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48–120 CC








FEBRUARY 24, 1998

Printed for the use of the Committee on International Relations

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BENJAMIN A. GILMAN, New York, Chairman

HENRY J. HYDE, Illinois
CASS BALLENGER, North Carolina
EDWARD R. ROYCE, California
JAY KIM, California
TOM CAMPBELL, California
JON FOX, Pennsylvania
LINDSEY GRAHAM, South Carolina
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ROY BLUNT, Missouri
SAM GEJDENSON, Connecticut
TOM LANTOS, California
PAT DANNER, Missouri
BRAD SHERMAN, California
BOB CLEMENT, Tennessee
BILL LUTHER, Minnesota
JIM DAVIS, Florida
RICHARD J. GARON, Chief of Staff
MICHAEL H. VAN DUSEN, Democratic Chief of Staff
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Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights
CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH, New Jersey, Chairman
HENRY J. HYDE, Illinois
CASS BALLENGER, North Carolina
LINDSEY O. GRAHAM, South Carolina
TOM LANTOS, California
GROVER JOSEPH REES, Subcommittee Staff Director and Chief Counsel
ROBERT R. KING, Democratic Professional Staff Member


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    Ms. Julia Taft, Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration
    Mr. Richard Gere, Co-chairman, International Campaign for Tibet
    Mr. William Frelick, Senior Policy Analyst, U.S. Committee for Refugees
    Mr. Mark Franken, Executive Director, Migration and Refugee Services, U.S. Catholic Conference
    Mr. Frederick Frank, Chairperson, Public Social Policy Steering Committee, Council of Jewish Federations, also representing The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society
    Mr. Ralston Deffenbaugh, Jr., Executive Director, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service
    Fr. Rick Ryscavage, National Director, Jesuit Refugee Service


Prepared statements:
Hon. Christopher H. Smith, a Representative in Congress from New Jersey, and Chairman, Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights
Hon. Donald M. Payne, a Representative in Congress from New Jersey
Ms. Julia Taft
Mr. Richard Gere
Mr. William Frelick
Mr. Mark Franken
Mr. Frederick Frank
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Mr. Ralston Deffenbaugh, Jr.
Fr. Rick Ryscavage
Additional material submitted for the record:
The State of Private Support and Sponsorships for Refugees, prepared by staff of Migration and Refugee Services, U.S. Catholic Conference, March 30, 1998
U.S. Department of State Migration and Refugee Assistance Fiscal Year 1999
DOS Operating Accounts v. Refugees
The International Response to Conflict and Genocide: Lessons from the Rwanda Experience
International Rescue Committee, Inc., News
American Council for Voluntary International Action, January 22, 1998 letter to Mr. Samuel Berger, National Security Advisor, White House
Position paper: ROAR and Jackson-Vanik
Congressional Black Caucus, October 29, 1997 letter to the President
DOS Operating Accounts v. Refugees
The State of Private Support and Sponsorship for Refugees, submitted by Mr. Mark Franken

House of Representatives,
Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights,
Committee on International Relations,
Washington, DC.
    The Subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:15 a.m., in room 2172, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Christopher H. Smith (chairman of the Subcommittee) presiding.
    Mr. SMITH. [presiding] The Subcommittee will come to order. I'm very pleased to convene the Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights. This is the Subcommittee's annual oversight hearing on the State Department's refugee budget and the refugee programs that that budget supports.
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    These programs and policies include resettlement of refugees here in the United States, our contributions to international efforts to protect refugees abroad, and the administrative expenses associated with these efforts. On behalf of my colleagues on the Subcommittee, I welcome Julia Taft, the Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration.
    Refugee protection, unlike any other aspect of foreign policy, is not primarily about strategic interest or global economics. It is about morality. The obligation not to return refugees to persecution or to a serious threat of persecution flows directly from the fundamental principle that it is always wrong to cause death or other serious harm to an innocent human being. And, yet, refugee protection, like other moral obligations, has too often been subordinated to social or economic or political goals that are far less compelling. Those of us who work in this area frequently have the feeling that things are getting worse. The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that there are about 23 million refugees and other persons of concern, such as internally displaced persons and war victims, in the world today, compared to about 17 million in 1991.
    Even more important, in 1991, the United States was still seen around the world as an advocate and haven for those fleeing oppression. In Ronald Reagan's words, it was ''the shining city on a hill''.
