HAF Commends Piece Highlighting Bhutanese Suffering
05/10/2010 - HAF submitted the following Letter to the Editor to The Oakland Tribune. The letter was not published.
We commend Matt O'Brien for his excellent piece ("As Exiles fill East Bay, Bhutan gets dressed up", 4/29/10). As Mr. O'Brien notes, gross human rights violations underlie the genesis and growth of the Bhutanese community of Oakland. Our 2009 report (http://www.hafsite.org/sites/default/files/HHR2009.pdf) documented how the Bhutanese government stigmatized, intimidated, and coerced its Hindu population, ultimately putting to flight more than 100,000 people. Most languished for decades in refugee camps, and many still do, though some have been fortunate to emigrate to other countries including the U.S. The Bhutanese government will never achieve its goal of championing "Gross National Happiness" until it respects the human rights of all of its citizens and the pluralistic ethos integral to both Hinduism and Buddhism, the predominant religions of the region. Kudos to Mr. O'Brien for shining a light upon this vital issue.
Raman Khanna and Vineet Sharma
Working Group, Hindu American Foundation