BHUTAN
Kingdom of Bhutan
Druk Gyalkhap
Joined United Nations:  21 September 1971
Human Rights as assured by their constitution
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Updated 22 August 2012
CAPITAL
POPULATION
CHIEF OF STATE
SELECTION PROCESS
Thimphu
716,896
note: the Factbook population estimate is consistent with the first modern census of Bhutan,
conducted in 2005; previous Factbook population estimates for this country, which were on the
order of three times the total population reported here, were based on Bhutanese government
publications that did not include the census (July 20
12 est.)
Jigme Kesar Namgyel
King since 14 December 2006
formally coronated on
06 November 2008
Ascended to the throne upon the abdication of his father Jigme
Singye Wangchuck after 31 year rule.

Next scheduled election: None, the monarch is
hereditary; but democratic reforms in July 1998 grant the
National Assembly authority to remove the monarch with
two-thirds vote.
HEAD OF GOVERNMENT
SELECTION PROCESS
Jigme Yoser Thinley
Prime Minister an Chairman of the
Council of Ministers
since 9 April 2008
Council of Ministers (Lhengye Shungtsog) nominated by the
monarch, approved by the National Assembly, Prime Minister
elected by the Council of Ministers for one-year term
DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
ETHNIC GROUPS
Bhote 50%, ethnic Nepalese 35% (includes Lhotsampas - one of several Nepalese ethnic groups), indigenous or
migrant tribes 15%
RELIGIONS
Lamaistic Buddhist 75%, Indian- and Nepalese-influenced Hinduism 25%
GOVERNMENT
STRUCTURE
Monarchy under special treaty relationship with India comprised of 18 districts (dzongkhag, singular and plural);  
Legal system is based on Indian law and English common law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Executive:  The monarch is hereditary; Council of Ministers (Lhengye Shungtsog) nominated by the monarch,
approved by the National Assembly, Chairman elected by the Council of Ministers
Legislative: unicameral National Assembly or Tshogdu (150 seats; 105 elected from village constituencies, 10
represent religious bodies, and 35 are designated by the monarch to represent government and other secular
interests; members serve three-year terms)
National Council elections last held on 31 December 2007 and 29 January 2008 (next to be held by December
2012); Local elections last held 24 March 2008; next election to be held in March 2013
Judicial: Supreme Court of Appeal (the monarch); High Court (judges appointed by the monarch)
LANGUAGES
Sharchhopka 28%, Dzongkha (official) 24%, Lhotshamkha 22%, other 26%
BRIEF HISTORY
ECONOMIC OVERVIEW
The economy, one of the world's smallest and least developed, is based on agriculture and forestry, which provide
the main livelihood for more than 40% of the population. Agriculture consists largely of subsistence farming and
animal husbandry. Rugged mountains dominate the terrain and make the building of roads and other infrastructure
difficult and expensive. The economy is closely aligned with India's through strong trade and monetary links and
dependence on India's financial assistance. The industrial sector is technologically backward with most production of
the cottage industry type. Most development projects, such as road construction, rely on Indian migrant labor.
Model education, social, and environment programs are underway with support from multilateral development
organizations. Each economic program takes into account the government's desire to protect the country's
environment and cultural traditions. For example, the government, in its cautious expansion of the tourist sector,
encourages visits by upscale, environmentally conscientious tourists. Complicated controls and uncertain policies in
areas such as industrial licensing, trade, labor, and finance continue to hamper foreign investment. Hydropower
exports to India have boosted Bhutan's overall growth. New hydropower projects will be the driving force behind
Bhutan's ability to create employment and sustain growth in the coming years.
Source:
CIA World Factbook (select Bhutan)
POLITICAL CLIMATE
Bhutan's head of state is the Druk Gyalpo ("Dragon King"). Although his title is hereditary, he can be removed by a
two-thirds majority vote by the parliament, the unicameral National Assembly, or Tshogdu. The candidates to the
Council of Ministers (Lhengye Shungtsog) are nominated by the monarch, elected by the National Assembly. The
members serve fixed, five-year terms. There is also a Royal Advisory Council (Lodoi Tsokde), members nominated
by the monarch