    The last 10 years have seen a dramatic change in our refugee policy. For the first time in the U.S. history, we have undertaken the mass forcible return of people who have managed to escape from bloodthirsty regimes. First came the forced repatriations to Haiti, then to China and finally to Cuba and to Vietnam.
    This change in policy has harmed not only the refugees we have repatriated, but also countless thousands of others because it has greatly reduced the moral authority which the United States was once able to exercise in persuading other countries not to use force to put people back in danger.
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    This preference for repatriation over every other durable solution to the flight of refugees has come to characterize refugee programs around the world: first asylum States and international organizations have repatriated people by the thousands and tens of thousand to places like Rwanda, Burundi, Afghanistan, and Burma.
    The UNHCR insists that they must repatriate people whenever possible because the only two other durable solutions—resettlement in third countries and local integration in the country of fist asylum—are increasingly unavailable. Again, the U.S. policy has been part of the problem. In Fiscal Year 1995, the Department of State budget proposal anticipated the admission of 110,000 refugees. The Fiscal Year 1996 and 1997 budgets reduced the anticipated admissions to 90,000, and then to 78,000.
    Bowing to urgent entreaties of a bipartisan coalition including Senators Abraham and Kennedy, Chairman Gilman, Howard Berman and myself, the Administration reluctantly raised the number to 83,000 in Fiscal Year 1998. But the 1999 budget anticipates the admission of only 75,000, about a one-third cut from just 4 years ago.
    Some have attempted to justify these dramatic cuts as necessary to address anti-immigrant sentiment in the Congress. On the contrary, however, Congress has strongly supported keeping refugee admissions at their traditional level, in the range of 100,000 per year, which is a small fraction of all the people who immigrate to the United States every year.
    During congressional consideration of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, both the House and the Senate rejected attempts to impose a statutory cap on refugee admissions that would have cut refugee admissions.
    There is certainly no shortage of refugees who need our attention. There are thousands of re-education camp survivors and U.S. Government employees in Vietnam who are eligible for the Orderly Departure Program (ODP), but whom the Vietnamese Government has not yet allowed us to interview. Another 15,000 to 20,000 people are still languishing in Vietnam, almost 2 years after we persuaded them to return from refugee camps with the promise that we would interview them quickly under the Resettlement Opportunities for Vietnamese Returnees (ROVR).
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    Yet the Administration is budgeting for only 14,000 refugee admissions for all of East Asia. This is less than half of what the number was 4 years ago. It is not even enough to resettle all of the ROVR refugees, not to mention thousands of ODP applicants who have suffered for their associations with the United States.
    It does not anticipate the admission of any of the Tibetan refugees about whom Richard Gere has spoken so eloquently, and about whom he will testify today.
    And it leaves precious little room for others in need of settlement from countries such as Burma, Cambodia, and China.
    Countless thousands of African refugees from places including Rwanda, Burundi, Somali, Sudan, and Liberia, have been in camps for years. Many will never be able to go home. Yet we are budgeting for only 7,000 refugees for all of Africa, a modest improvement from a few years ago, but not nearly enough.
    Jews and members of other historically persecuted ethnic and religious minority groups in the Newly Independent States of the former Soviet Union now face resurgent ultranationalism and anti-Semitism. Christians and other believers face persecution in China, Cuba, Vietnam, Iran, Iraq, and other countries around the world. Yet the assumption in this year's budget request is that the Soviet program must wind down, and rather than replace it with resettlement opportunities for other refugees, the budget request seems to be based on the premise that these numbers should just disappear.
    Assistant Secretary Taft, I want to make it clear that my criticism of the Administration is not directed at you. You have a long and proud record as a refugee advocate and I know that you come to the job after PRM had already submitted its budget request to the Office of Management and Budget. But there is still time, I believe, to rethink our assumptions. Many of us in Congress are willing to help. Indeed, the House has already passed an authorization for Fiscal Year 1999 of $704 million for the MRA and $50 million to replenish the Emergency Refugee and Migration Account. $754 million in sharp contrast with the Administration's request of only $670 million.
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    Our number represents a very modest increase, indeed, it reflects a cut in real dollars from Fiscal Year 1995. It is also substantially lower than the $300-million raise Congress has given to the State Department operating accounts over the last few years. But it's a start, and we hope you will work with us to strengthen U.S. commitment to resettlement and to protection overseas.
