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Monday, December 1, 2008

Bhutanese refugees resettle in the United States

Many Bhutanese immigrants have settled in American cities like Pittsburgh where housing is affordable and opportunities are open for them. The United States has agreed to resettle 60,000 displaced ethnic Nepalese from Bhutan. The Associated Press reports their situation and the cultural adaptations they experience.

"Unlike other, high-profile refugee groups such as Iraqis and Burmese, the ethnic Nepalese have gone largely unnoticed. Since there are no Bhutanese communities in the United States, most are being resettled near cities like Pittsburgh, where housing is affordable and officials hope diverse populations will reinvigorate urban areas hurt by deindustrialization.

Charitable organizations responsible for resettlement get the families apartments, food, Social Security cards and English classes, and help them find jobs. After three months, the families will have to provide for themselves, usually working minimum wage jobs.

Bhutan is a predominantly Buddhist constitutional monarchy bordered by China and India. In the early 1990s, the monarchy instituted sweeping legislation that effectively stripped the ethnic Nepalese, a Hindu minority also known as the Lhotsampas, of their citizenship, their right to own property and their ability to get government jobs.

Since then, an estimated 100,000 ethnic Nepalis have fled to refugee camps."

Links to other posts on Bhutan:

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