Chapter

Refugees from Shangri-La

Michael Hutt

in Unbecoming Citizens

Published in print August 2005 | ISBN: 9780195670608
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199081806 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195670608.003.0015
Refugees from Shangri-La

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This chapter summarizes the events which flowed from the Lhotshampas' arrival in Nepal in the 1990s and the establishment of the refugee camps there. By 1994, Bhutanese refugee camps had been established at Timai, Goldhap, Beldangi and Khudunabari in Jhapa district, and Sanishchare (Pathri) in Morang. The author discusses important issues regarding the position of minority ethnicity (such as that of the Lhotshampa in Bhutan) in a nation state busily engaged with the production of an ‘ideology of peoplehood.’ He poses the question of state justice towards minority communities (who identify themselves closely with Bhutan) in the context of the modern world requiring that everyone must belong to a nation state. The author asks that if the Lhotshampa in Nepal are not Bhutanese, then to which state do they belong? He concludes by writing that Bhutan is entitled to determine who its own nationals are; but it cannot impute any other nationality to those it has disowned.

Keywords: refugee camps; Lhotshampas; Nepal; Bhutan; Shambhala; stateless; Bhutanese cultural identity

Chapter.  10493 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Migration Studies

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