Bhutan Peoples' Party
The implementation of various policies of the Royal Government of Bhutan played with the sentiments of the people and deprived the diverse community of their right to nationality, culture and language. People became discontented and frustrated. Particularly, those in the southern Bhutan were affected intolerably.
The Bhutan Peoples’ Party has strong view that the wind of Democracy will definitely blow towards Bhutan in near future. Party has been tirelessly working for creating a strong force of the Bhutanese youths with deep-rooted knowledge of Democratic Socialism. The BPP is the single largest political Party of Bhutan, which has successfully organized countrywide democratic peaceful rallies and other programs. Party committed to achieve its ultimate goal of Constitutional Monarchy, Parliamentary Democracy and Multi Party system through peaceful means.
WE ARE COMMITTED TO :
Establishment of a true, functional, vibrant and inclusive Democracy, Parliamentary system of government, Constitutional Monarchy, Multi-party system, rule of law, human rights and social justice through peaceful means,
Establishment of an independent judiciary. independent election commission, and to amend the citizenship act with a view to making it uniform to internationally accepted norms,
Drafting a new Constitution in consistent to the democratic norms and values, which shall uphold and ensure the expectations and aspirations of the Bhutanese people,
Safeguard national sovereignty; respect the Royal Institution, promote unity and prosperity of the nation and the people,
Establishment of National Human Rights Commission for the compliance and effective implementation of the provisions of the UN charters, declarations, conventions and covenants, including rights of linguistic, religious and cultural minorities,
Extend solidarity with the people and the nations challenging the despotic and military-ruled governments, defend human dignity,
Call for an end to injustice, child labour exploitation, human sufferings and demand for an end to the arms race, both conventional and nuclear, as well as articulate the importance of non-offensive defiance including the notion of peace zone,
Strengthen the long-term political relations with the countries across the globe giving due respect to the interests of the neighbors,
Foster close relations with the member parties of the Socialist International and maintain sustained membership of the august body.
Constitution of Bhutan grants enormous powers to the monarchy. It has given legitimacy to the King’s absolute power and that violates the very essence of the Constitution. Article 2 of the Constitution prohibits the Parliament from amending any of his constitutional powers. Under the National Security Act of 1992, it is treason to speak against the King, people, and the country. The Bhutanese people are confirmed that too much power concentrated in one hand is too dangerous. More than two decades long turmoil in Bhutan is the direct consequence of this. No civilized society accepts the legitimacy of absolute monarchy.
Monarchy is hereditary, an inherited system, so neither elected nor democratic and not even legitimate. Democracy requires popular legitimacy, which is achieved through electoral process only. But when the electoral democracy joins hand with hereditary monarchy, this allows the new political system to get the best of both systems – a Constitutional Monarchy. A healthy constitution will not only legitimize the constitutional monarchy but also will guarantee stability, justice and prosperity of the nation as a whole. The Constitutional Monarchy serves democracy as a symbol of national unity of diverse socio- political forces, a political pluralism. It also combines continuity. The constitutional monarch with a long history of ruling experience can guide the new democratic government and work as a force within the constitution al framework for the betterment of democratic process, but it shall not directly control and run the government.
Modern States are based on the newer values of democracy, vibrant, inclusive, human rights, equality and social justice. All the ethnic groups shall be treated at par with each other. BPP denounces the ill-conceived ethnocide concept of “One Nation One People” which was basically conceived and implemented to strengthen the project the vestiges of feudalism devoid of human control. The slogan is blatantly communal. Communalism arrests the national development and integration, and acts as a social inertia. We believe the nation is the supreme point of loyalty and citizen’s loyalty to his national cultures; language, dress, code of conduct, religion, ethnicity etc. are contributory to this nucleus.
BPP shall achieve national integration by actually integrating different ethnic identities fairly and evenly without misinterpreting the true concept of national integration as it has occurred in our nation-state. The marriage alliance, land distribution and settlement reforms shall contribute to this venture. The party believes in value-based politics defined by human interest. Nationalism, national integration and development can be achieved only by linking them to participate in national political process. The party believes that the electorate must be mobilized through ideologically oriented party system built upwards from grass roots level.
BPP encourages the members of all the ethnic communities to join the party. The party shall encourage inter-community harmony and tolerance. The integration policy shall be based on common interests and destiny.
All religious observance must be voluntary. The relationship between the State and the religious denominations must be governed in accordance with the principles of democracy and religious freedom.
