose father and mother are unknown, shall, until the father or the mother of the child is traced, be a citizen of Nepal by descent.