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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
95/03/16 STATEMENT:  C. SYKES ON COMPREHENSIVE PLAN OF ACTION
BUREAU OF POPULATION, REFUGEES, AND MIGRATION



                                   STATEMENT BY
              DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE CHARLES SYKES
                  HEAD OF THE UNITED STATES DELEGATION TO THE 
                     SIXTH STEERING COMMITTEE MEETING OF 
                        THE COMPREHENSIVE PLAN OF ACTION
                                      GENEVA
                                  MARCH 16, 1995


THANK YOU MR. CHAIRMAN.

WE ARE PLEASED TODAY TO JOIN WITH UNHCR AND OUR CPA COLLEAGUES TO 
RECOGNIZE THE ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE CPA AND TO REAFFIRM OUR COMMITMENT TO 
A JUST AND HUMANE CONCLUSION TO OUR MUTUAL EFFORTS.  THOSE EFFORTS HAVE 
SAVED COUNTLESS LIVES AND ESTABLISHED A PRECEDENT FOR INTERNATIONAL 
HUMANITARIAN COOPERATION THAT WE SHOULD CHERISH AND CONTINUE TO PURSUE.

IN JOINING THE STEERING COMMITTEE CONSENSUS, THE UNITED STATES WISHES TO 
RESTATE ITS FIRM COMMITMENT TO THE PRINCIPLES OF THE CPA AND ITS FIRM 
SUPPORT OF THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THOSE PRINCIPLES.  WE DO NOT LOSE SIGHT 
OF THE FACT THAT OUR EFFORTS FOCUS ON THE LIVES OF THOSE WHO REMAIN IN 
THE CAMPS AND ON HOW WE CAN BRING ABOUT THE MOST HUMANE RESOLUTION OF 
THE PROBLEMS THEY FACE.

WITH THE END OF STATUS DETERMINATION, THE VAST MAJORITY OF THOSE WHO 
REMAIN HAVE BEEN SCREENED OUT.  IT IS THE POSITION OF THE U.S. 
GOVERNMENT THAT THOSE WHO ARE NOT REFUGEES SHOULD RETURN TO VIETNAM AND 
CAN NO LONGER RETAIN THE FALSE HOPE OF RESETTLEMENT DIRECTLY FROM THE 
CAMPS TO THE UNITED STATES OR ELSEWHERE.  TO NOURISH SUCH HOPES, EVEN 
WITH THE BEST OF INTENTIONS, IS MISLEADING.

FOR THIS REASON, THE UNITED STATES IS UNEQUIVOCAL IN ITS BELIEF THAT 
RETURN HOME IS NOT ONLY THE SOLE REMAINING OPTION FOR THOSE WHO ARE NOT 
REFUGEES -- IT IS ALSO THE MOST HUMANE.  FURTHERMORE, RETURN TO VIETNAM 
IS ALSO THE BEST OPTION FOR NON-REFUGEES WHO MAY BE ELIGIBLE IN THE 
FUTURE FOR RESETTLEMENT ABROAD UNDER IMMIGRATION OR OTHER HUMANITARIAN 
CRITERIA ESTABLISHED BY INDIVIDUAL COUNTRIES WHICH CHOOSE TO PROCESS 
APPLICANTS IN VIETNAM.  WE EXPECT LEGAL MIGRATION PROGRAMS, SUCH AS THE 
ONGOING AND SUCCESSFUL ORDERLY DEPARTURE PROGRAM, TO EVOLVE AND TO 
RESPOND TO SUCH NEEDS AND WE LOOK FORWARD TO THE CONTINUED COOPERATION 
OF THE SOCIALIST REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM IN THIS REGARD.

AS WE RECOGNIZE THE NEED FOR THOSE WHO ARE NOT REFUGEES TO RETURN TO 
VIETNAM, SO DO WE, WITH OUR COLLEAGUES IN THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY, 
RECOGNIZE OUR RESPONSIBILITY TO HELP THEM BEGIN NEW LIVES.

THE EXPERIENCE TO DATE OF THE MORE THAN 70,000 PEOPLE WHO HAVE RETURNED 
HOME FROM THE CAMPS GIVES US CONFIDENCE THAT, WITH THE COOPERATION AND 
ASSISTANCE OF THE VIETNAMESE GOVERNMENT, THOSE WHO RETURN IN THE FUTURE 
WILL HAVE HOPE, AND THE OPPORTUNITY, TO REESTABLISH THEIR LIVES.  WE 
LOOK FORWARD TO CONTINUING COOPERATION BETWEEN UNHCR AND THE SOCIALIST 
REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM IN THE PROCESS OF MONITORING THE WELFARE OF THOSE 
WHO RETURN.