    I would like at this point to yield to my good friend and the very distinguished chairman of the Full Committee, Mr. Gilman.
    Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I commend you, Chairman Smith, for organizing and bringing about today's hearing of our nation's refugees programs. I look forward to hearing from our distinguished Assistant Secretary for Population, Refugee and Migration Affairs, Julia Taft, as part of the panel of experts that you've convened, in addition to Richard Gere, who is co-chair of the National Campaign for Tibet, William Frelick, Senior U.S. Policy Assistant for our U.S. Committee for Refugees, and Mark Franken, executive director of the U.S. Catholic Conference of Migration Refugees, Frederick Frank, chairperson of the Public Policy Steering Committee of the Council of Jewish Federations, Ralston Deffenbaugh, executive director of the Lutheran Immigration Refugee Service, and Father Rick Ryscavage, the national director of the Jesuit Refugee Service. It's certainly a distinguished panel that we will be listening to, and we hope we can make some progress as a result of this hearing.
    This century has too often been noted as one of the most violent in human history. The exclamation point to that violence has been the huge and unprecedented uprooting and displacement of virtually entire nations and ethnic groups. The mass migrations and dislocations that have ensued from this century's tumultuous events have regrettably necessitated the international machinery that we've developed to cope with these problems: The UNHCR, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Organization for Migration, as well as their numerous partners among our private voluntary organizations, some of which are represented here today.
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    The good news is that these organizations do a significant job in assisting the unfortunate tides of humanity that find themselves refugees and displaced persons. The bad news, however, is that despite our best efforts, these tides of humanity remain with us and as one problem is addressed, new ones regrettably crop up.
    In Bosnia, for example, this year promises to be a challenging one to the ideals contained in the Dayton Peace Accords that call for the return of refugees. And one of the main goals underpinning the continuation of the NATO S4 mission in Bosnia will be to provide the secure environment that would permit refugees and misplaced persons to return to their homes in Bosnia with confidence.
    Elsewhere in Europe, unrest and economic deprivation in southeastern Turkey threatens to create a new flow of refugees. And that situation is one that is of strong concern to our allies in Europe. This presents an obvious challenge to the governments of the region, and to the organizations that I've mentioned, to find a creative solution with the cooperation of the Turkish Government.
    And in Asia, the ongoing political unrest in Cambodia and the potential it presents for yet another tragic displacement of the Cambodian people is certainly of great concern.
    A lack of freedom in Burma and Vietnam also presents a threat to the stability in the Southeast Asia region. There it will be necessary for the international community to maintain a monitoring and an early warning system in order to be able to deal with the potential causes of refugee flows before they become a reality. Governments could cooperate with the international community, and should cooperate, and in this regard, we urge Vietnam to implement the ROVR program and the ODP.
    Heightened Chinese oppression in occupied Tibet has dramatically increased the flow of Tibetan refugees to Nepal and to India. Monks, nuns and lay people are forced to flee across the Himalayas, ill-prepared for that kind of a journey. Many lose their toes, their feet, their fingers and hands, to frostbite, or even perish along the way. And while we're grateful to the governments of India and Nepal for opening their borders to Tibetan refugees, with a 50 percent increase in the arrival of those refugees this year, these countries may succumb to Chinese pressure and rethink their generous policy toward the fleeing Tibetans.
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    In Africa, the effects of genocidal conflict in the Central Lakes region still need to be managed under the auspices of the international community. Political instability in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of the Congo also remains a potential source of new refugee flows. And in Sierra Leone, the recently deposed military junta created a serious threat to its citizenry and we're witnessing there an ongoing tragedy of persons attempting to flee an anarchy situation.
    And there's strong bipartisan support in the Congress for the State Department's refugee programs, and we have great confidence in the people that staff the PRM bureau and their associates throughout our foreign service who work to try to assist the world's refugees and misplaced persons. The people of the United States take pride in the level of our support and assistance in this regard.
    We look forward to hearing from our distinguished witnesses today about further ways that we can continue to improve these refugee programs. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Mr. SMITH. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I'd like to introduce to the panel Julia Taft, who has been the Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM), since November of last year, after leaving her post as chief executive officer of the American Council for Voluntary International Action. Previously, Ms. Taft served as director of the U.S. Agency for International Development Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, Director of Refugee Programs at the State Department, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare. Secretary Taft, welcome to the Committee, and please proceed.
