Saving refugees or saving borders? Southeast Asian states and the Indochinese refugee crisis
Davies, Sara E. (2006) Saving refugees or saving borders? Southeast Asian states and the Indochinese refugee crisis. Global Change, Peace and Security, 18(1), pp. 3-24.
This article charts the response of Southeast Asian states to the Indochinese refugee crisis between 1975 and the 1979 Geneva conference. The purpose of this article is to understand why the outbreak of Southeast Asia’s largest refugee crisis since World War II did not prompt the region’s states to accede to international refugee law. It is argued that most Southeast Asian states continued to reject international refugee law during this period because they believed that their interests were best served by this policy. That is, Southeast Asian states conducted a form of ‘refugee manipulation’ because their persistent refusal to sign the instruments compelled Western states (the United States in particular) to provide material assistance to the refugees and offer resettlement places. Thus, the Southeast Asian states’ strategy placed the onus for responding to the crisis on international institutions and Western states. Furthermore, many Southeast Asian states justified their refusal to sign the instruments by referring to the latter’s Eurocentric character. Ultimately, this argument allowed many of the region’s states to absolve themselves of responsibility for taking the lead in responding to the crisis.
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