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This Digitalised Database of Bhutanese Refugees – Part I contains documentation of 4553 households covering a population of 48,909. This gives a 51 percent coverage taken 96,617 as the total Bhutanese refugee population as of June 1999 when most of the primary data collection was conducted. From the documented refugee population, 41,318 include population at the time of departure from Bhutan, while birth, marriage and family reunion after leaving Bhutan figures at 6874. The findings indicate 22,264 children under 18 years including 11,054 girl children.

From the 4553 households evicted, the year-wise eviction pattern reflected in this database reveals 60 in 1990, 398 in 1991, 3094 in 1992, 936 in 1993, 58 in 1994 and 7 households in 1995.

From interviews conducted with the 4553 households at the time of compilation of information for this database, a list of 15 different reasons for leaving Bhutan was deduced. Of these, the five main reasons in the order of maximum number of households victimized are as follows. First, there was continued harassment from the security forces and government authorities to make them leave their homes in Bhutan. Second, the district and local authorities and security force officials conducted meetings and told them to leave the country. Third, the census officials arbitrarily declared them as non-nationals and were subsequently evicted. Fourth, fearing arrest or re-arrest, many people fled for safety. Fifth in order is eviction on the grounds of suspicion on involvement in the movement.

Under such circumstances the eviction of fifty seven percent of the population, documented in this database, was preceded by forcing them to sign the so called 'Voluntary Migration Forms', a document in Tibetan script undecipherable to most of the southern Bhutanese citizens. They were made to do this under threat, intimidation, torture and imprisonment by the district authorities and security forces.

The database shows that 99.82 percent of the refugee households possess documentary evidences of Bhutanese origin and nationality. Of these households, 81.17 percent have Bhutanese Citizenship Identity documents and 81.3 percent have Land Tax Receipts. Besides these documents, they, and another 4.96 percent of the refugees who do not have the above two kinds of evidences, can produce other forms of evidences like Land Deed documents, Certificate of Origin, Marriage Certificates, Insurance receipts, Royal Decree, Trade or other license, Office orders etc, to prove their Bhutanese origin and nationality. In many cases, Bhutanese authorities have seized some or all of the documentary evidences at the time of eviction from Bhutan. 8 households do not have any form of documentary evidences because of this seizure or loss or natural calamities. Such families have been certified by their respective village representatives resident in the camps in Nepal and issued with letters of certification, which have been documented in this database as evidence of their Bhutanese origin and nationality.

Bhutanese refugees had to leave enormous housing and landed property in Bhutan, which they legally owned since generations. The details of the property of 4,553 households recorded in this database determines - 155 concrete buildings; 3,201 wooden houses; 1,691 stone and mud houses; 8,328.45 acres of wetland; 18,155.29 acres of dryland; 4,851.42 acres of cardamom and orange orchards; 1,143,420 orange trees and 1,128,367 arecanut trees. The value of these properties would amount to several hundred million dollars.

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