The Je Khenpo is the highest religious official of Bhutan. He is typically viewed as the closest and most powerful
advisor to the King of Bhutan. The 71st and present Je Khenpo is Trulku Jigme Chhoeda. In 1998, the monarch's
executive powers were transferred to the council of ministers, or cabinet (Lhengye Shungtsog). Candidates for the
council of ministers are elected by the National Assembly for a fixed, five-year term, and must be a part of the
legislative assembly. The cabinet is headed by the Prime Minister, who is the head of government. The post of Prime
Minister rotates each year between the five candidates who secured the highest number of votes. The new
constitution includes provision for a two-party democratic system that was unveiled after four years of preparation.


Bhutan elects its legislative branch through universal suffrage under the Constitution of 2008. The Bhutanese
parliament is bicameral, consisting of a National Council (upper house) and a National Assembly (lower house).

Prior to 2008, the legislative branch was the unicameral Tshogdu. The Tshogdu had 150 members, 106 members
elected at various dates for a three-year term in single-seat constituencies, 34 appointed members and 10
representatives of the monastic body. Suffrage in Bhutan at that time was unique in that each family unit, rather than
individual, had one vote.

Source: Wikipedia: Politics of Bhutan
INTERNATIONAL
DISPUTES
Bhutan cooperates with India to expel Indian Nagaland separatists; lacking any treaty describing the boundary,
Bhutan and China continue negotiations to establish a common boundary alignment to resolve territorial disputes
arising from substantial cartographic discrepancies, the largest of which lie in Bhutan's northwest and along the
Chumbi salient
U.S. State Department
United Nations Human
Rights Council
Amnesty International
Human Rights Watch
Freedom House
REFUGEES AND
INTERNALLY
DISPLACED PERSONS
(IDP)
None reported.
ILLICIT DRUGS
None reported
Association of Press
Freedom Activists Bhutan
U. S. STATE
DEPARTMENT
HUMAN RIGHTS STATEMENTS, ANALYSIS AND CRITIQUES
2011 Human Rights Report: Bhutan
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
20
11 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices
March 2
4, 2012

Bhutan is a democratic, constitutional monarchy whose king, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, is the head of state, with
executive power vested in the cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Jigme Thinley. The country held its first general election for the
National Assembly in 2008, and an EU election-monitoring team declared that it met international standards and was free and fair.
During the year local nonpartisan elections were held, with Danish election observers reporting no significant irregularities. Security
forces reported to civilian authorities.

Principal human rights problems included the regulation of religion, limitations on activities that the government viewed as
undermining national identity and stability, and continued government delays in implementing a process to identify and repatriate
refugees in Nepal with legitimate Bhutanese citizenship claims. One nongovernmental organization (NGO) reported some cases of
human trafficking.

There were no reports of impunity for government security forces.
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UNITED NATIONS
HUMAN RIGHTS
COUNCIL
7 August 2009
Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women
Forty-fourth session
20 July-7 August 2009
Concluding observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women: Bhutan

Introduction
2. The Committee expresses its appreciation to the State party for its seventh periodic report, which was submitted on time and
follows the Committee’s former guidelines for the preparation of the reports, as well as for the consultations it held with different
State institutions, civil society and other stakeholders in the preparation of the report. The Committee regrets, however, that some
sections of the report provide insufficient relevant information, which limited the ability of the Committee to evaluate the specific
situation of women in some areas.

Positive aspects
5. The Committee commends the State party for its transition to a Democratic Constitutional Monarchy in 2008, which provides a
firm foundation for a sustainable and vibrant democracy.
6. The Committee welcomes the National Commission on Women and Children (NCWC) National Plan of Action for Gender, the
first of its kind in the State party, the setting up of a network of Gender Focal Points, including in the armed forces, and the
identification of the issue of gender as a cross-cutting development theme in the 10th five-year plan of the Gross National
Happiness Commission, which also devotes a chapter to women in development.

