Bhutan Peoples' Party
The ethnic violence often erupted due to different religious beliefs, caste, creed, sex and origin. To illustrate on Bhutanese, there have never been an ethnic violence. The ethnic tolerance, states protection would lead to security of minorities. However the Royal Government of Bhutan has enacted the machinery to discriminate its citizens based on the origin. The marriage Act prohibited the right to choose of UDHR Article 16, 1. that states “Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.”.
The king gifted Democracy is just an eyewash to the International community. In fact the rein of power is in the hand of the present king remotely controlled by the abdicated king Jigme Singye Wangchuk. The present parliament does not respect the principle of democratic inclusion The Tsa-Wa-Sum prohibits freedom of expression and formation of political, social and Human Rights Organization vide Article TA 1. that states, “Anyone having acquired Bhutanese citizenship if involved in acts against the king or speaks against the Royal Government or associates with people involved in activities against the Royal Government shall be deprived of his/her Bhutanese Citizenship”. This is contrary to UDHR Article 19 and 20 of UDHR. Article 19 states, Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers”. Article 20 – 1. states, “Everyone has the right to freedom to peaceful assembly and association. 2. “No one may be compelled to belong to an association”
The Security Clearance system, disqualifies persons to acquire the opportunity available in the country. The Security Clearance is issued to only those persons who oppose that Human Rights and Democratic movement. If any person from the family supports the Human Rights and Democratic movement, they will not be issued the security clearance. The clearance certificate is a mandatory document to avail admission in educational institutes, health facilities, jobs, promotion, business license, loans and to participate in the “so called election” of the member of National Council, National Assembly.
The Home Ministry issued a circular to all Dzongdags on 17 August 1990 stated as follows:“You are hereby instructed to immediately inform all the gups (village head man, levels of local administration) and the general public in your dzongkhag (districts) that any Bhutanese nationals leaving the country to assist and to help the anti-nationals shall no longer be considered as a Bhutanese citizen. It must also be made very clear that such people’s family members living under the same household will also be held responsible and forfeit their citizenship”.
In violation of Article 15 of the UDHR, the government, by enacting and implementing the new Citizenship Act and the new census policies, has arbitrarily deprived the citizenship of thousands of Bhutanese and made them refugees. In violation to Article 1 to 5 of the UDHR, on the rights of the personal belonging to national or ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities, the royal regime continues to implement its anti social policies and to ban the language, dress and culture of other ethnic groups. This is in contrary to the fact that Bhutan has signed and ratified the “Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination and Racism”. Bhutan has signed and ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women. Nevertheless, in utter contravention to its obligation, it has evicted one sixth of its population. For the first time Bhutan submitted its Country Report on the rights of the child on April 20, 1999, although the report’s due date was August 1st 1992.
Bhutan has two Citizenship Acts and one law, viz. the 1958 Nationality Law and the 1977 Citizenship Act and the 1985 Citizenship Act. The Bhutanese people are the bona-fide Bhutanese citizens under the provisions of the 1958 Nationality Law and the 1977 Citizenship Act. Article 4 (1) (a) and (b) of the 1958 law provides that a person is a Bhutanese National if the person is a resident of the Kingdom of Bhutan for more than ten years and owns agricultural land within the Kingdom. It may be noted that Bhutanese people have been living in Bhutan for generations and they own agricultural land and property.
Besides, they have valid documents to prove their Bhutanese Citizenship like the land tax receipts, Citizenship cards, and other documents. But the government has changed the names of villages and towns in southern Bhutan with those terms imported from Tibetan terminology. Original names were in the mother tongue of southern Bhutanese and those carry numerous symbols and significance to the local inhabitants. Such exercise of Bhutan has deleted the whole history of southern Bhutanese, who carries their own culture and tradition. The government has also enacted a disreputable 1985 Citizenship Act on 10th June 1985 with entirely new provisions, which contradicted the provisions of the 1958 Nationality law and 1977 Citizenship act. Implementing this 1985 Act, the government arbitrary and retrospectively revoked the Citizenship of tens of thousands citizens.