As all the religions will have to be managed by their practitioners, the state will be kept out of religious affairs of populace. The clergy shall not be allowed to circumscribe the law making powers of the elected legislature. BPP believes in secularism-“equal respects to all religious and non- interference in the religious affairs of an individual.” The religion shall confine itself to dealing exclusively with relationship between man and god and not politics.
The Party shall accept Dzongkha, Tshangla and Nepali as national languages at par with each other. The languages yet to be developed shall be developed. English shall be respected as the international language and continue to remain the medium of communication and instructions in all Official matters and in Educational institutions. The language of the Minority communities shall be respected and developed accordingly. Be they of minority or majority every language deserves the equal respect and treatment.
Culture, Traditions, Art and Literature.
Bhutan has a unique cultural value, which has survived throughout the generations. The classical dance is reflected by their religious mask-pageants and ritual dances. The Bhutanese literatures mainly the Kargyur, Tengyur and Namthars containing the philosophical and liturgical literary heritage of Buddhism are not only voluminous but treasures of knowledge containing annotations of the treasures on various sciences- commentaries, grammars, logic, astrology, veterinary science, medicines and historical legends of Bhutan.
Bhutanese art is symbolic, non-secular and rare. It derives its inspiration from Bhuddistic doctrinal lore and Tantric mythology. It is highly decorative, ornamental and centered in all the monastic centers. The Bhutanese calligraphic art has a richness and illustrative genius.
The BPP shall not interfere in the areas of traditions, Culture, art and literature of any ethnic group. Efforts shall be made to preserve the culture of all ethnic groups. No dresses shall be made compulsory except for schools and security force. Gho and Kira as a national dress shall remain an official dress. The party likes to see the national costume being used honorably as it is used in other nations.
The BPP while respecting the age-old literature, art and architecture of the country conforms to its preservation, development and promotion. For the diverse identities and promotion of the country’s uniqueness, the BPP shall work to safeguard and preserve the unique architectural magnificence of Dzongs, Chortens, Lhakhangs, places of worship and the cultural sentiments of the people.
Co-operation between professional artists and amateurs is essential in order to respect both diversity and equality in various cultural manifestations.
The cultural aspects of earlier periods pertaining to various majority and minority communities shall be preserved and brought to life. This will strengthen the links between generations and give people a closer sense of identity with their local community. In this way better prospects will be created for the development of cultural tourism and conservation of the cultural heritage.
The exchange of experience and ideas across linguistic boundaries will be encouraged. Cultural policy is an important means of developing and enhancing freedom of expression. Diversity will be encouraged. Public radio, television, newspapers, magazines and periodicals shall be responsible for an independent development of culture. It shall function economically independent and against the influence of political parties. The mass media shall represent all the diverse cultural groups in the service of the Bhutanese general public.
Bhutanese legal system is based on the theocratic principles of medieval period. The judiciary in Bhutan is important in projecting the omnipotence of the absolute monarch and protection of the feudal interests. BPP stands for the rule of law, based on legal safeguards, free and independent courts of law, and universal equality before the law and economic possibilities for all people to assert their rights. The administration of justice shall be based on public process in all instances and provide the participation in the judicial processes. Legislation must be founded on respect for the equal and inviolable dignity of every individual.
Civil rights and liberties
Political Democracy presupposes freedom of expression and religion, the right to personal integrity and privacy, and freedom of opinion and the press. The society must be able to safeguard the diversity of opinion formation, freedom of association and peaceful assembly with the right to demonstrate in the public for one’s opinions and the right to trade union organizations to resort to direct action. Similarly, political democracy presupposes a ban on all kinds of discrimination.
The BPP wishes to achieve equality between women and men for all human beings have equal value. Women and men must have equal rights, obligations and opportunities. This means aiming at right to work. Work will be sufficiently well paid for each individual to become economically self-supporting for the whole of his or her life. It means sharing responsibility for the care of family members at home. It means to take part in active politics, trade union affairs and other matters of common concern at work and its community. The promotion of equal opportunities must proceed along the elimination of injustices between different groups in society. It is the ultimate expression of the determination of the BPP to establish a society of equality and solidarity.
The foreign policy shall be to safeguard Bhutan’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. The BPP maintain both “Continuity and change” in its foreign policy. Continuity in the context of preserving the peace and age-old friendship with the neighbors and to contribute towards an international order characterized by well-being, liberty and the dignity of all mankind. Change will be in the feudal attitude, towards transparency, openness and initiatives. To this end, Bhutan shall pursue an active foreign policy of non-alignment in regional an international relations ensuring flexibility in the style and substance of its diplomacy.