Principal areas of concern and recommendations
9. While recalling the State party’s obligation systematically and continuously to implement all the provisions of the Convention, the
Committee views the concerns and recommendations identified in the present concluding observations as requiring the priority
attention of the State party between now and the submission of the next periodic report. Consequently, the Committee calls upon
the State party to focus on those areas in its implementation activities and to report on action taken and results achieved in its next
periodic report. It also calls upon the State party to submit the present concluding observations to all relevant ministries, other
Government structures at all levels, Parliament and the judiciary in order to ensure their effective implementation.
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FREEDOM HOUSE
Freedom In The World Report- 2012
Political Rights Score: 4
Civil Liberties Score: 5
Status: Partly Free

Overview
Local elections that had been postponed for three years took place in early 2011. While tens of thousands of Nepali-speaking
Bhutanese refugees who were displaced in the 1990s have been resettled in other countries in recent years, some 54,000 remained
in camps in Nepal by year’s end.


Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck succeeded his father as king in November 2008, though he had been in power since the
outgoing king’s abdication in 2006. The monarchy remained highly popular with the public, and many Bhutanese expressed
reservations about the shift toward democracy.

Local elections that had been postponed since late 2008 were finally held across the country in early 2011. Officials experienced
difficulty recruiting qualified candidates to stand in the elections in a country with a small population, voter apathy, and high
education requirements. All candidates were officially required to be nonpartisan and to prove that they had no party affiliations.
Several candidates in the local elections ultimately were disqualified because they did not meet the age or professional requirements.
Some polls took long to open due to logistical difficulties, and turnout was relatively low, reportedly due in part to the remoteness
of certain areas of the country and to voter apathy and distrust that the polls would result in concrete change.

Bhutan is not an electoral democracy, though the 2008 and 2011 elections represented a significant step toward that status.
However, monitors in both elections found problems with freedom of expression and association during the campaign. In 2008,
European Union (EU) monitors noted that a rule requiring candidates to obtain a security clearance certificate may have been an
obstacle for some Nepalese. Also in 2008, Human Rights Watch reported that many ethnic Nepalese residents were barred from
voting because they were among the 13 percent of the population counted as non-nationals in the 2005 census. While similar
complaints were lodged during the 2011 local elections, international monitors nonetheless deemed them to have been conducted
successfully.

Political parties, previously illegal, were allowed to begin registering in 2007, though the Bhutan People’s United Party was denied
registration.

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AMNESTY
INTERNATIONAL
Controversial resettlement of Bhutanese refugees
29 January 2008, 02:39PM

n the early 1990s, Bhutan deprived tens of thousands of ethnic Nepalese of their Bhutanese citizenship in order to decrease the
rising influence of the Hindu minority on the Buddhist society. Many of these ethnic Nepalese fled to neighbouring countries to
escape arbitrary arrest and detention in Bhutan. Bhutan does not have a written constitution providing for fundamental human rights
and the ethnic minorities in the country are always in a precarious position. The Bhutanese government denies claims by the
Nepalese minority that they have suffered from discrimination, deportation and repression and points out that they left the country
voluntarily. The refugee community reports that people were violently forced to leave and put under pressure to sign Voluntary
Migration Forms (VMFs). Aita Singh Gurung, a member of the ethnic Nepalese community living in a refugee camp in Nepal tells:

"We were very sad when my father was made to sign the Voluntary Migration Form. The official said we would have to leave
Bhutan within fifteen days. We sold our cows, goats and sheep and came to Nepal. All we brought were four boxes, mattresses,
clothes, three pots and some other utensils. When we arrived we were given rations and plastic [sheeting] by an agency. My house
in Bhutan is now covered by jungle. Nothing in the world can erase my sweet dream to go back to my motherland, Bhutan. I hope
one day I will go back to my country".

