Journal Article

Processes and Critiques of the Indo-Chinese Comprehensive Plan of Action: An Instrument of International Burden-Sharing?

Richard Towle

in International Journal of Refugee Law

Volume 18, issue 3-4, pages 537-570
Published in print September 2006 | ISSN: 0953-8186
Published online September 2006 | e-ISSN: 1464-3715 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ijrl/eel015
Processes and Critiques of the Indo-Chinese Comprehensive Plan of Action: An Instrument of International Burden-Sharing?

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The Comprehensive Plan of Action for Indo-Chinese Refugees was devised to respond to the many thousands of people fleeing Vietnam and Laos in the 1980s. The principal objectives of the CPA 1989 were to reverse that exodus by putting in place the political and practical framework that would stem future irregular flows and return those not in need of international protection. It created a system of refugee status determination (screening) in the countries of first asylum that allowed those who met the criteria to be resettled, but those who fell outside to be returned to their country of origin. While it restored asylum in the region, there were many problems with the CPA that led to concerns that it was merely an example of political expediency.

The CPA forced UNHCR to address many mandate and ethical issues. Under the CPA, UNHCR was the primary vehicle through which many of the burden-sharing arrangements were coordinated and steered. The Agency played a pivotal, and in many respects novel, role in all aspects of the CPA in the region, particularly in Vietnam. For UNHCR, the CPA was confirmation that to protect refugees and the institution of asylum, the organisation had to be actively engaged at all stages and places in the displacement cycle, including with non-refugees and in countries of origin.

Journal Article.  13662 words. 

Subjects: Human Rights and Immigration ; Refugee Studies

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