    Ms. TAFT. Thank you very much, Mr. Gilman. I'm really quite honored to be here today to discuss the Administration's Fiscal Year 1999 budget request and the role we play as a nation in assisting refugees throughout the world. That world, as you both have indicated, remains a very dangerous place for the weak and the defenseless who are caught up in the tragedies and victimized by hatreds that they little understand. We're here today to discuss these issues and I welcome this opportunity because not only is it of national interest that we have a world that is peaceful and orderly, but also because of who we are as a people. And I think your comments about the morality and the bipartisan nature of the American people's commitment to refugees is very much enveloped in this issue.
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    The Administration understands that it can only continue to help refugees if we and you and the American people move forward together. In this regard, I hope very much you'll have the opportunity to review not only my full text, which I'm summarizing here now, but also our congressional presentation which speaks to the issues geographically of our plans for response. In Fiscal Year 1999, we are requesting $650 million for the Migration and Refugee Assistance category and $20 million for the Emergency Refugee Assistance Account, which is the ERMA account.
    Our MRA funding request has been straight-lined over the last several years even though the overall number of refugees worldwide has declined as the durable solutions such as repatriation have taken hold. Let me inject here a word about the figures that you gave, sir, of the 23 million of interest to the UNHCR in addition to refugees. In previous years, the UNHCR was not really heavily involved in unilaterally displaced persons (UDP) which now comprises 10 million of the 23 million of UNHCR concern. In terms of refugees, we have gone from a high of 18 million down to 13 million refugees. I just wanted to correct that for the record, but it doesn't really have an impact on the programs because we still need to have an international humanitarian assistance strategy that deals with people who are in similar difficulties, whether they're refugees or IDPs.
    We think that the level of funding is sufficient to meet the needs as we currently see them. The fact is that there has been a diminishing need, particularly in the past decade because of the larger scale repatriations which have occurred. We can discuss where those have taken root, but there have been over 9 million refugees that have returned voluntarily to their home countries in the past decade and this has brought the number down.
    In fact, the reason we think that we can live within the budget request that we have is that we have $120 million in our ERMA, our emergency account. That account is authorized at $100 million. We now have $120 million and are requesting a replenishment of another $20 million. So we think that if there are unforeseen, unbudgeted requirements in admissions or in assistance, that we do have the cushion that the President can use to allow us to draw down on our ERMA account to supplement, if necessary, the MRA account.
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    The MRA funds provide for the care and maintenance abroad and for the admission of large numbers to the United States. The level of refugee admissions we have budgeted in 1999 are at the same level as we have budgeted for this year. As you point out, that number has been decreasing, we are now stopping the decrease, and we hope to maintain a figure of about 75,000.
    Currently, our single largest admissions program is for Bosnians, and we expect to reach or exceed 25,000 admissions. We've already brought in 60,000 Bosnians over the past several years. This is now a large component of our admissions program. It involves the mixed marriages and other conditions that minimize the chances for repatriation of these people.
    One of our highest priorities, as you point out, must be and is the just and fair completion of the ROVR program and the ODP in Vietnam. To highlight their importance, in January, I traveled to Vietnam to discuss with Vietnamese officials ways to expedite the processing of the remaining cases. As you know, in October, the government of Vietnam announced that it was taking some actions to accelerate the procedures and in recent weeks we have been very pleased with the progress that we have seen. In fact, since I last briefed you a couple of weeks ago, the figures now, of the response on ROVR, are really extraordinary. We have almost 14,000 names cleared for interviews of 18,000 that we have submitted. And, as I had mentioned before, we were told that there were about 3,000 cases that would not be eligible for interviews. We've now seen over 800 of those names. And, in fact, 400 happened to be on the ROVR approved list, so I think we're having some questions as to whether people's names are on different lists or not. We're finding that, in fact, the 3,000 that we thought we weren't going to see, will probably be in much more diminishing numbers. So, I see great progress on ROVR. We stand ready to process everyone that meets the criteria to come in. If it exceeds the 14,000 figure, we will do whatever reallocations we need to do. You should know that I feel confident that this program is going in the right direction.
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    There is one issue, however, that I know you have been very supportive of, that we need to work on very much together. That is the completion of the former re-education detainees program, including the Montagnards. To complete this processing we are asking your continued support for quick approval of the McCain amendment. Please let us know what we can do from our side, but our intent is that we want to be very supportive of this. The McCain amendment does provide for the admission of single children over 21 of former re-education camp detainees. This provision expired September 30 last year; we would like to have it re-instituted to extend until March 31, 1999.