For the past 17 years, about 100,000 people stripped of their Bhutanese citizenship have been living in seven refugee camps in
Nepal hoping for return to their motherland. Nepal and Bhutan have been disputing over how to solve the problem without any real
success.

In October 2006, the US government offered to resettle up to 60,000 of those refugees in the USA. But the offer is not without
controversy: part of the Bhutanese refugee community opposes moving abroad and pleads for repatriation or reintegration into the
Nepalese society. Tek Nath Rijal, self-appointed leader of the Bhutanese refugees fiercely criticises resettlement plans and holds that
the USA should pressure the Bhutanese government to repatriate them. Many refugees believe that accepting the US offer “will spell
the death of their dream to return home”. Furthermore, it is unclear what will happen with the remaining 40,000, and an estimated
number of 10,000 – 15,000 unregistered refugees in Nepal.
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HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
For Bhutan’s refugees, there’s no place like home
Bhutan should at least allow elderly refugees to spend their remaining days in their homeland.
by Bill Frelick
Published in:
 Global Post
March 30, 2011

WASHINGTON - "The army took all the people from their houses," the young man said. "As we left Bhutan, we were forced to
sign the document. They snapped our photos. The man told me to smile, to show my teeth. He wanted to show that I was leaving
my country willingly, happily, that I was not forced to leave."

This childhood memory, described to me by a man in a refugee camp in Nepal four years ago, is the story of a loss that has never
been made right, not even by a successful resettlement program.

On March 25, 2008, the first Bhutanese refugee to make it to the United States as part of the resettlement program arrived in
Pittsburgh. The program was intended to break the logjam that had left about 108,000 refugees stagnating in camps in eastern
Nepal since the early 1990s. More than 43,500 of these refugees have been resettled, including more than 37,000 to the United
States, and there's no denying they have opportunities they could hardly have imagined even five years ago that have dramatically
improved their lives.

But, based on what many of the refugees told me when I interviewed them in Nepal, resettlement was not their first choice; they
wanted to go home.

Yet the Bhutanese government has not allowed a single one to return.

In the late 1980s, the Bhutanese government enacted a "one nation, one people" campaign that arbitrarily stripped the citizenship of
a large portion of the Bhutanese Nepali-speaking minority known as Lhotshampas. By the end of 1990, the "Bhutanization"
campaign had escalated to harassment, arrests and the burning of ethnic Nepali homes. Many fled, but the army also expelled tens
of thousands, forcing them to sign forms renouncing any claims to their homes and homeland.

Should none of these refugees be allowed to return to Bhutan, it would send a terrible message: that a government can get away
with a mass expulsion of its population on ethnic lines with no consequences at all.

Glossed over by its image as a peaceable Shangri-La, Bhutan has escaped international scrutiny and censure, and with each passing
year memories of the ethnic cleansing fade and accountability seems more and more to slip away. Bhutan has continued steadfastly
to refuse any responsibility for expelling its people and creating a huge stateless population. In July 2010, Prime Minister Jigme Y
Thinley referred to the refugees as illegal immigrants.
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OFFICIAL
GOVERNMENT HUMAN
RIGHTS STATEMENT
STATEMENT BY HIS EXCELLENCY JIGMI Y. THINLEY, PRIME MINISTER, KINGDOM OF BHUTAN
AT THE
UNITED NATIONS CONFERENCE ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT (RIO + 20)
WEDNESDAY, 20th JUNE, 2012,
RIO DE JANEIRO

Ladies and Gentlemen.

Sustainable development means survival. It is about how we, as a species, must live
within the bounds of what nature can provide.
Sustainable development is not a choice. It is
an absolute necessity. It is neither an ideal beyond the reach of the poor nor a threat to
the
rich and affluent. And we have no time to waste over arguments of who must bear the guilt for our predicament. When we have,
in varying degrees and with growing efficiency,
stripped earth of its remaining capacity to support life, there will be no judge or jury to
separate the rich from poor, the north from the south, or the more guilty from the less.

