Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on July 27, 1975 · Page 24
Get access to this page with a Free Trial
Click to view larger version

Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 24

Charleston, West Virginia
Issue Date:
Sunday, July 27, 1975
Page 24
Start Free Trial

Page 24 article text (OCR)

-Julv27,1975 ' Aei! PROBLEM Fate Hanging in Balance for Thousands Of Indochinese Refugees Still in Thailand Bv Denis D. Grav BANGKOK. Thailand tf - The fate of tens of thousands of Indochinese refugees still in Thailand hangs in the balance: The United States is not prepared to take the bulk of them; the Thai government says it can't keep them, and the United Nations is only starting to tackle the problem. Thai and American officials estimate there are 40,000 to 50.000 Cambodians, Laos and Vietnamese in Thailand. And while the influx of Vietnamese has stopped. Cambodians and Laos continue to come in. Cambodia fell to the Communist-dominated Khmer Rouge in mid-April. South Vietnam fell on April 30 and Laos since has come gradually under the dominant influence of the pro-Communist Pathet Lao. Judging from the latest instructions from Washington. U.S. officials say, at best a third of the estimated 7.000 Cambodians in Thailand might be allowed into the United States. But no mention is made of the largest refugee group, the Meo hill tribes people of Laos, who were considered among the best and most loyal fighters the U.S. government supported in Indochina. The United States has to date taken about 80 per cent of the Indochinese refugees that have already been resettled out- side of Thailand, according to United Nations and U.S. Embassy statistics. THAILAND has been saddled with the problem of caring for the refugees mostly because of 1.700 miles of border with Laos and Cambodia and proximity to Vietnam. It faces the refugee problem with considerable political embarrassment since the Thai government is anxious for peaceful coexistence with its new Communist-dominated neighbors. "Our standing policy toward the refugees is to send all of them back to their homelands while helping them the best we can for humanitarian reasons." Premier Kukrit Pramoj recently told newsmen. "We don't want the refugees to create misunderstandings with our Indochinese neighbors." Most Western observers, however, do not foresee the Thais actually forcing refugees back across the frontiers and predict that some at least may quietly be allowed to settle in the country. But largely, Thai policy has been one of "wait and see," hoping the United States and other countries will take the refugees off their hands. Several reliable U.S. diplomatic sources and American refugee relief workers here also say high-ranking Thai officials have told them privately that the lives of the refugees are not being made too comfortable so as to dampen any desires for staying in Thailand permanently. U.S. Embassy officials in the refugee program say many of the remaining 2,000 Vietnamese refugees in Thailand meet the two criteria for admittance to the United States -- employment by the U.S. government at the time of the American evacuation of South Vietnam or having a relative in the United States. Very few of the Cambodians meet such requirements for entry and almost all the 2,400 "spaces" set aside by Washington for Cambodians coming from Thailand have now been filled and the refugees flown out of the country, the officials say. These "spaces" were not subject to the normal criteria. A State Department cable earlier this month, said Cambodian and Lao "leaders" and "high-risk personnel" those whose lives might be in serious danger if they returned to their homelands -would be granted entry, the officials said. It is difficult to estimate how many refugees could fit into these two categories, but a diplomat charged with the Cambodian refugee problem said between 2,000 and 3,000 might qualify. * « * THE ESTIMATED 4,000 ethnic Lao and 34,000 Meo tribesmen have not been designated as "refugees' 1 by the American government and consequently none has to date been admitted to the United States, the official? say. U.T. Kadry, the regional director of the U.N. High Commission for Refugees, said in an interview that his agency has not yet provided aid to the camps but has helped several hundred "legal entrants" from In- dochinese nations, including payment for their air fares out of Thailand. "Legal entrants" are people with proper exit documents and identification papers and they form a minor fraction of the total refugee population in Thailand. Kadry said he hoped a recent meeting between Thai Foreign Minister Chatichai Choonhavan and U.N. officials in Geneva would produce some concrete