The AMCC launches a peace march from the refugee camps in Nepal to carry an appeal to the King of Bhutan.  Successive waves of marchers, 1,400 in total, are arrested by the Indian authorities.  Some gain entry to Bhutan but are ejected by Bhutanese security forces.  All are eventually returned to Nepal.

In March, the European Parliament passes a resolution, calling for an agreement to allow "the early voluntary repatriation of the Bhutanese refugees to their country of origin".  Offers of mediation and diplomatic assistance are made from various European donor countries, but are not taken up by Bhutan.


Bhutanese political and human rights groups in exile lunch a joint movement, the United Front for Democracy.  Its chairman, Rongthong Kunley Dorji, a Sharchhop from eastern Bhutan, is arrested in India in response to an extradition request.  An estimated 150 people from eastern Bhutan suspected of sympathising with the UFD, are detained and many reportedly subjected to torture, according to Amnesty International.

Refugee activists attend the Human Rights Commission and Sub-Commission and Sub-Commission in Geneva, on this and other years.  The Human Rights Commission resolution 1997/36 has clear implications for the Bhutanese issue.


In Bhutan, the government begins a process of resettling landless people from northern Bhutan on the lands owned by the refugees.  In May, 219 relatives of 'anti-nationals' (refugee activists) are dismissed from government service.  Southern Bhutanese remaining in Bhutan continue to face severe and sustained discrimination amounting to persecution.  Since 1991, Southern Bhutanese have been required to get 'No Objection Certificates' (Security Clearance Certificates) to state that neither they nor their relatives were involved in the democracy movement and other 'anti-national' activities.  This certificate is very difficult to obtain, but is needed to access schools and other government services, as well as to work with the government or gain a business licence, including for selling cash crops.