boat people

Also found in: Dictionary, Acronyms, Wikipedia.

boat people,

term used to describe the Indochinese refugees who fled Communist rule after the Vietnam War (1975) in small boats and the many ethnic Chinese who left Vietnam similarly after China's invasion of Vietnam in 1979. More than one million people became refugees. Many perished, and others, upon reaching other Southeast Asian countries, discovered they could not remain permanently. The United States, Canada, and other nations accepted most of the refugees in the late 1970s and the 1980s. Although people continued to flee Vietnam into the mid-1990s, nearly all later boat people have been regarded as economic, not political, refugees. In 1996 the United Nations decided to end the financing of the camps holding the remaining 40,000 boat people, and Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines returned most of the remaining refugees to Vietnam. In the late 20th and early the 21st cent. a new but smaller wave of boat people, refugees and migrants predominantly from South and Southeast Asia, sought to reach Australia. Beginning in 2001 Australia instituted (except during 2007–12) a policy of detaining and processing the refugees offshore (on Nauru and, until 2017, on Papua New Guinea's Manus Island) and, from 2013, of denying them asylum in Australia. The term boat people has also been used to describe political and economic refugees from other areas, such as Haiti, Africa and the Middle East, and Myanmar, who fled their homelands by similar means.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
Mentioned in ?
References in periodicals archive ?
In the BBC News report dated January 20, Indonesian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Yuri Thamrin, said that Australia risked attracting a wave of boat people from Papua if it granted asylum in this case.
Prime Minister John Howard in late 2001 turned impending electoral defeat into victory by taking a firm stance and alleging that the boat people had coerced the Tampa's captain, and that other boat people had thrown their children overboard to compel rescue.
"He was one of the boat people, there to help the crew on their voyage around Ireland."
Past projects have centered on the working conditions of Brazilian gold miners, the detainment of Vietnamese boat people by the Hong Kong government, and the slaughter of the Tutsi by Hutu death squads in Rwanda.
Even before the first European penetration of Island Southeast Asia, the maritime boat people of the region were already engaged in trade and in many areas were incorporated in state-based political and economic systems.
'Boat people' enactors explain canal history and construction, cargoes carried, bargees' lifestyles and the threat of road-haulage competition.
It was given the goahead after an Australian federal court lifted an injunction stopping the transfer of the boat people and their removal from Australian waters.
Steve Ingram, a spokesman for Ruddock, told Kyodo News it was likely the boat people were of Middle Eastern background due to the pattern of large numbers of refugees from Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan traveling illegally to Australia on Indonesian-skippered boats.
Boat People, about the exodus from Vietnam, is another.
Last year, the Melbourne Age hosted a regular website on the `flood' of `illegal' immigrants entitled `1999 -- the year the trickle of boat people became a flood'.