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determined not to be refugees and who do not object. We expect the U.N. High Commissioner to provide the necessary safeguards to ensure that there is no force or coercion employed and that the existing system for UNHCR monitoring in Vietnam is expanded to cover all returnees.
The August 2 invasion of Kuwait by Iraq has generated a tremendous number of displaced persons. Exact figures are
difficult to determine, because more people flee Iraq and Kuwait every day. However, the following estimates can be considered
accurate to date:
Over 540,000 people have fled to Jordan from Iraq
About 40,000 have crossed the Turkish-Iraqi border
Over 20,000 have crossed the Iraq-Iran border
And well over 240,000 people have fled to Saudi
Arabia and other Gulf states from Kuwait.
Those fleeing are generally not refugees suffering
persecution, but rather third-country nationals who until August 2 were employed in Iraq and Kuwait. In most cases they have escaped with few personal resources, and will return home
penniless. The overwhelming numbers of displaced persons impose a severe resource burden on countries such as Jordan and Turkey.
Jordan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and other countries have undertaken impressive efforts to care for these displaced persons. Although conditions in some of the camps were initially harsh, there have been no deaths due to starvation or epidemic disease. In Jordan, the worst camps have been closed and the residents have been moved to new camps with adequate sanitation and shelter. In Turkey, the only victims of hunger and disease are newly arrived displaced persons who developed their conditions while still in Iraq.
The international response to this emergency has grown rapidly and is now effectively meeting the challenge. The Red Crescent societies in Jordan, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia have been in the forefront in helping care for the displaced persons. They are now backed up by an array of international agencies and personnel. In Jordan, the U.N. Disaster Relief Organization (UNDRO) coordinates the work of several U.N. agencies. International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the League of Red Cross/Red Crescent Societies (LICROSS) are also playing major roles. U.S. and European non-governmental organizations have become active as well.
Perhaps the most critical element in this emergency is the effort to transport the displaced persons back to their home countries. Egyptians make up the largest number of these individuals. Saudi Arabia and the EC have now largely assured steady movement of Egyptians through Jordan and back home. India is stepping up repatriation of its citizens to more than 3,000 per day. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is coordinating transportation arrangements for the other displaced persons, mostly those from South Asia whose governments cannot cover the costs. IOM scheduled the movement of 50,000 persons through the end of September. As a result of those efforts, the number of persons in Jordan has dropped to below 50,000.
The international donor community has committed over $200 million to this relief effort, including cash, aircraft, food, and other supplies. The United States has committed up to $28 million $10 million for transportation and up to
$18 million in food and other aid. The efforts of the host governments and generous international assistance have stabilized the situation for now. However, the potential for a future crisis remains. Over 2 million foreign nationals remain in Kuwait and Iraq. If and when they make it across the borders, most will require the same short-term care and transportation assistance as those who fled before them.
I would like to draw attention to an area of the world where there is a grave humanitarian situation that has not received adequate attention of donor nations. I refer to the Liberian refugee crisis, which began some eight months ago. Since June, the number of refugees seeking protection in the neighboring nations of Guinea, Cote d'Ivoire, and Sierra Leone has doubled. There are now more than 500,000 Liberians in asylum
one-fifth of the country's population.
organizations have launched new efforts to care for these
refugees, the response of the donor community has been extremely disappointing. The United States has committed over $5 million
in funding, including 30 percent of the initial UNHCR appeal, and nearly all the food that has been made available for these refugees. The rest of the international community has so far contributed only $4.3 million toward this emergency appeal of the UNHCR. We continue to urge other donor nations not to ignore their responsibility toward these refugees. We are concerned in particular about food deliveries to the refugees in the Forest Region of Guinea; logistical problems have hampered efforts to reach this area. Malnutrition rates there are high, which affect children most severely. And, in each case, the impact on the citizens of the neighboring countries of asylum has been substantial. We have asked the United
Nations to develop a coordinated plan to reach all affected
persons over the coming 6-9 months, as the situation inside of Liberia remains unstable and uncertain.
Mr. Chairman, I have touched on some of the more visible refugee programs that the United States funds. But there are still millions of victims of persecution and war whose circumstances we have not had time to describe. Let me assure you that the United States remains committed to protecting and promoting their well-being no matter how long their exile. My hope is that next year we will be able to report a decrease in the number of refugees worldwide, as many of those now in asylum are repatriated safely to their home countries.
I would now like to turn to the President's proposal for refugee admissions in Fiscal Year 1991.
Historically, part of the American response to refugee situations worldwide has been to offer resettlement
opportunities to a sizable number of refugees. Those who have been resettled in this country have a long tradition of bringing