Humanity’s need of the hour is a saner, safer and sustainable path. To that end, my country, Bhutan, will support all efforts.

But how do we chart a new course? Where do we go from here? Unless we can agree on a vision to guide us, society will remain
rudderless in a perilous sea. But that need not be. As
highly evolved beings with social, intellectual and emotional needs, we do share
one
common vision – the ultimate dream of happiness. This aspiration transcends all the dividing contours of society and has the
power to unite all of humanity. It is this goal
toward which the new path must be blazed.

Bhutan’s commitment to sustainable development with the clear long term vision of attaining the ultimate state of being has been
conditioned for 40 years by our development model of Gross National Happiness or GNH. It is a holistic paradigm that emphasizes
sustainability, equity, human values, ecological resilience and good governance. Once we knew what we wanted, choosing the means
have not been as difficult as might otherwise have been. All our policies and projects are now cleared only after being passed under a
GNH lens to examine their GNH value to society.

I was most honoured to be able to submit the report of that meeting to the Secretary-General for onward distribution to all member
states. The report recommends that wellbeing and happiness must form the basis and reason for sustainable, holistic and inclusive
development. The meeting rekindled my faith in humankind; in its goodness and innate wisdom; and in the enormous potential to build
a sane, secure, and happy world. Copies of the Report are being distributed at this Conference.

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ASSOCIATION OF
PRESS FREEDOM
ACTIVISTS BHUTAN
Dhakal replaces Mishra in BNS editorial team
Posted: 04 Aug 2012 02:41 AM PDT

Buddha Mani Dhakal has been appointed as new Chief Editor of the Bhutan News Service after T.P.Mishra tendered his resignation
from the post.


Issuing a press statement, Bhutan Media Society (BMS) on Friday said a decision was made at its board meeting to appoint former
editor of the APFA Bhutan as the Chief Editor, replacing the outgoing chief editor Mishra with effect from August 2.

Dhakal joined exiled media as Chief Editor of the Bhutan Reporter in 2004. Currently, he is based in Kentucky, USA.

The statement said, “We want to inform our valued readers and donors that Buddha Mani Dhakal has been appointed to lead the
editorial team of the Bhutan News Service from August 3, replacing the outgoing editor Mishra.”

The statement further mentioned that the Society shall remain forever indebted towards the contributions made by the outgoing
chief editor T.P Mishra.

North Carolina based T.P.Mishra, who was leading the BNS editorial team since 2009, resigned from his post, citing lack of time to
take his editorship and regular studies together.

A three-year graduate on mass communications from the Purbanchal University of Nepal, Mishra started his journalism career as a
report for the then published Bhutan Reporter from 2004, and has authored ‘Becoming a Journalist in Exile’, a book of Bhutanese
media in exile.

Reinstating its commitment towards professionalism of Bhutanese media in exile, the Society has also thanked all of its donors for
continuously extending their helping hands in effective operation and management of Bhutan Media Society and its affiliates.

“We hope that the supports from our esteemed donors will continue as we have received a dynamic person to lead the BNS
editorial team,” added the statement.

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HUMAN RIGHTS
ORGANIZATION OF
BHUTAN
HUROB, BRRRC worried over worsening health of hunger strikers
Published on Nov 19 2011 // Diaspora, Main News

The Human Rights Organization of Bhutan (HUROB) has expressed worry over the deteriorating heath conditions of exiled
Bhutanese women, who have been undergoing fast-unto-death since Tuesday.


Issuing a press statement on Saturday, HUROB Chairperson S.B.Subba requested the Government of Nepal and UNHCR to
consider the case and meet their demands at least on humanitarian ground once for all.

“It may be over stepping of the policy, the kind humanitarian gesture would be highly appreciated and the refugees will remain ever
grateful,” said he.

