The Migration Refugee Process In Afghanistan History Essay

Migration and refugee process is a process that had a negative ef

Imagine America with one culture; this country would not be what it is today without the diversity. Beginning in 1975 Vietnamese immigration started, because of the war in Vietnam and the takeover of communist North Vietnam. This caused fear, and threatened the safety of the people, so they began to escape Vietnam for their own safety. The migration of the Vietnamese to America had reached the 135,000 mark by the end of the 1970s, with other Vietnamese fleeing to other countries such as Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand and the Philippines. In 2007 there were about 1642950 Vietnamese living in the US, with thousands living in major cities such as San Jose, West Minster, Orange County, Dallas and New York. (Census 1) The large immigration of the Vietnamese brought major cultures to the US with places like Little Saigon in Los Angeles, California and many restaurants all over the US.

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From the year 1980 to 2000, the Vietnamese boat people were the largest group of refugees coming to America. (Lowman, Shep 1) The migration brought over thousands, which quickly became hundreds of thousands. This all happened due to the growth of communist North Vietnam and the uprising of the Vietnam War. Through hardships, and challenges Vietnamese migration was legalized and refugee camps were established to help Vietnamese immigrants achieve a safer and better life.

“In 1954 communist North Vietnam began a hostile takeover against those who did not believe and support the communist way of governing.” These groups of communist supporters were known as the Vietcong, with the majority living in North Vietnam; some also lived in the South as well. “In the early 1960s the U.S. entered the war in hopes of ending the spread of communism by helping South Vietnam defeat the communist North.” Millions of US soldiers served in the Vietnam War, using the Navy, Air Force and Marines in its efforts to defeat North Vietnam. Due to the strength of North Vietnam the U.S. involvement in Vietnam ended and national advisor Henry Kissinger negotiated a peace treaty in 1973 with North Vietnam, which had soon conquered South Vietnam and reunited it as a socialist republic. (Hutchinson 1) At the end of war some 20000 South Vietnamese soldiers, 1 million North Vietnamese Soldiers, 500000 civilians and 56555 U.S. Soldiers were killed from 1961 to 1975. (Hutchinson 1).

With Saigon falling to the communists, about 135000 Vietnamese fled to America. First to leave were mainly ex military, government officials and Vietnamese who had worked for the US during the war and their families. “Conditions in the southern portion of the newly reunified Vietnam worsened in the late 1970s, and government had decided to rid the country of its Chinese merchant class; as a result thousands of Vietnamese and Sino Vietnamese south to escape the country.” Under contract from the state, they resettled these new arrivals in communities throughout the country and arranged sponsorships for refugees. “These sponsorships involved the provision of housing and initial support from interested Americans.” “When these Vietnamese refugees arrived in the U.S. they were stationed in four U.S. military bases in California, Arkansas, Pennsylvania, and Florida.” (SEARAC)

America was not the only place the Vietnamese fled to. Between 1975 and 1982 about 500000 Southeast Asians became refugees. Vietnamese also fled to Southeast Asian countries, such as Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand and the Philippines on boats, which caused them be called “Boat People”. (Hutchinson 1)

One of the largest migrations was from Vietnam to Hong Kong: it was reported that 160000 Vietnamese fled towards Hong Kong, but many were attacked at sea by Thai Pirates. It was reported that in 1989, 50000 boat people remained in cramped refugee camps. In 1979 alone almost 69000 Vietnamese refugees landed in Hong Kong. With the large over population of Vietnamese in Hong Kong, the UK government began forcing the Vietnamese to leave; was reported that in 1996 only 18000 resided in Vietnam. In 1997, China made it very clear that when they took over Hong Kong they wanted all Vietnamese clear of the territory. (Hutchinson 1) The 18000 left believed that China’s takeover of Hong Kong from the British would force the U.S to accept them. (Vietnamese Refugee Resettlement 3) At the end of 1997 Hong Kong had sent the remaining Vietnamese back to camps in Vietnam, using force when necessary. (Lowman, Shep 1) At the end of 1997 3,364 refugees still resided in Hong Kong. In May of 2000 Hong Kong closed its last refugee camp and a decision was made to give Vietnamese refugees residency in Hong Kong. (Hutchinson 1) Hong Kong was not the only country that the Vietnamese boat people immigrated to, they also went to Japan. About 105 Vietnamese refugees made their way to the shores of Japan; about 35 reached the southern city of Kunamoto where they fled into the mountains in fears of being deported back to Vietnam. According to reporters “Almost every day this month a boat has pulled up at Nagasaki or some other Japanese port or has been spotted at sea by a tanker or other vessel and brought to Japan where the refugees have been put into overcrowded camps” Government shelters were filled with more than twice the number of refugees than they could handle. Finally in 1985 Japan took the extraordinary step of allowing 10000 Indochinese refugees to come into their country legally. In other countries, such as Thailand, there were agreements with the UNHCR and the UN refugee agency that allowed the return of all Vietnamese refugees to Thailand by the middle of 1996.