THE UNITED STATES HAS BEEN WORKING CLOSELY WITH NON-GOVERNMENTAL 
ORGANIZATIONS TO PROVIDE SOME USD 8 MILLION IN SUPPORT OF PROJECTS IN 
VIETNAM TO ASSIST THOSE WHO RETURN.  OUR OBJECTIVE IS TO HELP THOSE WHO 
RETURN, AND AT THE SAME TIME PROVIDE FURTHER INCENTIVE FOR VOLUNTARY 
RETURN FOR SCREENED-OUT ASYLUM SEEKERS WHO REMAIN UNDECIDED.  WE ARE 
COMMITTED TO EMPHASIZING VOLUNTARY RETURN AND TO MAINTAINING OUR 
PARTNERSHIP WITH NGOS IN THE PROCESS OF SEEKING AND ACHIEVING HUMANE 
SOLUTIONS FOR THOSE WHO REMAIN IN THE CAMPS.

IN ADDITION TO TAKING THE NECESSARY STEPS TO RESOLVE THE PROBLEMS OF 
VIETNAMESE ASYLUM-SEEKERS, WE ARE ALSO MINDFUL OF THE NEED TO ADDRESS 
THE UNIQUE PROBLEMS OF LAO REFUGEES IN THAILAND.  AS WITH VIETNAMESE IN 
THE CAMPS, THE UNITED STATES RECOGNIZES ITS SPECIAL RESPONSIBILITY TO 
TAKE PART IN A HUMANE EFFORT TO SOLVE THE PROBLEMS OF THE LAO REFUGEES.

OUR CONCERN HERE IS TO RECALL THE CLEAR DIFFERENCE IN THE SITUATION OF 
THE LAO AND THAT OF THE SCREENED-OUT VIETNAMESE.  THE VAST MAJORITY OF 
LAO IN THAI CAMPS HAVE BEEN DEEMED TO BE REFUGEES AND, BECAUSE OF THIS, 
RESETTLEMENT SHOULD REMAIN AN ACCEPTABLE DURABLE SOLUTION FOR THEM.  THE 
U.S. GOVERNMENT BELIEVES THAT THE LANGUAGE CONTAINED IN PARAGRAPH 27 OF 
THE STEERING COMMITTEE STATEMENT WE WILL APPROVE TODAY, WHICH CALLS ON 
ALL PARTIES CONCERNED "TO CONTINUE AND INTENSIFY EFFORTS TO IDENTIFY 
DURABLE SOLUTIONS," RECOGNIZES THE CONTINUED VIABILITY OF RESETTLEMENT 
AS A DURABLE SOLUTION FOR AT LEAST A PART OF THE REMAINING LAO REFUGEE 
POPULATION IN THAILAND.  THE UNITED STATES REMAINS PREPARED TO DO WHAT 
IT CAN IN THIS CONNECTION, CONSISTENT WITH THE REQUIREMENTS OF OUR 
IMMIGRATION LAW.

AS WE HAVE NOTED MANY TIMES AND AS WE RECOGNIZED THE SUCCESSES OF THE 
CPA, THE UNITED STATES BELIEVES IT IS IMPORTANT FOR ALL OF US TO 
CONTINUE TO RESPECT THE PRINCIPLE OF NON-REFOULEMENT.  THIS PRINCIPLE, 
AFTER ALL, HAS BEEN ONE OF THE CORNERSTONES OF THE CPA.  IT IS, IN 
ESSENCE, THAT BONA FIDE REFUGEES SHOULD NOT BE SENT BACK TO THE SOURCE 
OF THEIR PERSECUTION.  THIS PRINCIPLE HAS BEEN HONORED BY THE CPA 
PARTICIPANTS AND IT IS IN ACCORD WITH THE HUMANITARIAN PRINCIPLES WE ALL 
ESPOUSE.  WE BELIEVE IT IS BOTH APPROPRIATE AND HONORABLE TO CONTINUE TO 
RECOGNIZE IN WORD WHAT WE ALL ACCEPT IN FACT.

FINALLY, THE CPA HAS SHOWN THE VALUE OF BROADER CONSULTATIONS AND 
COOPERATION ON MIGRATION AND REFUGEE QUESTIONS.  IT IS OUR HOPE THAT AS 
THE CPA COMES TO A SUCCESSFUL CONCLUSION, UNHCR AND THE COUNTRIES IN THE 
REGION, WITH ASSISTANCE FROM ENTITIES SUCH AS THE INTERNATIONAL 
ORGANIZATION FOR MIGRATION, WILL TRANSLATE THE EXPERIENCE TO DATE INTO A 
CONTINUING FORUM FOR SUCH COOPERATION AND DIALOGUE.  WE ALL RECOGNIZE 
THAT MIGRATION, IN ITS VARIOUS MANIFESTATIONS, IS ONE OF THE GREATEST 
FUTURE CHALLENGES THAT WE FACE IN COMMON.

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