According to the HUROB, such kindness from the concerned authority would relieve the non-registered Bhutanese refugees forever
from their daily trepidation and psychological fear of insecurity of the future of their children and means of survival.

Subba has warmed that if the problem is left unaddressed, there is fear of 3,749 refugees becoming stateless, and that will become
a concern for the international community.

Meanwhile, the Bhutanese Refugee Representative Repatriation Committee (BRRRC) has asked the Government of Nepal to end the
ongoing hunger strike by fulfilling their demands on moral grounds.

Issuing a press statement on Sunday, BRRRC Chair Dr Bhampa Rai said, demands put forwarded by hunger strikers must be
immediately addressed considering the worsening health conditions.

Meanwhile, a group of rights defenders on Saturday requested protesting women to bring their hunger strike to an end.

However, protestors said, they have decided to sacrifice their lives unless their demands are met.

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Archaeological finds suggest the mountain valleys of Bhutan have been inhabited for several thousand years. The
Bhutanese believe the Lhopu (a small tribe in southwest Bhutan who speak a Tibeto-Burman language) to be the
aboriginal inhabitants of the country, who were subsequently displaced by the arrival of Tibetans of Mongolian
descent. Others consider the identification too narrow, and suggest that various other tribes represent the aboriginal
peoples. The Ngalop, the ethnic group that comprises the majority of the population concentrated in the central and
western valleys, are clearly related to the Tibetans to the north, sharing physical, linguistic, and cultural traits,
indicating that at some unknown time in the past a significant migration of Tibetans arrived over the Himalayan
mountain passes to establish the base of the present population. Padmasambhava, also known as Guru Rimpoche, is
usually credited with bringing Tantric Buddhism to Bhutan, but two rare sites representing an earlier influence predate
him. Kyichu in Paro and Jambey in Bumthang where built in 659 AD, a century or so ahead before Guru Rimpoche's
arrival, by the quasi-legendary King of Tibet Songtsen Gampo. In the 8th century the Indian Guru Padmasambhava
arrived in Bhutan, bringing Tantric Buddhism (which would evolve into Tibetan Buddhism over the next 400 years).
He establishing a number of temples and monasteries, including the famous Taktshang monastery built high on a cliff
face above the Paro valley and Kurjey Lhakhang in Bumthang. Until the early 1600s, Bhutan existed as a patchwork
of minor warring fiefdoms until unified by the Tibetan lama and military leader Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal.
Escaping political foes in Tibet he arrived in Bhutan in 1616 and initiated a program of fortification and military
consolidation, overseeing the construction of impressive dzongs or fortresses such as Simtokha Dzong which guards
the entrance to Thimphu valley. An insightful leader, he used cultural symbols as well as military force to establish a
Bhutanese national identity, including the initiation of a number of sacred dances to be performed in the annual tsechu
festivals. The Shabdrung also established the dual system of government by which control of the country was shared
between a spiritual leader (the Je Khempo) and an administrative leader (the Desi Druk), a polity which exists in
modified form to this day. After the Shabdrung's death, infighting and civil war eroded the power of the shabdrung
for the next 200 years until 1885, when the Penlop of Trongsa, Ugyen Wangchuck gained an upper hand over rival
forces and sought to cultivated ties with the British in India. The 1870s and 1880s were marked by civil war between
the rival power centers of Paro and Trongsa valleys. In 1885 Ugyen Wangchuck, the penlop (governor) of Trongsa,
gained control of the country and ended the civil war, aided by support from the British (the penlop of Paro being
aligned with the Tibetans). Under British influence a monarchy was formally established on December 17th, 1907
with Ugyen Wangchuck as the First King of Bhutan. This day is celebrated in today as National Day of Bhutan.
Three years later a treaty was signed whereby the country became a British protectorate. The monarchy initially had
to work to gain legitimacy against the machinations of their opponents who promoted the reincarnation of the
Shabdrung as the rightful ruler of Bhutan. The issue came to a head in 1931 when the Shabdrung made an appeal to
