The dilemma of refugees: lessons from the Thai experience
Rhie, Ann Y.
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The specter of refugees is inextricably linked to a state's national security interests. Mass movements of refugees across international borders cannot possibly be absorbed without incurring political. social and economic costs to the receiving state. To contribute to regional stability and international peace. the United States must be Vigilaint to the dangers and tensions inherent in the international problem of refugees. Nowhere have the complications of hosting refugees been demonstrated more clearly than in the case of Thailand in the past two decades. As the United States faces ethical, political, and social dilemmas posed by the threat of refugees to its national security, and examination of Thai refugee policy may be helpful in formulating an American policy on this important issue. This thesis will calJ attention to the extent of the world's refugee problem: how some states have exploited refugees as instruments of their foreign policy: and what action receiving states can take to minimize the destabilizing effects of refugee populations on their borders. Specifically_ I will examine Thailand's refugee crises with Laos. Cambodia. and Vietnam. Thailand's experience with refugees is a microcosm of a universal problem Finally. it will dra'' broad lessons from the Thai experience for the consideration of U.S. policy-makers responsible for refugee issues.
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