KATHMANDU, Oct 6: The government has objected to the United Nations Refugee Agency´s controversial claim that Nepal had 800,000 "stateless persons" in its country operation profile posted on its website.
While the Home Ministry official drew attention of the UNHCR representative Friday on its claim on the "stateless persons", Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) is lodging its complaint against the claim in a meeting scheduled with UNHCR representative coming Tuesday.
Home ministry officials in Kathmandu had been repeatedly drawing the attention of the UNHCR representative in Nepal on the issue even in the past.
The UNHCR report claims that there are still some 800,000 "stateless persons" in Nepal, arguing that only 2.6 million people of the total 3.4 million people said to be ´stateless´ by the government-formed Dhanapati Commission (1995) were provided with citizenship certificates after the political change in 2006.
At a meeting held at UNHCR headquarters in Geneva on Tuesday, Nepali envoy to the UN Shanker Bairagi had also strongly objected to the report. While maintaining that the figure of the stateless persons as mentioned in the report was not based on facts, the envoy had also asked the UNHCR to do the needful, considering the negative message such "baseless" information could send to the global community.
Nepal has also objected to the UNHCR´s claim that Nepal had already approved its proposal to launch a Community Based Development Program (CBDP) at various Bhutanese refugee camps in eastern Nepal.
Home ministry Spokesperson Shankar Koirala, who also oversees refugee issues, said though they have received an appeal document for the CBDP, the ministry has not yet endorsed it.
"The report has various five components. We have a serious reservation over one of the components that propose to engage refugee in income generating activities in Nepal," he said.