steps toward "a permanent solution" to the refugee problem. The foreign minister told newsmen that the International Red Cross and the U.N. High Commission would send representatives to see what could be done to help the Thai government in dealing with the refugee problem. Chatichai said Prince Sadruddin Agha Khan, the head of the high commission, told him his agency would try to allocate some funds for the refugees. Thousands of the refugees live under conditions which the U.S. diplomat charged with the Cambodians described as "generally poor." He said that during his recent visit to one of the largest refugee camps, about 1,000 Cambodians had no meat, vegetables or fruit to eat and that only a small bag of rice and some dried fish were provided daily to each family. He added that he detected signs of malnutrition and fever, especially among the children, and said medical care was substandard. "They get just enough to keep them alive," he said of conditions at the Arany- aprathet border camp. "The people are literally packed together like in a concentration camp. They don't want these people comfortable, they want them out." One of the many letters sent to the U.S. Embassy from persons identifying themselves as refugees said: "We have to use stream water for drinking. Many men, women and children are sick. The local governor does not give us any medicine. We have to buy it in the drug store. "The houses we live in are built to shelter cattle or horses rather than human beings. Now we only wait for the time to be evacuated to the United States or else-, where to begin a new life which we could not hope to see here." The writer identified himself as a Cambodian. -APWirephoto Cambodian Youngsters at Camp in Thailand Fate of Refugees Like These Hangs in Balance * * * It's Nap Time for a Youngster at a Refugee Camp Thailand Scene Is Not Unusual as Refugees Pour In -APWirephoto THE INTERIOR ministry said the Thai government was spending about $8,000 a day to feed the refugees--about 20 cents a person--and added that a bill now before Parliament would increase general aid to the refugees. Two American relief workers, contracted by the U.S. Embassy to make a complete survey of all eight of the Cambodian refugee camps, said conditions at some of them were better than those seen at Aran- yaprathet while at others they were far worse. The survey showed that most of the Cambodians wanted to go to the United States. Least is known by Thai and American U.S. Still Checking 57 Refugees officials about the Laos, the most recent of the refugee groups. One embassy official said about half of the estimated 4,000 ethnic Laos might qualify for entry to the United States were the pipeline to be fully opened for the Laos. He said the United States would probably not permit the Meo hill tribes people to go, especially since they generally act as a group rather than individuals and would probably want to emigrate en masse. Many refugees slip out of the camps to come to Bangkok. They crowd the lobbies of the American Embassy and U.N. offices, seeking help. To control the refugee population, all who fail to register and obtain proper identification papers by Aug. 3 will be arrested and charged with illegal entry under a new decree of the Thai government. Statistics compiled by the U.S. Embassy and the United Nations give the following breakdown of Cambodian and Vietnamese refugees in Thailand who were accepted by foreign nations as of early July: the United States 6,31)0, Malaysia 700, France 600, Canada 300, Norway 83, Austria 29, Italy 8, New Zealand 1 and Belgium 1. One refugee official at the American Embassy said representatives of other nations occasionally stop by to ask about procedures for accepting refugees but to date have taken no action. Win Your High School Ring We're giving a FREE class ring to someone--enter now! Winner gets either a Boy's Siladium ring or on elegant 1 Ok gold Girl's ring, both by John Roberts, and from Lillys' Crown Jewelers. Your class ring is for a lifetime. The extra meaning to you demands extra quality from us--you'll like wrtat you see at our display. So Register now for the drawing: August 18th. DUNBARVItUGE r r r r v s ' SHOPPING CENTER LILLYS - DU|(BAR LOGAN NEW - JEWELERS" ARTINSV1LLE "For gifts you'll give with pride" No purchase necessary... enter now! (C) New York Times Service CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - With security checks completed on all but a handful of the Vietnamese and Cambodian refugees who have arrived at four military bases in the United States, only 57 are still being held up for further investigation, the Immigration and Naturalization Service said Friday. Thirty of those upon whom inquiries