Lyonchhen Dasho Tshering Tobgay on Friday made the position of the Royal Government of Bhutan (RGoB) clear on the issue of racism or attempts to attack and divide people on ethnic lines be it on social media or in the real world.
Responding to a question on the issue and clarifying the RGoB’s stand, Lyonchhen said, “Racism cannot and will not be tolerated in all its forms.”
Lyonchhen said that the government will take it seriously if an individual or a community is subject to racism or racist behavior.
The PM’s statements come on the back of the growing phenomenon of racist attacks, especially in the social media. Some of them being politically motivated. It is also in the backdrop of attempts in the social media by some to create divisions within the country’s diverse ethnic profile.
The PM said that racism was not only morally wrong but it also violated the Constitution of Bhutan. Lyonchhen said that even though Bhutan is enjoying unprecedented peace and prosperity the issue of racism must be taken very seriously.
He said that it was wrong to divide the country along ethnic, religious and regional lines.
Lyonchhen said that His Majesty The King has repeated on many occasions, including on the last National Day, that as a small country with a small population sandwiched between two very large countries Bhutan cannot afford to be divided within.
Lyonchhen said that the country must stay united and guard against division along ethnic, social, religious and geographical lines.
The PM said that as a result most Bhutanese, if not all, should be aware of the importance of not engaging in any form of racism and staying united in the face of unimaginable external challenges.
The government said that so far one one case of an inter-case marriage was brought before it and the government had taken action.
The PM said that Bhutan has been a peaceful and harmonious country and that too in spite of being a young democracy.
Lyonchhen said, “there are checks and balances and freedoms of thought and expression and it is very peaceful primarily because the Constitution guarantees equality between ethnicities, gender and therefore it is not just wrong but also constitutionally wrong to divide our country along ethnic, religious and other lines.”
Lyonchhen that one of good things about Bhutan is that most people understand that Bhutanese all over the country are one people under one King in one country and that this is the source of Bhutan’s strength.
The PM said that if there is any racism against an individual or a community then they should first approach the court and the government will provide all help and support that is required.
Lyonchhen said that people can approach the government with issues of racism and also file online complaints through the e-Kasel system.