    I won't go into all of the other refugee admission categories, but I do want to make a special statement about Africa. You are right, there are 3.5 million refugees in Africa. We are taking 7,000 for admission to the United States. One of the first things I did when I came to this job was to ask why, if we had 7,000 admissions numbers, did we only use 6,000; why didn't we get 7,000? We have made a major effort with the resettlement agencies, working with them, with the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), to identify how we can find other groups of refugees that we can process more quickly. As a result of this working group, we did agree to establish another processing point in Dakar, Senegal, which Church World Service is going to manage for us. We have opened up other categories of refugees, and we are targeting particular efforts this year to get in the 7,000. If we find that there are more groups that we can bring in without diminishing our standard for admissions, we plan to do that. I spoke with Doris Meissner today about some of the issues we have about rates of INS denial in Africa after this immense effort to try to find cases. Through our work with the UNHCR and the JVAS, we are going to look at new ways to perhaps train the INS officers so that they understand the context in which people need third-country resettlement.
    Let me speak to the issue of the assistance program because obviously the bulk of our efforts, over $450 million, do go to assistance to refugees in place or reintegrating into their homes. I'm pleased to note that there has been a decline of refugees in Africa. Only one-quarter of the world's refugees are found on the continent, and the recent returnees to Mozambique, to Rwanda, to Togo, Mali, and Somalia, show that this really is the decade of repatriation. However, as has been pointed out, this encouraging picture is greatly clouded by the tragedy of continuing outflows, whether from Sierra Leone, Sudan, Burundi, several other places. We are working very closely with the UNHCR, with ICRC and with NGO's to ensure that we can provide minimum assistance to these populations. In this context, we are finding that safe access by relief workers to reach these people in need has been very difficult to sustain, and there have been a number of cases where relief workers have either been taken hostage or killed. So we have to worry about the relief workers as well as the people whose lives they are trying to save.
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    Almost one-third of our overseas assistance last year went to Africa. We assume that similar levels will continue this year, and beyond.
    A moment about Bosnia because this is obviously an issue not only for you, Mr. Gilman, but also for the Administration, as well as the Congress. It is true, the Dayton Peace Accords will not be sustained and cannot achieve peace unless the refugees do return. While the majority of refugees have gone back to where they came from and where they were majorities, we are still very concerned about large numbers of minority refugees that are having difficulty returning to their home. For this reason, the UNHCR last year established a program of open cities in eight different locations where they would try to attract back minority refugees in a critical mass with enough services so that they could find a sustaining environment. I am pleased to say that PRM has seized on this approach. What we have tried to do is help not only the returning refugees, but also the whole community. We are addressing the community services, including housing and micro-credit programs, through schools and other activities. We find that this is a very exciting thrust for us and that refugees are returning. There were 30,000 last year that returned. We expect it to be almost 100,000 this year.
    On the issue which you didn't mention in your opening statement, but I know is of great concern to you and bears attention, is what is the quality of health care in refugee camps throughout the world, and what is being done on the issue of women's reproductive health. Let me just say that when I first started working in refugee programs 22 years ago, I thought all refugees were in need of the same services; you gave them food and you took care of shelter and you got them clean water. It was not until 1988, when I did a very special study on the impact of refugee programs on women that we realized and started gathering statistics about how many refugees are women and how refugee women are the heads of households, and the very special problems that they have in camps.
    That and a variety of other initiatives have led to really understanding that women are the most vulnerable populations in refugee camps, and they are the majority of the people in refugee camps, with their children. In this regard, an analysis of what they need is better access to food, better access to micro-credit for themselves, but, most of all, they need health care. And they need health care that would keep them alive.
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    As a result of that, the Administration and UNHCR and the NGO's started working on the whole issue of reproductive health care.
    Not just birth control. We're talking about how a mother learns how to do breast feeding, how to have safe births in refugee camps, how to provide pre- and post-natal care, how do we actually deal with the dignity and ability of these women to stay alive. In that context, we found that many women become so desperate in camp situations and are so vulnerable to attacks that they are often raped. When they are trying to go to the latrine or gather firewood or get water, it is very dangerous out there, and these women were coming back beaten and raped. They are often desperate enough that they resort to back-alley or back-pathway abortions. The question is what can be done to help them when they come into a clinic and they are bleeding to death. The issue here is what kind of emergency response can one give. In that context the two approaches which are now starting to be developed, and they're not final in terms of the UNHCR and the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines, as you know, but the basic approach here is that these women, if they are raped and they need assistance, ought to be given emergency contraceptives within the first 72 hours. It doesn't help after that, but if they can have it, that is good.
