Carolina Refugee Resettlement Agency

Write a 1,200 word profile story is about Thakur P. Mishra, head of the Carolina Refugee Resettlement Agency using ONLY the quotes from the interview and reference links below. Background: Mishra has worked to resettle many persecuted Bhutanese suffering political persecution in the United States, where they can find a harbor of safety. Mishra is a journalist in exile from his native Bhutan as well as works to help others who have been persecuted by the current ruling Bhutanese regime. He is also an editor and special correspondent for the monthly Bhutan Reporter as well as the founder and editor-in-chief of the Bhutan News Service (BNS).

He maintains an active blog on the subject of Bhutan entitled A Former Refugee’s Journal. The struggle for freedom of the press in Bhutan has been a rocky one. According to Freedom House, an independent watchdog group dedicated to monitoring the status of nations around the world, during the early half of the 20th century, Bhutan was ruled by a British-installed monarchy. Even after independence, freedom of the press was still limited. In the 1980s, Nepali-speakers were placed under further restrictions which precipitated a series of demonstrations by the Bhutanese People’s Party (BPP), causing many Southern Bhutanese to flee to Nepal in the early 1990s: free elections only took place in 2007 (“Bhutan,” 2012).

“The authorities restrict freedom of expression, and a 1992 law prohibits criticism of the king and the political system. A 2006 media law led to the establishment of two independent radio stations, but it did not provide specific protections for journalists or guarantee freedom of information” (“Bhutan,” 2012). Theoretically, there is freedom of assembly and association under the constitution “but the government must approve the purpose of any protests” and only groups ��not harmful to the peace and unity of the country” are permitted which effectively means censorship for Nepali-speaker and other organizations critical of the government (“Bhutan,” 2012).

Quotes from Interview (TP Mishra talking below): 1- I lived in a Bhutanese refugee camp. 2- Grew up inside refugee in Nepal 3- I’m in school now in North Carolina, I already have a degree. Some of the credit was transferred. I’m getting a degree in international studies 4- I left Bhutan at 6 or 7 years old 5- Started education in camp at 15 or 16 years old, that’s when I started the publication in the camp. I started reading the paper…it was spontaneous…I started writing 6- There was a group from Australia, inside the camp…they were giving training on creative writing.. That’s how I got started and trained. After a few sessions, I felt could write and start writing for the paper.

After about 2 years, I started talking to friends to see who can publish a different paper and we got it sponsored by the Australian group. 7- I felt they didn’t have enough info that the newspaper should have. So, we started the newspaper in 2004, The Bhutan Reporter, a monthly. It’s still in the camp. In the camp, we had access to a computer. We got all the news to senior folks. They wanted too design the newspaper. We would bring the hard cop to the camp 8- Images of the camp. 200sq ft tent made up of bamboo plastic. Doesn’t matter they share the same house. 9- There’s no question of security, safety, privacy, taking a bath in an open area

10- Now I work for a refugee nonprofit. I help refugees locally. 11- Another reason why the newspaper was different was that some felt the other one was disingenuous; there were no hard FactSet Research Systems Inc. 12- There was no press presence in Bhutan. So we felt we should have our own newspaper and disseminate our own newspaper within the refugee communities. Anything that would make an impact is to tell the story of our life as a refugee in the camp 13- Came to NYC because the US brings in refugees from all over the world. Process started, the

US government said they would take refugees. Declared to be resettled in the US, June 2009. 14- I worked hard at everything in NCY and continued to publish 15- By May 2006, we had an online news portal. We started feeling more people were going to the website than the newspaper. By 2009, we were totally online 16- After about 3 months, I realized I was working around the clock with 2-3 hours’ sleep. It was enough 17-

I now write on issues and stories of refugees relocated here in the US 18- Wall Street Journal wrote about the high suicide rate of refugees in Bhutan. The suicide rate in my community is higher than most communities in the world 19- Suicide – due the trauma we had to go through. Some refugees had to go through a lot, some much worse than what I went through.

