2013 UNHCR country operations profile - Nepal
Nepal continues to host a large number of refugees and asylum-seekers, mainly from Bhutan. However, since the start of a third-country resettlement programme in late 2007, more than 69,000 of the original 108,000 refugees from Bhutan have departed for eight different countries. The United States of America has accepted the largest number of refugees, followed by Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. The resettlement departures have allowed the Government of Nepal, with the support of UNHCR, to reduce the number of refugee camps for the refugees from Bhutan from seven to two.
UNHCR has submitted the plans for a five-year Community Based Development Programme/Transitional Solutions Initiative (CBDP/TSI) to the Government for its approval. The CBDP/TSI is a comprehensive strategy to facilitate the transition from humanitarian assistance to sustainable development in the refugee-hosting and impacted areas, promoting peaceful coexistence between communities and pending the voluntary repatriation of the refugees. While Nepal has generously hosted thousands of refugees from Bhutan and other countries for several decades, it is not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention or its 1967 Protocol.
UNHCR continues to advocate for Nepal's accession to the international refugee instruments and the adoption of a national legal framework to address asylum issues.
Although the number of refugees in Nepal is declining, the needs for protection and assistance among those who remain are high. UNHCR will continue to seek comprehensive solutions for the more than 44,000 refugees from Bhutan still in Nepal as of July 2012. In 2013, UNHCR will facilitate the resettlement of up to 15,000 refugees. Resettlement referrals have seen a remarkable 99 per cent acceptance rate, and more than 34,000 of the remaining refugees have expressed their interest in resettlement.
While fulfilling the protection-related needs of the remaining refugees from Bhutan remains a priority, UNHCR is planning to implement the CBDP/TSI with the support of the Government and the UN Country Team. These activities have been designed to promote peaceful coexistence and the sharing of public services by the remaining refugees and the approximately 350,000 local residents in the refugee-hosting areas. The final programme document is currently pending the Government of Nepal's approval.
UNHCR continues to provide protection and assistance to some 300 urban refugees and asylum-seekers from some 10 different countries. They are considered as illegal immigrants under the law of Nepal. This creates protection challenges for UNHCR, although in practice the authorities have been respecting the principle of non-refoulement. The search for durable solutions continues to be challenging, and resettlement remains the only option.
Some 800 Tibetans continue to transit through Nepal to India annually, although this number may be lower in 2013. UNHCR protects and assists them during their short stay in Nepal and facilitates their safe transit. Nepal also hosts an estimated 15,000 Tibetans who arrived in the country prior to 1990 and were recognized by the Government as refugees. However, not all of them have been registered and many remain without documentation. UNHCR will continue to promote registration and documentation of the long-staying Tibetans.
A number of eligible Nepalese do not have citizenship certificates, which has an impact on their access to rights and services. UNHCR and other agencies conduct a broad range of educational and sensitization activities aiming at helping those without citizenship certificates to gain access to such documentation.
|UNHCR 2013 planning figures for Nepal|
|TYPE OF POPULATION||ORIGIN||JAN 2013||DEC 2013|
|TOTAL IN COUNTRY||OF WHOM ASSISTED
|TOTAL IN COUNTRY||OF WHOM ASSISTED
|1. UNHCR previously reported an estimated number of 800,000 persons who do not possess a citizenship certificate as stateless. The Government of Nepal has stated that individuals cannot be regarded as stateless only on the ground that they have not obtained the citizenship certificate. UNHCR will continue its dialogue with the Government of Nepal to clarify and address the situation.|
|Persons in refugee-like situations||Bhutan||1,890||-||1,890||-|
|Others of concern||660||250||660||250|
Main objectives and targets for 2013
Favourable protection environment
Access to territory is improved and the risk of refoulement reduced.
No credible cases of refoulement are reported.
Security from violence and exploitation
The risk of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) is reduced and quality of the response to it is improved.
All survivors of SGBV receive support.
The protection of children is strengthened.
Best Interest Determination (BID) interviews are conducted for 75 per cent of unaccompanied and separated children.
Some 25 per cent of out-of-school adolescents are assisted through targeted programmes.
Basic needs and essential services
The health status of the population is improved.
All persons of concern have access to primary health care.