The BPP is committed to safeguard the civil, political and economic rights of all peoples enshrined in the Universal Declarations and Conventions of the United Nation. In the context of emerging global scenario, regional cooperation, especially among the developing countries has become a precondition for their mutual development and prosperity. The objectives of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) are yet to be internalized by its member States. The BPP favors the increased cooperation and supports its policies in harmonizing the diverse interests to encompass area which have not yet received sufficient attention. The BPP believes SAARC must identify common problems, work out strategies for intensification of cooperation, and derive mutual benefits.
The BPP shall foster peaceful co-existence, mutual trust and confidence under Panchsheel among SAARC member countries and develop favorable external conditions for the socio-economic development of the country. The BPP shall maintain cordial and friendly relationship with India under the bond of age old friendship and mutual trust of the people and governments of both the countries.
The BPP believes in having a non-offensive defensive mechanism as a part of the security policy. For the preservation of world peace and harmony, the BPP shall contribute in the “peace keeping” under the UN Security Council. BPP views the efficient civil defense is an important part of the total defense establishment.
Fairer distribution of resources, opportunities must be achieved through an equalization of incomes and wealth. The BPP shall design an economic policy and labour market policy with a view to secure the right to work, since universal entitlement to work is fundamental to equality and to the prospects of a fair distribution throughout the community. Equal work must be equally paid. A second pre-requisite of this kind of fair distribution is a collectively funded social security policy.
The taxation system shall be designed to equalize incomes and wealth. The services and infrastructures shall be made available to all members of the community according to needs, not according to personal influence or interests. The power of the owners of capital will be broken and influence on enterprise shall be evenly distributed. Employees will be given influence over their places of work.
Ownership and Capital Formation
Society requires, through legislation and statutory instruments, the rights and obligation associated with ownership. This includes the conducive and workable environment and employees entitlements through their trade union organizations. Bank, credit institutes and insurance companies shall come under public supervision.
The BPP opposes the concentration of economic power and oligopoly. It shall promote collective formation of capital, which in our view is a vital means to invest in human capital. All enterprises shall have democratic influence to enable the investment capital to be re-allocated in a manner conducive to balanced economic growth and the establishment of creative enterprises. Stress shall be laid on enabling popular interests share in the growth of corporate wealth. BPP believes that the collectively owned capital helps in stabilizing the growth of international mobility of private capital. Natural assets, credit institutes, and individual enterprises will be transferred to public ownership or control where necessary for the sake of public interests.
Until now, Bhutan has a sound environment with large areas under forest cover. However to sustain the existing level of environment the BPP shall formulate a successful environment policy requiring every citizen, organization and authority to assume its share of responsibility for a good environment, and for the conservation of natural resources. Every society and individual shall be made conscious of environmental ethics. Society will define the necessary conditions to the management of soil and water and will supervise the environmental impact of industry, forestry and agriculture. Both administrative and economic policy levers shall be cautioned to guide production in an environmentally appropriate direction. Basic environment, health- related, and safety stipulations for production will be defined through legislation which shall be mandatory for companies and will be for the manufacturer to show that the new products or production processes meet the requirements of environmental legislation. Whoever is responsible for pollution or other environmental hazards shall be mandated to bear the cost. BPP shall define through legislation the preservation of bio-diversity. Agriculture and forestry shall be conducted with due regard for the needs of nature and landscape conservation.
A country is made up of its diverse geographical or topographical regions. All regions in several ways have contributed towards the formation of Bhutan and will continue to do so in future. It harmonizes development of the various regions which alone can contribute to the national progress and happiness.
Development of this kind will provide everybody with employment, social services, education, culture amenities and sound environment to which they are entitled, no matter where they live. One of the basic political task left for BPP, is to correct the imbalances present between different parts of the country. BPP’s policies are aimed at distributing enterprises and infrastructures, job opportunities, social service, in a decentralized way.
Regional policy shall be aimed at developing the economic potential of the various regions. To this end, BPP prefers properly developed educational institutions, an efficient system of transport and communications, health services and social services and proper measures for the distribution of technology. Sustainability of development in Bhutan lies in laying greater priority to the forestry and agricultural sectors.
Private enterprise should also be called upon to assume its fair share of responsibility for bringing about such initiatives and for co-coordinating the planning measures across the political board.
The decentralization policy from the center to the grass-roots level shall be introduced with extensive prerogative to plan specific measures of local and regional policy within their own boundaries.
The BPP aims to achieve a sound and safe working environment. New legislations shall be enacted as a means of abolishing hazardous jobs. Dangerous workplace and operations shall be abolished. Special attention will be paid to the working environment for women.
