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Press Freedom Activists On Recent Events In Bhutan

Association of Press Freedom Activists
(APFA-Bhutan)
Dated: December 16, 06

Press Release

Bhutan witnesses one of the most emotional moments in Bhutanese history. King Jigme Singye Wangchuck has abdicated the throne on December 9, which was announced formally on Thursday, December 14. Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck has succeeded his father as the fifth monarch of this country. It has been claimed that he stepped down to make ways for the new king to get as much experience before the parliamentary democracy is formally established by 2008.

APFA-Bhutan here feel to point out that the reality is just opposite. During his 34 years of autocratic rule in Bhutan, King Jigme Singye Wangchuck suppressed his citizens and is held responsible for gross violation of human rights and eviction of above one-lakh innocent citizens. Hundreds of citizens were tortured, killed, rapped and inhumanly treated in the jails by the Royal Bhutan Army he led. The limited rights granted to people during the reign of third king was seized and the national legislature made a rubber stamp. The state mechanism was turned into a personal propaganda machinery leading gross misuse of the national treasury for family luxuries.

He has abdicated the throne to prove himself to be democratic. The important point to remember for of his misdeeds is that all officials in Bhutan, who questioned his one-person authoritarian regime, are fired.

APFA-Bhutan believes that his abdication is just to blindfold international community about democratization and election propaganda slated for 2008. His abdication just indicates democracy passed to his son but not to general public. He is absconding from taking the responsibility of all the misdeeds carried out in his tenure by abdicating the throne before the problem is solved.

However, APFA-Bhutan considers this as a historic moment in Bhutan as well as a lesson to dictators of world. We also congratulate the His Majesty King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck for succeeding his father. We hope that the long-standing refugee issue would find a better approach towards repatriation during his reign. We urged the new king to take initiatives for early solution of the crisis and establishment of people’s democracy.

(APFA-Bhutan) GPO 8975, EPC 2377 Kathmandu Nepal, Ph: 016219996 Email: apfa2004 @ yahoo.co.uk

ENDS

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