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In 1991 Justice V. R. Krishna Iyer, former chief justice of India, took up the responsibility of heading the first SAARC Jurists Mission on Bhutan to investigate the atrocities committed by the Bhutanese kingdom against a section of its people. This mission was termed a “people-to-people initiative.” It documented instances of atrocities committed on innocent civilians, damage to property, the raping of women in confinement, and other inhuman acts of the time that preceded the exodus of the peace-loving people of southern Bhutan to the eastern hills of Nepal. This chapter presents some of the findings of the SAARC report. We will also review Bhutanese laws and their implementation, along with Bhutan’s human rights record prior to 1990, and how the Lhotsampa movement for human rights was viewed as a national security threat. We were able to obtain a copy of an over twenty-five-year-old report in which Tek Nath Rizal, a Bhutan government official belonging to the Lhotsampa community, was referred to as a subversive officer. The government of Bhutan viewed Rizal’s petition for review of the 1985 Citizenship Act as an act of treason, terrorism, and/or subversion.


School of Allied Health

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Book Chapter

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