The Indochinese Exodus:

A Humanitarian Dilemma

ID-79-20: Published: Apr 24, 1979. Publicly Released: Apr 24, 1979.

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Massive refugee migrations in Southeast Asia set off in 1975 by changes of government in Vietman, Cambodia, and Laos, are a problem of both humanitarian and political concern. The refugees pose potentially disruptive political problems for the asylum countries, Thailand, Malyasia, Indonesia, Singapore, the Philippines, and Hong Kong. Only a few countries, the United States, France, Australia, and Canada, have accepted an appreciable number of refugees for resettlement.

In an effort to obtain worldwide participation in aleviating the Indochina refugee crisis, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), has changed its funding program and has held international conferences aimed at obtaining more resettlement offers. It is imperative that appropriate asylum and additional temporary care facilities be provided and effectively managed. Current law does not clearly express U.S. intentions and commitments to refugee resettlement and has made planning and processing of refugees very difficult. Commitments need to be more formally embodied in law to express the will of Congress and possibly to motivate other nations to share refugee relief. A refugee admission and resettlement policy needs to be established.

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