are still being made are at this Southern California Marine base, 16 are at Fort Chaffee, Ark., and 11 at Indiantown Gap, Pa. No cases are reported pending at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Among those still being delayed for checks, 35 are said to be considered possibly serious cases. "The 35 would be the ones we have possible serious information on, grounds that they could possibly be excluded on," said Janet Graham, an immigration spokesman in Washington. Twenty-six of the cases here were said to be serious. Nine involve allegations of criminal activities; six, narcotics use or trafficking; and 11, subversion. At Indiantown Gap, three persons are charged with .subversion. At Fort Chaffee, one is being held up on allegations of criminal activi- tiy, two on narcotics charges and three on subversion. Of the more than 116,000 refugees who have passed through or are still at the four camps, Miss Graham said, only 128 remain to be processed, inluding the 57 being delayed for further investigaton of charges. The 9,800 remaining at such Pacific bases as Guam and Wake will not receive their final security checks until they arrive in the United States. Miss Graham said the investigations, which were required by Congress under the Refugee Assistance Act, so far have only turned up 327 cases that could potentially have prevented the person's release in the United States. Of these, 270 have been completely cleared up, she said, and ifl no cases have the charges been definitely sustained as yet. "However, there is one who has requested repatriation," she said. Earlier, the delays in processing caused by the security checks came in for widespread criticism, but Miss Graham said with some apparent relief Friday: "We've really pretty much cleared this up and I think fairly rapidly considering the numbers." The security checks were basically negative ones under which the Immigration and Naturalization Service sent the names of all refugees 18 years old and older to five federal agencies to determine if they had any derogatory information on file about the person. The agencies are the De- fense Department, the State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Drug Enforcement Agency and, in the case of persons who had been in the United States before, the Federal Bureau of Investigation. · An Immigration official said the State Department had brought back files from Saigon on thousands of Vietnamese, but he denied reprts that any South Vietnamese police files had been brought to the United States and were being used in the investigations. If any negative information was found in any of the agencies' files, the refugee was held up for further investigation. However, officials insist that they have not been separated from or treated any differently than any other people in the camps. A.B.'s of Course __. \ ALL MEN'S WOMEN'S { SPRING and SUMMER SHOES ON SALE \ \ No Nuclear Development In Pakistan, Envoy Says SAN FRANCISCO -ft - Pakistan will not develop nuclear weapons although Indian possession of such arms "has caused a great deal of public concern." the Pakistan ambassador to the United States says. Ambassador Sahab-Zada Yaqub Khan told the Commonwealth Club of California on. Friday that development of atomic capability would "be a diversion of resources when we are so far away from our goals. "We cannot afford this luxury." added Khan, a lieutenant general and chief of staff of the Pakistani army until becoming a diplomat three years ago. He said Indian possession of atomic weapons has impeded "normalization" of relations between the two countries after the 1971 war in which East Pakistan an independent state. ^ Khan said Pakistan must concentrate ori the goals of becoming self-sufficient in food, bringing population under control and generally improving education and living standards. FOR QUICK RESULTS USE GAZETTE AND DAILY MAIL WANT ADS PH, 3484848 the State Fair of West Virginia -PREVIEW DAYS Aug. 15,16, 17--Midway, Grandstand and Horse Snows. Aug. 1 ft--Fair in Full Swing! Arts and Crafts. · FREE Grandstand Afternoons Agricultural Exhibits · 9 Days of Horse Shows. Racing for 5 Days. · Top High School Bands. Big Name Stars. · Cattle Shows, 5 Days. Junior Livestock Auction. Amusement, Midway, 9 Days. ! West Virginia's Largest Agricultural Exhibit Lewisburg-Ronceverte U. S. 219 /ly/ii^i/iiui c*i t-/\ni*xn -- · -- - -- · August 15-23 w w wry, no Lay away on Sale Items '«f " J 1 CHARGE THRK WNS X^^sw ^- \t. A: I CHARGE THREE WAYS ^ MONDAY 10:30 TILL 9:00 BUDGET TUESDAY THRU THURSDAY 10:30 TiU 5:30 FRIDAY 10:30 Till 8:00 SATWIAY 10:00 TIU 5:00

Get full access with a Free Trial

Start Free Trial

What members have found on this page