Bhutan: our world's newest democracy

  • NickoftheNort...

    Posts: 1416

    Mar 25, 2008 7:36 AM GMT
    As of March 24, Bhutan is our world's newest democracy / constitutional monarchy.

    ABC News (Australia) - Democracy comes to kingdom of Bhutan

    There is still an issue regarding appr. 100,000 persons who the Bhutan government exiled during the 1990s.

    BBC: Bhutan urged to accept refugees

    BBC: Bhutan refugees are 'intimidated'
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    Mar 25, 2008 11:30 AM GMT
    Actually, I never thought Bhutan had any problems anyway. Heh

    I feel more for its neighbor Tibet... icon_sad.gif
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    Mar 25, 2008 6:04 PM GMT
    I'm surprised to hear about the exiles. I had read about the Bhutanese "Gross National Happiness" approach to governance, and about the monarchy's popularity, so I had a rather idyllic idea about Bhutan. *sigh* reality bites.

    I would read about the exiles too, but for some reason the BBC pages aren't loading for me icon_confused.gif
  • NickoftheNort...

    Posts: 1416

    Mar 25, 2008 6:21 PM GMT
    It seems as though human rights violations are a prerequisite for any proper democratic development.

    Perhaps it's a kind of reality check to "keep things real." icon_razz.gif

    ***
    It's odd that the BBC pages aren't working for you; they're still working for me.
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    Mar 25, 2008 6:37 PM GMT
    According to an NPR reported they had a voter turn out of 80%. This was because the people feel such great loyalty to the monarch they followed his will to go to the polls.
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    Mar 26, 2008 4:09 AM GMT
    That's cool, I didn't see that. Thanks for the announcement.
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    Mar 26, 2008 4:32 AM GMT
    I've been to Bhutan. It's a very interesting place, and the people are really heartwarmingly genuine.

    As for the exile problem, you have to understand that Bhutan was completely isolated from the rest of the world until fairly recently, and they still have an isolationist attitude about many things (when I was there in 2001 they had only recently got television, and even then it was only available in a couple towns). They are very concerned about maintaining cultural purity, which has allowed them to avoid many problems of the outside world. The people who they have exiled came to Bhutan from Nepal in search of a better life. Bhutan has chosen not to accept them, and I don't think I can say they're wrong to do so - it's their country, after all. Granted, some of the Nepalis they have exiled were actually born in Bhutan, but few Asian countries grant automatic citizenship to anyone born on their soil as the Americas typically do (in fact I have two nephews who were expelled from Indonesia as soon as they turned 18, even though they were both born there and their parents' residency visas are still valid).

    One of Bhutan's greatest fears is that they will someday turn into another Nepal, where foreign workers and tourists have run roughshod over the native culture. Going from Thimpu (Bhutan's capital city) to Katmandu (Nepal's) is basically like going from Mayberry to Tijuana.

    Once again, they might not be acting the way we'd like, but it's their country and their choice, and they do have their reasons.
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    Mar 26, 2008 6:35 PM GMT
    One other point worth making - the entire population of Bhutan is only about half a million. The largest city has a population of 40,0000. An influx of 100,000 Nepali refugees in ENORMOUS. If they didn't do something to stop it, they'd very quickly be overrun.