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The US also had troubles with the growing population of the Vietnamese refugees. Only those who had affiliations during the War would be accepted into the US, but without proof many were sent back (Vietnamese Refugee Resettlement 3). Because many Vietnamese immigrants left families behind, the US started a family reunification program, allowing those with family in Vietnam to immigrate legally, those without family were forced to escape Vietnam by boat. (SEARAC 1) By 1988 it was decided that all Vietnamese boat people living in the US were illegal immigrants until they proved that they were qualified for refugee status. (Hutchinson 1) By the mid 1980s there had been disputes about the Vietnamese resettlement programs and its eligibility. This caused slowing of departures for the illegal immigrants, but departing immigrants continued in 1987. (SEARAC 1) “The US had many efforts to help Vietnamese. On April 22nd 1996; US announced a program that would provide efforts to empty refugee camps in other countries. This program offered possible resettlement in the US for certain refuges; this would be done through interviews with American Immigration officers, but this could only happen after the immigrants returned to Vietnam. This program had two purposes, to assist those refugees for whom the United States had special concern, and to minimize to the greatest extent possible, the violence.” (Lowman, Shep 1) Registration for the program was announced but not many immigrants were informed, and therefore missed the deadline for applications. This ended the program, leaving many Vietnamese unable to return to the United States.

In December of 1996 the US made an effort to return 37000 Vietnamese still residing in camps back to Vietnam. “The last Vietnamese were expected to be home by the end of 1995, but only 5000 were returned in 1995 versus the 12500 in 1994. Under the US plan, Vietnamese in camps would be taken to Ho Chi Minh City by the UN.” (Vietnamese Refugee Resettlements 3). This showed that not only Asian countries such as Hong Kong, Thailand, or the Philippines had problems such as the overpopulation in refugee camps but countries like the United States did as well.

For the past 20 years, the Vietnamese migration was the largest in the United States, with programs and funding from the UNHCR to help the migration run as smooth as possible. Due to their efforts thousands of Vietnamese were able to escape the Communist rule of North Vietnam and the uprising of the War. Now with the number of Vietnamese in America reaching millions the culture has started to be reflected in America. With openings of Vietnamese restaurants and the growing popularity of Vietnamese centers such as Little Saigon, Americans are able to indulge themselves in foods from the Vietnamese culture. The Vietnamese culture has altogether brought more diversity into the United States.


fect on the whole world, before entering into the main point, which is an example that will show us how the migration and refugee process effect the whole world in reality (Afghanistan); we will need first to understand what does these two expressions means.

Refugee is a word that could express an individual or a group of people that are/is owning a well founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality and membership also the word refugee includes the people that are persecuted out of there own country because of a political decision, which means that they are unprotected by there country so they are always seeking to travel for another country for safety.

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Secondly is the word migration , migration is the “act or process of people moving from one place to another with the intent of staying at the destination permanently or for a relatively long period of time” [1] , there are two different types of migration, the first type is the international immigrant type, individuals or group of people can be considered as an international immigrant if she or he “had enters the country to settle his or her usual place of residence for more than the same minimal time duration” [2] , and the second type is the international emigrant which means that if he or she “had leaves the country and transfers his or her usual residence outside the country for more than a minimal duration of time” [3] .

After giving a brief overview on the two expressions (Refugee, Migration), we will enter now into the main point of the research paper, this main point is a unique example that faces a lot of problems concerning the refugee and migration process (Afghanistan).

Afghanistan is a landlocked country that is located in the heart of Asia. Actually the Afghani population is mostly divided into 7 large ethnic groups (Pushtun, Tajik, Uzbek, Turkmen, Kyrgyz, Hazara and Nurstan), the division of the population into 7 large ethnic groups builds a wall of conflicts in the state, and this wall of conflicts was one of the four major reasons that helped in increasing the afghani migration and refugee process though it had reached the largest refugee population for mostly 2 decades, the other 3 main reasons that helped in escalating the Refugee problem in Afghanistan can mainly be shaped in a form of word that is called the refugee crisis, Afghanistan refugee crisis is a word that is consisted out of three main reasons that helped in growing up the problem of refugees and migration in Afghanistan, this three main reasons are:

The Soviet invasion 1979

The withdrawal of Soviet troops in 1989

Taliban Restrictions

The Migration and refugee process that was escalated in Afghanistan built on the four major reasons that was raised in the paper, had effected the afghani population, and the studies that was made in fact of drawing a picture to the Afghani people had assumed that “50% of the population is illiterate” [4] and that this illiteracy effected there life expectancy a lot (life expectancy is 44 years), also this illiteracy had effected the Afghani population in there Economic, political and social field.

