Page images
PDF
EPUB

- 10

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.

C.

Displaced persons in the Persian Gulf

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

[blocks in formation]

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

- 11

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

[blocks in formation]

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. The

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.

- 12

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,

[blocks in formation]

borders, most will require the same short-term care and

transportation assistance as those who fled before them.

[blocks in formation]

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

more than

one-fifth of the country's population. Although assistance

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

- 14

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.

1

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.

III.

Refugee Admissions

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

« PreviousContinue »