Action in the Refugee Crisis of Southeast Asia

1979 Church of the Brethren Resolution

The tragedy of conflict and chaos in the world is producing a seemingly endless flow of men, women and children seeking safe havens; either ferrying in small boats, swimming rivers, or marching many miles. The worldwide total is now greater than after World War II. Every region is touched: Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, the Middle East, and North America.

The flight of humanity in Southeast Asia has reached Crisis proportions. The countries of first asylum, beset by internal struggles, now are taking measures to stem the tide. Their urgent appeals to the international community have been heard but have received inadequate response. Heeding the ever growing cry of homeless refugees, the Church of the Brethren through its Annual Conference assembled at Seattle, Washington, July 3-8, 1979, resolves:

1. to urge the United States Government to effect an immediate movement from Southeast Asia of all refugees sponsored and ready for entrance into the United States, using military aircraft or ships if necessary;

2. to commend the President for his action in increasing the monthly quota of refugees admitted to the United States from Indochina;

3. to encourage the United States Government to take the following action to alleviate the flow of refugees:

a. to seek and develop direct contact with the Republic of Vietnam;

b. to normalize relations with the Republic of Vietnam;

c. to lift the trade embargo against the Republic of Vietnam;

d. to effect urgent implementation of the United Nations High Commission of Refugees (UNHCR) negotiated family reunion plan in large enough numbers to reduce the flow of refugees;

e. to undertake immediate disaster relief, through the United Nations or nongovernmental organizations, for Kampuchea, Vietnam, Laos, and Indonesia where food shortages and logistics are in crisis states; and

f. to increase assistance to Malaysia, Thailand and Hong Kong now bearing the brunt of new arrivals;

4. to pledge its commitment to continued efforts in providing sponsorships for refugees as the numbers of persons admitted to the United States are increased;

5. to urge Congress to pass the Refugee Act of 1979 providing the people of the United States with the necessary legislative and fiscal tools to respond immediately and effectively to current and future refugee needs;

6. to encourage the call for a world conference regarding the refugee situation in Southeast Asia.

SO BE IT RESOLVED this seventh day of July, 1979.

Action of 1979 Conference

The recommendation of Standing Committee to adopt the resolution was presented by Wendell Eller. The Resolution to Action in the Refugee Crisis of Southeast Asia was adopted.

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