    The other thing has to do with the manual vacuum aspirator which is a very controversial issue. Mr. Chairman, you have been very helpful with Joseph Rees in trying to help the UNHCR and WHO think through how to use these rare devices. But we think that they are important if used under controlled environments, safely and by trained personnel, that they are a way to help women who have had botched or incomplete abortions.
    Let me make it fundamentally clear that the UNHCR and the U.S. Government do not support abortion clinics. They do not support abortions in refugee camps. What we are trying to do is help save the lives of women who are desperately in need of medical care and will otherwise lose their lives.
    This is the most important thing—I need to clarify on this. It has been very sad to see the way this conversation has evolved because we all know that the people who work in refugee camps are giving up a lifestyle that we could live, like this, to live in desperate situations, to save the lives of refugees. These people give their lives to save lives, and they are not out there doing abortions, I can guarantee you that.
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    Finally, let me just say that while we have a lot of challenges to deal with, the most important challenge is that we try to work throughout the international community to make sure it is not just the United States that is paying for refugee assistance. Right now we cover about 25 percent of the humanitarian budgets.
    I'm going to try to figure out how to encourage other donors to come forward because this is a worldwide commitment to help refugees. I want to make sure we do that. That's one of the most important things I think we can do. The other is to work continually with the NGO's and the UNHCR to assure that there is a minimal, acceptable level of services and that we deal with this question of protection in the camps. We've tried to do extra programs to deal with protection. If we can do it better, we will find that we will not have to confront some of the concerns about the sexual violence against women.
    Finally, let me just say how very much I now appreciate being in the Administration and having a terrific staff, and being able to work with you. As you pointed out, I'm new to this job, not new to the field, and have always appreciated the bipartisan support and the energy that Congress has given to this. And I look forward to working with you. Thank you very much.
    [The prepared statement of Ms. Taft appears in the appendix.]
    Mr. SMITH. Secretary Taft, thank you very much for your testimony.
    Mr. Gilman leaned over a minute ago and advised me that Mr. Gere does have to leave—and your staff has cleared this—that you would be willing to interrupt your appearance and we would go to questions after his testimony.
    Ms. TAFT. I would be delighted.
    I mean, I didn't mean it that way.
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    Mr. SMITH. You did mention, and we'll get into this in greater depth, I'm sure, later on, but about the conversation, how it evolved, on the whole issue of abortions in refugee camps. I happen to believe that abortion is the taking of human life. I think you know I believe that. We were blindsided by that issue. The New York Times and others, as well as some very compassionate whistle-blowers came to me and talked about how abortions on demand were being done against black children in the Great Lakes region. And they were being done not for sexual violence reasons but for convenience reasons, if the reports were true, and the information seemed to be very accurate.
    I have argued as compassionately as I can that this is the ultimate consensus breaker. I've read the documents, including the internal working group documents by UNHCR personnel which talked about falsifying, putting spin on, and deliberately misleading host countries as to the abortion performance going on in the parameters of that country, which I found to be shocking. At the least, the process should be absolutely transparent and not something done behind closed doors, and then euphemisms like ''menstrual regulation'' and other euphemisms be employed to disguise from the host country what is actually being done. So, as I and other members who are very pro-refugee discovered this, we felt that it needed to be brought forward and I hope that UNHCR and others, of whom I am an unabashed admirer, will take heed that some of your best friends will engage this aggressively because refugee unborn children are important just like refugee children who are born are important. We need to have a holistic, comprehensive approach in my view, that all of these children are valuable and precious. So that's how that evolved, from my point of view.
    But thank you for your willingness to allow Mr. Gere to proceed, and I would like to introduce Mr. Richard Gere to the Subcommittee. Mr. Gere, as I think many people know, is a very successful actor who has starred in many popular motion pictures. He is also co-chairman of the International Campaign for Tibet. In that capacity he has been active in the campaign's efforts to promote human rights and self-determination for the people of Tibet, and to bring attention to the plight of the Tibetan refugee community in India and Nepal. Mr. Gere's concern about refugees is longstanding. He was very active and very outspoken on behalf of the turmoil suffered by displaced persons in Central America and that humanitarian feeling within him certainly is being manifested mightily on behalf of the Tibetan people, who need advocates, who need people who can bring the spotlight of scrutiny and compassion to them. So I thank Mr. Gere for his good work. Please proceed.