The government has manoeuvred the 1985 Citizenship Act to turn bona-fide citizens into non-nationals overnight. This Act has three major provisions viz. Citizenship by birth, by registration and by neutralization. The provisions that have been extensively used by the government to revoke the citizenship of the people are Citizenship by birth and registration, i.e. Article 2 and 3 of the 1985 Citizenship Act. With the implementation of this Act through the census in 1988, the government categorized the southern population into seven distinct categories as under: –
F1 – Genuine Bhutanese.
F2 – Returned Migrants (those who had left Bhutan but returned).
F3 – Drop-outs (those who were not available during the time of census).
F4 – A non-national woman married to a Bhutanese man.
F5 – A non-national man married to a Bhutanese woman.
F6 – Adoption Cases (Children legally adopted)
F7 – Non-nationals (Migrants and illegal settlers)
The census team in 1988-89, using Article 2 of the 1985 Citizenship Act retroactively categorized Bhutanese children as F4 – if the father is a Bhutanese and the mother is non-Bhutanese. F-5, if the mother is a Bhutanese and the father is a non-Bhutanese. This way the government revoked the citizenship of thousands of Bhutanese children and rendered them stateless. This illegal action of the government on the one hand contravened and dishonoured the relevant provisions of the 1958 nationality law and the 1977 Citizenship Act, and on the other hand, blatantly violated Article 7 and 8 of the International Convention of the Racial Discrimination which Bhutanese government ratified in 1990, and of Article 15 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Next, using Article 3 of the 1985 Citizenship Act both arbitrarily and retroactively, the Census Teams categorized tens of thousands of Bhutanese Nationals as F7- when the southern Bhutanese could not produce the evidence of residence in Bhutan on or before 31stDecember 1958, during the 1988 census. The required document of residence was a 30 year-old land tax receipt of 1958. Hence, it can be concluded that the 1985 Citizenship Act was a device, which the Bhutanese government used extensively in its ethnic cleansing venture. These same people were bona-fide citizens under the provisions of 1958 and 1977 Citizenship Laws.
Article 6 of the Constitution of Bhutan continues to uphold and enforce the 1985 citizenship act- the mainspring for disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of southern Bhutanese. This Act still being in force, over one hundred thousand Bhutanese citizens in exile and denial of adult franchise to the genuine citizens within the country Bhutan continue to be deprived of their right to citizenship. In regard to this Act, Amnesty International in its report, BHUTAN: forcible Exile, 1994 has stated that “The 1985 Citizenship Act of Bhutan contains a number of vague provisions, and appears to have been applied in an arbitrary manner. It also contains provisions which could be used to exclude from citizenship many people who are not the members of the dominant ethnic group, as well as those who oppose government policy by peaceful means”. Similarly the European Parliament adopted a Resolution on 14 March 1996 has stated that “Most of the refugees would appear to qualify under international law as being genuine citizens of Bhutan and considers that Bhutan’s Citizenship Act of 1985 may need to be modified as a result”.
Article 4 and 7 of Constitution of Bhutan do not acknowledge the existence of cultural diversity in Bhutan. The constitution does not guarantee the protection and enjoyment of cultural rights by politically non-dominant communities, as enjoined by the Article 27 of UDHR; Article 27 of ICCPR and Article 15 of ICESCR. The Languages and scripts of all other linguistic groups in Bhutan should be provided with equal amount of attention, protection, promotion and preservation, the way dzongkha language is enjoying.
Article 3 of the constitution states that “It shall be the responsibility of religious institutions and personalities to promote the spiritual heritage of the country while also ensuring that religion remains separate from politics in Bhutan. Religious institution and personalities shall remain above politics”. But the Drukpa Kajugpa sect belonging to the king’s tribe continues to get preferential treatment from the government. Other religion such as Nyingmapa sect, Hinduism, Christianity and other denominations too should be provided with equal protection, promotion, preservation and equal weight age of representation in the national constitutional bodies instead of persecuting people for following Christianity and other non recognized religion.
Most citizens inside the country continue to live in the state of fear and be reprieved of their basic rights and freedoms. A large number of political prisoners are still languishing in various prisons in the country, since the political turmoil started in the country.
Bhutan Before 1991
Bhutan After 1991