VIETNAM Vietnam is a small country in Southeast Asia. It was ruled by the French from 1857 to 1954. The Vietnam War began in 1957 and ended in 1975. Vietnam was separated into North Vietnam and South Vietnam. North Vietnam was communist, and they wanted to end U.S. support of South Vietnam. North Vietnam wanted to combine the two parts into one country.
Where Anh Do’s story begins: Do’s Family fled Vietnam in 1980. This wasn’t a decision they made lightly. During the war two of Anh’s uncles had fought beside American and Australian soldiers. When he war ended in 1975 they, like many others were imprisoned in communist “re-education” camps.
Reeducation camps were prison camps operated by the Government of Vietnam following the end of the Vietnam War.
Officially, the Vietnamese government does not consider the reeducation camps prisons, but rather places where individuals could be rehabilitated into society through education and socially consrtuctive labour.
They were a means of not only imprisoning and punishing the former military officers and government workers from South Vietnam, but it was also a means of indoctrinating and repressing these people. As many as 1.5-2.5 Million people were imprisoned with no formal trial. 165,000 people died in these camps, due to malnutrition, torture and abuse.
Anh Do’s family survived five days in a leaky fishing boat nine and a half metres long and two metres wide. That is roughly the same size as 5x2 of our classroom tables pushed together.
Classroom activity: Measure out that space (9.5 x 2metres) on the floor. See how many of your classmates fit into this space. Read the chapter about their journey whilst squeezed in there.
BOAT PEOPLE The overwhelming majority of around 4000 people who seek Australia’s protection each year arrive by plane. Asylum seekers arriving by boat constitute a very small proportion of the total and have their claims considered on Christmas Island. Plane ArrivalsBoat Arrivals 2008–09 84% 16% 2009–10 53% 47% 2010–11 56% 44%
The UN says "A person who owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.” SO WHAT IS A REFUGEE? United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
The primary role of the UNHCR is to safeguard the rights and well- being of refugees. It strives to ensure that everyone can find safe refuge in another State, with the option to return home voluntarily. In 2007 the UNHCR estimated that around the world there were more than 31.7 million refugees and people of concern, in the period 2010-11 Australia’s Humanitarian Program is set at 13,750 places. THE UNHCR United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
REFUGEES IN AUSTRALIA The Government says “the size of the refugee program is influenced by a number of factors. “ UNHCR assessments of the resettlement needs of refugees overseas the views of individuals and organisations in Australia Australia's capacity to assist. Immigration policy in Australia is a highly politicised issue with no easy solutions Class Question: Who is the crrent Minister for Immigration?
MANDATORY DETENTION All people who enter Australia without a valid visa are held in detention facilities while their claims are assessed, during this time they undergo health, identity and security checks. This policy has been highly contentious and several changes were made under the Rudd/Gillard governments. **Anh’s Family arrived in Australia in 1980. Mandatory detention wasn’t established by the Keating Government until 1992. His family were sent to Malaysia by the German Ship that found them, where they spent 3 months.
SYDNEY LIFE During Anh Do’s early years in Sydney his family lived in the inner Western Suburbs, Marrickville and the factory in Newtown
Do’s family lived in the offices of a factory space, wehere Anh’s mother and father started a sewing business.
Note: these are not images of Anh Do’s actual home, simply imgaes of factory spaces in Newtown. Since Do’s upbringing, these areas of Sydney have beome more sought after and developed.