Bhutanese living in Qatar, the Gulf state in the Middle East is safe, assured the ambassador to Kuwait, Tshering Gyaltshen Penjor.

A June 5 press release from the Royal Bhutanese Embassy in Kuwait called on all Bhutanese living in Qatar to exercise normal safety precautions and to remain calm, as there were no pressing reasons to be concerned about the physical safety and security of residents in Qatar.

The press release was issued after reports of several Gulf countries cutting diplomatic ties with Qatar came in. On June 5, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt announced that they would suspend relations with the Gulf state.

The Maldives, Yemen, Mauritius, Mauritania and Jordan have also cut off diplomatic ties with Qatar. According to media reports, Qatar is accused of harbouring a multitude of terrorist and sectarian groups that aim to create instability in the region.

Ambassador Tshering Gyaltshen Penjor said he has been in contact with Bhutanese living in Qatar. “Although there was panic during the first day on June 5, the situation is now calm,” he said in a telephone interview. “The Embassy has been monitoring the situation closely and there is no problem right now. And if there arises one, the embassy is always there for them.”

“The Royal Bhutanese Embassy in Kuwait is monitoring the situation and developments in the region closely and is in touch with relevant agencies to ensure the safety of Bhutanese nationals in Qatar,” the press release stated. It has urged all Bhutanese to join the Bhutanese in Qatar page on Facebook and the WeChat group to stay informed about the situation. Contact numbers of officials have also been shared.

As of May this year, there are 325 Bhutanese, 158 women and 167 men living in Qatar, according to records with the labour ministry. “Although the country is affected, there has been no effect on Bhutanese working there. There has not been any problem until now and they are doing their daily work,” program officer of Overseas Employment Unit with the labour ministry, Ugyen Tashi said.

One of the Bhutanese working in Doha, Qatar, Jigme Dendup, said in a telephone interview that roads have been blocked at the borders for Qataris but he and his Bhutanese friends have not faced any problems. “Our families back home should not be worried,” he said.

Another Bhutanese, Tshering Gyeltshen, who works at Alshaya Company, Doha said, “We have been in touch with the embassy and Bhutanese here through social media groups.”

Phurpa Lhamo, Rinchen Zangmo & Karma Cheki