Bhutan, Happiness Scales and Civil Rights / Gender Rights Violations 

The UN Human Rights Council issued a report last year with 90 recommendations that Bhutan could implement if it were serious about addressing these civil rights violations and Bhutan instantly indicated a willingness to address 70 of these recommendations. Unfortunately left out of consideration were civil rights violations against Christians and women. From a report from The Diplomat:

“The citizenship ID cards the Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs issues to them contain seven categories. Category 1 is for “genuine Bhutanese citizens.” Category 2 is for southerners who left Bhutan once and then returned; 3 is for those who were not around when the 1988 census was held; 4 refers to non-national women married to Bhutanese men, and their children; 5 is for non-national men married to Bhutanese women, and their children; 6 is for legally adopted children. And category 7 would mean the card holder is a non-national.Holders of cards in categories other than 1 and 4 normally do not get the security clearance required for a passport. They cannot get voter ID cards either, which mean they cannot vote. Worse, those who carry category 7 cards, or fall in that category – and there are significant numbers of them – cannot get admission into schools or get government or corporate jobs. They find it difficult to travel even within the country – they get a ‘route permit’ for restricted domestic travel.”

What’s more, while Bhutan allows freedom of religion, it does not allow Christians for form any kind of organization, so there are no churches, no Christian book stores or Christian schools in Bhutan. These are clearly serious civil rights violations, all the more reprehensible when they occur in a country that is heralded for advancing such a compassionate, forward-thinking system as the Gross National Happiness index. Click here to read much more about Bhutanese civil rights violations.