I know many of the people after they came to the US and they committed suicide 20- Suicide here…they are as young as 15 years old from my community. So many stories. One story in Ohio, there was a note attributing the suicide to bullying in school. My people are not use to bullying, he had no idea how to handle it. 21- A lot of issues, cultural issues when coming to the US. I’m kind of a tough guy, so I’ve been able to handle it. Most of the people who come are scared. For example, in my community when they see law enforcement they get scared. Houses burned, schools, etc it’s haunting when we see law enforcement. Many people cannot stand it 22-

I worked with refugee families to apply for food stamps. I felt she was being discriminated because the store clerk asked that she get an interpreter. She has a degree, English is not her first language…. you have to learn to defend yourself. 23- Camp still exists, 15 thousand people are still there. Most have left to go to the US, about 90 thousand are in the US today 24- Bhutan boarders with India, there was a government crackdown

25- My family was given 24 hours ultimatum to leave the country at gun point. Living in Butam, 5th generation living in Bhutan. We had peaceful protest in 1990. They cracked down on the protest. We were protesting for democracy for fundamental change. 26- The government physically assaulted people. Several cases where books were burned and entire country was terrorized 27- Nepali speaking ethnic group targeted. Given ultimatums. Fear of persecution. First went to India and got into trucks and dumped into Nepal. Had India had not done this, we would have lived in India 28- Bhutan News Service – the target audience

1- Bhutan people living in the diaspora…people like me, advocate for the Bhutanese people living in the diaspora, visitors from Bhutan, reading unbiased news 29- It’s about Bhutan 1- anything about Bhutans living in diaspora 2-what’s going on in Bhutan 3-what’s going on in the refugee camp 30- News in Bhutan is biased, government censored, private media. Self-centered media. No one tells them what to do. It hasn’t changed that much since I left…not as rapidly as I thought. They never talk about the refugees that hasn’t changed 31- This is independent. There’s no fear that’s the #1 thing. We have journalist write to us and tell us what’s going on there. They are fearful of the government.

32- The good thing is that is that things are opening up within Bhutan, some comment against government, stories you never hear. It’s a symbol heading towards change, but not taken place fully.

33- Government should dig deep into issue. Corruption politics. Talk about how people are victimized they would cover those stories. 34- In the refugee camp publishing, we would be a target 35- Now, there’s no fear. More free…more press freedom. Write with no fear of government 36- Reading unbiased news. People send us comments. A guy works for government, published. That was never the case in the past. We can link to people in Bhutan. We can educate them on full fledge press freedom and gently advocate for them. Bridging the gap with what’s happening there 37- 2010 – focused on international journalism, I received threats and emails. At some people advocate in the west to know the other side of Bhutan.

We encourage them and empower them. We have people on ground, we contact them offline. We guide them on what they need to do, if they need help, they can come to us. We keep pushing for change. 38- We’re really cautious about safety. We have this guy from prison, he has the freedom to access the internet and we came in contact. He says he wants to write for Bhutan news service. We set up a blog for him. 39- Some people in the past, journalists sent news from Bhutan communicating via blog. We don’t want to put them in trouble. 40- I have no family members in Bhutan. We started the paper and kept moving. We pushed. Just me. Transferred into responsibility in May. I’m graduating from school and taking a different course. I want to sue my skills and do more. 41- I registered a non-profit news organization.

I carry the responsibility. My wife asks me everyday. It drives me that we’ve made traction with Bhutan news. 42- Now we have registered not for profit and have discussions. We are transforming, we have a different focus on news and more on researching and documenting history. We have a researched based group, we will in 1-2 years document our own history. Talk to victims and shoot a film. 43- It’s about transforming ourselves. To do the biggest thing, we have to get sponsors, people will evolve in the project. 44- My father was imprisoned in Bhutan. He had all kinds of bruises on his back and legs. We should document this type of suffering from first hand victims.

When they die the history dies. 45- The Bhutan news service is like a family. We have a board to guide us with the nonprofit. Board members 1- founder of bbc online, based in London 2- writer of books, world traveler 3- professional writer 4- department aid in country 5-someone from a radio station. I’m happy they will help guide us to get funding and make our dreams come true 46-

I dreamed this would happen. This is what keeps me going.

47- I want people to in the diaspora to know that I’m taking this project to the next level. All the victims in Bhutan document their stories. We need to unite our history. We want to unite our version of history. We tell our story. Sources: Interview with Thakur P. Mishra A Formal Refugee’s Journal:http://www.tpmishra.com/ Bhutan News Service:http://www.bhutannewsservice.com/about-us/contributing-editors/t-p-mishra/ India Realtime:http://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2014/01/07/american-dream-becomes-nightmare-for-bhutanese-refugees/ Freedom House, Freedom in the World: Bhutan 2012:https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/2012/bhutan#.VRE_wvnF-tg Committee to Protect Journalist:https://www.cpj.org/ Freedom House, Freedom of Press:https://freedomhouse.org/report-types/freedom-press#.VRhaTfnF-tg

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