In 1978 Afghanistan begin to develop there political system, and actually they had succeeded in forming the first democratic republic in Afghanistan, in 1979 after the establishment of the democratic republic, Afghanistan was invaded by the soviet union, this invasion had caused the first massive emigrant process in Afghanistan, the Afghani people began to flow to the neighbor states( Iran, Pakistan) in form of refugees, and citizens how couldn’t leave the state begin to move for the safest cities inside the country, which also means that the invasion caused internally displacement inside the state, and the United Nations commissioner studies had assumed that:

During the 1980s

More than 6 million Afghani became refugees

Between 1988 & 1991

3.5 million in Pakistan

2 million in Iran

One Million of refugees is spread all over the world

Actually this was the external displacement of the Afghani refugee, while on the other hand there was a large massive internal displacement which causes a lot of disturbance inside the country, and what proofs this sentence is that the United Nations commissioners had estimated that there was “2 million internally displacement and that Kabul city had grew from 600,000 to 2 million people.” [5]

The second Refugee crisis in Afghanistan was done in 1989, and the reason of appearing this crisis was built on the reason of the withdrawal of the soviet troops which cause another population movements.

Probably, this time the population movements was divided into two types, the first type was the people who where considered Afghani refugees, and they were returning back to there country after the withdrawal of the Soviet Union, and the second type of the populations is the people who were sympathizers for the soviet, and they were seeking to be recognized as a refugees because the Soviet has no more role in Afghanistan and they could not stay in Afghanistan after the soviet withdrawal because they can be killed by the Afghani people , During the process in which this movements had took place, a civil war had appeared in Afghanistan.

The reasons of this Civil war had stopped the process of the population movements and change it from the form of returning of the refugees, to the form where Afghani people are seeking to be once more considered as a refugees, and this negative change that had appeared was built on several facts concerning the main reason which is the civil war, this main facts are:”

Refugees doesn’t feel secure enough to return back to there homes

They were afraid to be persecuted by Muslim Unbelievable

citing fears of attack on home and property

citing fear of political persecution

Arrest and forced conscription” [6]

The strange point is that rather than solving the refugee problems and accepting them back to there countries after the withdrawal of the soviet, the opposite had happened and things became more wore sable the refugee numbers had increased once more, and the internally movements had increased also once more, the UNHCR studies had assumed that after the return of 2-3 million Afghans in the early 1990s there studies had approved that by “2000 there were again nearly 5 million Afghans refugees and 800000 internally displaced persons” [7] .

The third Afghanis crisis that helped in increasing the migration and refugee process is the Taliban crisis.

Taliban is a fundamentalist Islamic Militia that had been established in 1994, it is consisted out of young members (men & boys), those members had leaved a really harsh life in Afghanistan, and using the word harsh is built on several reasons.

The reason of using a strong word like harsh was mentioned because this young members of the Taliban Militia is been born and leaved in the refugee camps , which actually means that they had suffered a lot from the soviet invasion and from the ethnic conflicts that were found in Afghanistan during the 1980s and 1990s. Taliban members were trained in ultraconservative religious schools in Pakistan.

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In fact of the society that the Taliban members had been raised upon, they didn’t try to solve the problems of refugees, while on the other hand they had suffered there whole life because of this problem (refugee Case). Actually the Taliban militia had helped in increasing the refugee and migration process in Afghanistan, and what proofs this words is that Taliban military was forcing the Afghani civilians to leave Kabul city by there restrictions, which means that they will increase the internally movements of the population inside the country, and actually build on this internally movements there would be a lot of civilians that will seek to be recognized as a refugees because of the hard economic life that they will face, Even though the Human rights international organization had tried to help the civilians who leaves under the authority of the Taliban Militia in Kabul, but they actually refuse to accept any help or food from this organizations, and what support this argument is that “workers for internationally aid organizations that were trying to deliver food and medicine to the desperate Afghanis is been harassed , subjected to unreasonable restrictions and even in some time they are arrested by Taliban military.

In conclusion as it was mentioned in the introduction of this research paper; that the migration and refugee process is a process that had a negative effect on the whole world, and that the migration and refugee process is a process that can mostly appear after a war or in a period where there is an internal ethnic, religious conflicts, or any other types of conflicts that effect the national and international levels of the world.

Actually from my point of view, concerning the Afghani example of refugees, which is one of the most important examples because Afghanistan was considered as one of the most largest refugee population in the world for two decades, I can really observe that Afghanistan is a country that had suffered from the economical, political and social fields a lot, and that it will keep suffering from this fields because of the refugee and migration process that is still running there. In the Afghanis example of refugees I had learned that the refugee and migration process had an internal and external effect on the state.

First, the internally population movements inside a country had a huge side effect on the Cities and also on the people who leave inside this cities, My argument was based and build upon several main reasons, The reason why I disagree with the internally movements is that this movements ends a lot of beneficial services that is presented by the city for its citizens as:


hospitals care




And a lot of life needs that is needed by each citizen in his city, and when each point of these points is affected it will influence the state.

On the other hand, from the external Sid effect, refugees affect a lot the neighbor’s states, because a refugee or asylum seeker I always seeking to leave in a place near his country so it is always the neighbor states, when I had mentioned that refugees effect the country externally actually I had meant the external relation with the states that can be Affected in reason of this immigration, Example: when Iran had mentioned that it would not accept any more Afghani refugees, Actually this decision can affect the relation between the two states and can build a dogma of hatred between the two populations because un accepting them means that the refugees will return back to there countries and they can be killed or assassinated there. Refugee and migration process is a defining characteristic of the international landscape.


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