Mahatma Gandhi to terminate the Wangchuck dynasty, after which the Shabdrung was assassinated by pro-royalty
agents. Surprisingly, the 3rd and 4th kings of Bhutan both promoted the elimination of their own absolute powers
over the objections of the National Assembly. Beginning in 1969 and lasting until his death in 1972, the Third King of
Bhutan ended his veto power over the National Assembly. Upon his untimely death, the national assembly gave back
the veto power to the king's son, now the Fourth King of Bhutan, who later followed in his father's noble footsteps
by convincing the assembly in 1998 to again formally end the absolute veto power of the king, teaching that it was
better for the future of the country that his powers be circumscribed by theirs. In December 2005 the present 4th
king announced publicly that he will abdicate in 2008 to coincide with the first national election and introduction of
Bhutan's new constitution. He will be succeeded by his son the 5th king of Bhutan who will be 28 years old then. The
present king also announced the retirement age of the kings as 60 years and intends to endorse it in the new
constitution of Bhutan much against the public outcry. Under the direction of Bhutan's third king, Jigme Dorji
Wangchuck, Bhutan adopted a policy of gradual exposure to the outside world. Bhutan gained United Nations
recognition as a sovereign country in 1971. Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the present and fourth king in the line,
ascended to the throne in 1972 at age 17 upon the death of his father. His coronation in June 1974 was the occasion
for inviting a select number of diplomats and guests from around the world to the isolated kingdom, marking the
beginning of regular (if modest) interaction with outside visitors. The fourth king has since shown great skill in steering
his country towards 21st century modernity while preserving the distinctive Bhutanese cultural with its roots in the
17th century. He is best known in the West for his goal of seeking the highest Gross National Happiness for his
country, rather than the more conventional Gross National Product. In 1988 Bhutan was reported to have evicted
over 100,000 Nepali-speaking residents (other reports say 40,000) from districts in southern Bhutan, creating a
large refugee community that is now being detained in seven temporary United Nations refugee camps in Nepal and
Sikkim. On March 26, 2005, "an auspicious day when the stars and elements converge favourably to create an
environment of harmony and success", the king and government distribute a draft of the country's first Constitution,
requesting that every citizen review it. A new house of parliament, the National Council, is chartered consisting of 20
elected representatives from each of the dzonghags along with 5 distinguished persons selected by the King. The
National Council would be paired with the other already existing house, the National Assembly. Per the Constitution,
the monarchy is given a leadership role in setting the direction for the government as long as the King shall
demonstrate his commitment and ability to safeguard the interests of the kingdom and its people. On Sunday
November 13, 2005 soldiers of the People's Republic of China crossed into Bhutan at several points, marching as
far as 20 kilometers into the interior and entering a number of districts including Haa, Paro, Wangdi Phodrang, and
Bumthang. They erected a number of bridges and roads. Later Chinese diplomats would dismiss the objections of
the Bhutanese government, claiming the roads were merely "being built as part of the economic development
programmes for western China". The presence of Chinese military personnel on Bhutanese land is a chilling reminder
of the maps issued by China in 1961 claiming portions of Bhutan as Chinese territory. The 6,000 man Royal Bhutan
Army is no match for the 2,250,0000 man Peoples Liberation Army, so Bhutan must rely on world opinion and the
Indian Army for protection.
On December 15, 2006, the fourth Druk Gyalpo, His Majesty Jigme Singye
Wangchuck, abdicated all of his powers as King to his son, Prince Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, with a
specific intention to prepare the young King for the country's transformation to a full-fledged, democratic form of
government due to occur on 06 November 2008.

Sources: Wikipedia: History of Bhutan
Click on map for larger view
Click on flag for Country Report
TRAFFICKING IN
PERSONS
None reported.
Prince Jigyel Ugyen Wangchuck
Heir Apparent  since 14 December 2006

Note: Brother of King, second son of
Jigme Singye Wangchuck