Originally published on Make Change Magazine.
In the 1980s, the government of Bhutan ordered an ethnic cleansing in an attempt to control the Nepali-speaking Bhutanese community. The government cut Nepali language courses from school curriculum, required citizens to wear traditional Bhutanese attire, and enforced a strict etiquette code that interfered with the group's Hindu religion. Known as Lhotshampa, these ethnic Nepalese had their lands seized by the government and a few years later, more than 100,000 people were forced to flee. Because the majority were Bhutanese citizens, deportation left them stateless, and they were forced to seek safety in neighboring countries.