The population has optimal access to education.
All persons of concern aged 6-13 are enrolled in primary education.
The potential for resettlement is realized.
All identified persons of concern are resettled or have their cases submitted for resettlement.
All persons of concern deemed to need urgent or emergency support are resettled.
Strategy and activities in 2013
UNHCR will continue to implement the large-scale resettlement programme for refugees from Bhutan in cooperation with the Government of Nepal, resettlement countries and IOM. At the same time, it will work to protect and assist refugees in the camps, with a particular focus on women, girls and people with specific needs.
UNHCR will continue to work with the international community to promote comprehensive solutions, in particular voluntary repatriation.
To help refugees make free and informed decisions, UNHCR will provide information on durable solutions through targeted sessions as well as mobile counselling, which has already been successful in the camps. Anti-fraud efforts will be given priority. UNHCR will also strengthen measures to prevent, identify and respond to child protection issues, particularly for children with specific needs and those who are unaccompanied or separated. The risk of exposure to SGBV for individuals deemed especially vulnerable to it will be significantly reduced through targeted and sustainable community-based SGBV prevention programmes.
In cooperation with the Government and the UN Country Team and after the programme document has been endorsed by the Government of Nepal, UNHCR will implement joint projects under the CBDP/TSI for refugees and host communities. It will also encourage other UN agencies to work in refugee-hosting areas.
UNHCR will continue to promote the protection of urban refugees and asylum-seekers. It will also work to ensure that refugees' basic needs are met and vulnerabilities addressed in a timely and systematic manner. Resettlement as a durable solution for urban refugees with specific needs or protection concerns will be pursued alongside advocacy with the Government to simplify the visa waiver process for refugees accepted for resettlement.
For Tibetan new arrivals, UNHCR will ensure comprehensive protection and assistance and facilitate their travel to India.
UNHCR will also work closely with the Government at all levels to ensure respect for the principle of non-refoulement and advocate for the issuance of refugee documents to the long-staying population of Tibetans in Nepal.
In collaboration with other UN partners, UNHCR will sensitize the Government and NGO partners on the issuance of citizenship certificates and birth registration documents. Particular attention will be paid to women and disadvantaged groups.
The loss of skilled and experienced refugee workers as a result of resettlement poses challenges for the maintenance of basic services in the camps. The commitment of the eight core resettlement countries will be essential if family unity in resettlement is to be maintained. Some family members of those who have been resettled have expressed a wish to observe the lives of their relatives in the resettlement countries before taking the decision to declare their interest in this durable solution. This is particularly so among vulnerable individuals who face the prospect of short-term or permanent separation from their already resettled family members.
The situation requires appropriate resources to undertake individual counselling and organize out-reach information dissemination taking into account the specific needs of vulnerable individuals.
Organization and implementation
In 2013, UNHCR will liaise closely with other UN agencies on issues of common interest. Once the programme has been approved by the Government of Nepal, development agencies will be involved in implementing the CBDP/TSI activities that would benefit both refugees and host communities. With regard to access to citizenship certificates, UNHCR will work with other UN agencies, local NGOs and academic institutions to advocate for laws and practices that meet international standards as well as for the adoption of a national refugee law.
UNHCR will continue to work closely with the Government, receiving countries and IOM on the resettlement of refugees from Bhutan. Partnerships with the local authorities and Armed Police Force will be strengthened, particularly in the areas of refugee safety, delivery of assistance and third-country resettlement.
The reduction in the number of refugees in the camps as a result of resettlement has led to a drop in the overall requirements to USD 15.6 million for 2013. The cuts are mainly related to the camp management programme for refugees from Bhutan, although there are increases in the requirements for CBDP/TSI components after the programme has been endorsed by the Government of Nepal. Protection and assistance programmes for other persons of concern will continue.
Source: UNHCR Global Appeal 2013 Update
UNHCR contact information
|The UNHCR Representation in Nepal|
|Style of Address||The UNHCR Representative in Nepal|
|Street Address||Dhara Marga-1, Anil Kuti, Maharajgunj, Kathmandu
|Mailing Address||P.O Box 2374
|Telephone||+977 1 441 2521|
|Facsimile||+977 1 4412853|
|Time Zone||GMT + 5:45|