'Boat people' of Canada - Refugees from Vietnam

After the #VietnamWar, Vietnamese people started migrating to Canada in the mid-1970s. Dubbed the ‘Boat People’, these people made risky journeys across the ocean to escape war-ravaged Vietnam. When South-Asian countries refused to resettle them in their lands, the refugees travelled further to most developed nations like Canada.⁣

After the victory of North Vietnam and the fall of Saigon in 1975, Vietnam faced an economic crisis due to long years of war. The Left-wing Vietnamese government treated any individual associated with the previous regime terribly, forcing them into hard labour and sending them to re-education camps. The ethnic Chinese population, the Hoa, was repressed severely due to rising #China-Vietnam tensions. By 1978, people started to leave #Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia for other South Asian countries and eventually other nations.⁣

Large ships carrying refugees were not given entry into Hong Kong port or in Malaysia. Soon, people started to travel in smaller boats to avoid detection and resistance. The USA, a supporter of the previous Vietnamese government, tried to take in people who helped them to fight back against the communist government, but other people had to find their way into other countries. Between 1978 and 1985, #Canada took in as many as 110000 Vietnamese refugees. But an estimate of 250000 boat people perished in the sea.⁣

Canada had the largest per-capita intake of refugees at that point. Canada introduced a new immigration policy in 1976 to fulfil its responsibility toward the international refugee communities. Canadians in cities and towns welcomed the refugees with open arms and often sponsored refugees privately, an unprecedented act. The government collaborated with the public to create a model that helped absorb the refugees into society effectively. Because of their actions, the Nansen Refugee Award of 1986 was awarded to the People of Canada.⁣

Canada’s action during the Vietnamese immigration had earned them the fame of being a refugee-friendly nation. The model introduced at that point helped Canada in many succeeding refugee intakes.

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