HC Deb 15 November 1989 vol 160 c254W
Mr. Alton

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the position of refugees voluntarily seeking repatriation from Hong Kong to Vietnam; if, in pursuing compulsory repatriation, he will take into account the views of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees on whether the authorities in Hanoi are able to cope efficiently with returning refugees; and if he will make a statement on the use of force against refugees moved to a detention centre.

Mr. Maude

There is no question of refugees being repatriated to Vietnam against their will, although five refugees have returned at their own request. So far, 507 people have returned voluntarily to Vietnam under the auspices of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and arrangements are being made with the Vietnamese authorities for the return of a further 1,000 volunteers as quickly as practicable. These are overwhelmingly people who have not yet been screened to determine whether they are refugees. Of those who have completed the screening procedures, and whose appeals have been heard, only 13 per cent. are found to be genuine refugees. The Hong Kong authorities have taken careful note of the comments made by the UNHCR representative in Hong Kong. We have full confidence in the manner in which the Hong Kong authorities have handled this matter.

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