History reveals that the youth by far have made significant contributions in coordinating the struggle of social democrats for social justice, human dignity and democracy. Idealism of youth should be geared towards the emancipation of the needy and the downtrodden by means of strengthening their struggle for freedom, justice and solidarity. In the movement for socio-economic changes and democratic socialist transformation, the BPP counts upon youth to play a vital role. History affirms that when the youth power asserts itself, the process of social change is accelerated. The changes accomplished are also sustained if youth is offered opportunities of participation in consolidating the gains of change.
Youth are not generally burdened with the dead weight of traditional outdated ideas, past prejudices, social taboos and the lack of commitments but possess a more liberal mind and are amendable to new concepts, values and outlooks. Their latent qualities have been suppressed for long by the tyrannical rule so far.
Today, BPP views that the education to which the youth is exposed doesn’t aptly reflect their aspirations of life. Many renowned and recognized institutions of higher education particularly offering professional courses insulated by protectionist walls of money power and social status. Many talented students are deprived of the necessary opportunities because of the lack of financial resources. In several developing countries university degrees tend to become only licenses for unemployment because the education system does not adequately respond to the aspirations of the youth and students. This is most frustrating in the absence of adequate job opportunities.
The pangs of sufferings of the uneducated youth are still more pronounced. Further, they are subjected to discrimination, biases, and suppression leaving many poor and the uneducated youth prone to various anti-social works and behaviors. Youths who are an integral part of the society should be entrusted with the potential thirst and commitments for the future.
With the onset of rapid political transformation, the BPP is dedicated to emancipate the urges and the needs of the Bhutanese youths and to constructively utilize their latent qualities and services for the peace, solidarity, development, equality and institutional cooperation.
Medical Care and Health Services
Every citizen shall be entitled to health care and medical treatment according to the need regardless of income, and social origin. This calls for the strengthening of public medical care.
Public hospitals shall be responsible for curative and preventive health care measures, including health checkups and health education. Medical receptions and health centers will be responsible for the basic medical and health care, while the care of more special nature will be provided by the qualified hospitals located throughout the country. Patients are entitled to inspection and regular intelligible information in the care received, and therefore must be given the report of the treatment and the progress.
Experience resulting from the health and medical care and from medical research must be fed back into social planning. Data concerning the effects on health of various working processes, chemicals and pollution, building materials, and other technical equipment must be continuously collected, analyzed, and used in social developments and working life is as to create good external health conditions for all the citizens.
The BPP shall call for regular personnel education and a system of further education in promoting universal health care to all the citizens.
Social abuses and deficiencies of the living environment form a breeding ground of social crisis which need to be handled through coordinated measures in schools, in working life and in urban areas. These activities are the concern of various public agencies acting conjointly with each other and with the groups which are particularly affected, together with the trade union organizations and popular forces of various kinds. Basic responsibility for measures to rectify social problems rests with the health of society. Therefore, these problems cannot be solved without civic participation.
The BPP shall design and ensure activities of the social services to enhance voluntary and community participation and ensure that people with social problems are not left unsupported and unaided.
The use of narcotic drugs and abuse of other habit forming substances will be effectively controlled. Consumption of alcohol, tobacco, drugs and other habit forming substances shall be reduced through various ways and techniques for the improvement of public health. The BPP shall formulate suitable policy measures to eliminate these abuses in society. It shall also disseminate knowledge on the harmful effects of alcohol and other drugs and enact legislation to counteract the use of drugs.
Crime in Bhutan is less heard of. However, in the absence of equality, social justice, human rights and the rule of law the crimes rate might surge ahead. Educational institutes, social organizations and various non-governmental and human rights groups have a central role to play here. Society must have civic sense, discipline, highest regards and respect to every individual in order to eliminate them.
The BPP is committed to foster the sense of brotherhood among the citizens through legislations and voluntary integration policies and to do away with the capital punishment.
Sports and Leisure
Sporting and open air life will be encouraged. Public support shall be organized in such a way so as to give equal treatment to the sporting activities of the women and men, children and adult, rich & poor.
Everybody shall be entitled to move freely in the countryside and undertake various activities in co-operation with local residents. Fishing water will be preserved and kept available to all under liberal legislations. The BPP shall encourage inter-district sports and leisure besides educational tours and competitions. BPP believes that arts, sports, music and education foster a culture of tolerance, friendship and harmony so necessary for maintaining Bhutan’s national unity.
Bhutan Before 1991
Bhutan After 1991