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    Mr. GERE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I want to thank all of you for being here. This is really important work that you're all doing. From my point of view, maybe the most important work in government right now is taking care of other people in the world. I want to thank you for the opportunity to appear here before this Committee and to speak on the importance of U.S. refugee assistance to the Tibetan refugees, and the substantial needs of that growing community. I'm deeply honored to be following Assistant Secretary Julia Taft, who is new to the job and welcome as our representative and someone who has a long history in this area. I'm very happy to be here with her, and be included with the other fine men and women who have committed their public lives to serving the needs of the desperate and disenfranchised. In a very real way, these people and you people are taking on the moral responsibility of not only our nation, but of the world, and I applaud you.
    As I know most of you, and many of you know me, a little bit, you know that I've been an activist for the cause of Tibet for many years now, perhaps over 15 years. And I've been privileged to testify before this Committee and its Senate counterpart on the status of Tibet as well as the Dalai Lama's efforts to find a just and lasting peace in Tibet and throughout the Trans-Himalayan region.
    In all this time, I'm saddened to say, the conditions in Tibet have worsened. And as reported by the State Department this month, ''Tight controls on fundamental freedoms continued and in some cases intensified.''
    I visited Tibet in 1993. I've not been allowed since, but I've seen firsthand the repressive conditions that lead the refugees to flee. It is a horrendous situation. And as many of your colleagues who have been there recently have testified publicly and otherwise, it's an increasingly terrible situation for the Tibetan people.
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    Although I am not allowed to go back there—I've been turned down for a visa many times in the last 4 years—I urge you to go for yourselves and see the degradation of the Tibetan people in that culture and experience the suffocating presence of China's control over the Tibetan people.
    Congressman Frank Wolfe described the oppression he found in Tibet as more brutal than he witnessed in Soviet Russia or communist Romania. A repression applied with what Senator Moynihan has called, Stalinoid dementia. And if you go there, you will see it, and you will feel it. It's omnipresent and it's undeniable. Anyone familiar with the issue of Tibet—I believe this Committee is, I've spoken to most of you personally. I know you all have friends in the Tibetan community and this is something that touches your hearts. I thank you for that.
    I hope you understand that systematic human rights abuses, intensified control, forced cultural assimilation, and resource exploitation have fundamentally changed the Tibetan way of life. To the extant that the Tibetans can survive within these foreign and repressive Chinese-imposed paradigms, they remain in Tibet or they flee.
    And what we're seeing this winter especially is an increase in Tibetan refugees arriving in Nepal and India, particularly and increase in monks and nuns and children, and I emphasize here that there's an increase; there's not a decrease, leading me to recommend that instead of bringing down in real dollars the moneys that are given for assistance, it is increased, as the number of refugees increases.
    I was just in Kathmandu, Nepal, in December for 2 weeks, and I visited several transit camps there, reception camps. They were essentially barefloored dormitories, a dormitory office, a small room where a single nurse administers inoculations to little ones, and cleanses and dresses the rotting flesh of frostbite victims.
    I don't think that anyone who has ever been to one of these camps, whether it's in Tibet, whether it's in El Salvador or Nicaragua or Honduras, or wherever it is in the world—and certainly as we're seeing in Africa as well—can fail to be touched very deeply in their hearts and souls by the plight of people who don't have basic protections.
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    And as we've spoken many times, I feel that we can afford financially and morally to help these people. It's our responsibility; it's our universal responsibility. These are brothers and sisters, we have the funds, we have the agenda as Americans, we have the responsibilities as feeling human beings to help them.
    And when one goes into those camps, it's a mixed bag of hope and despair where people who have come across the border—and I must explain that they come across these borders in the winter time so that they can avoid the usual border patrols on the Tibetan side, the Chinese guards, and on the Nepalese side, the Nepalese guards.
    So they come through during the worst storms of the winter in tennis shoes and very light clothing. Many of them die. The ones that arrive very often have their fingers and toes amputated from frostbite, but they do it anyhow. You wonder why. Why would they be suffering these kinds of conditions? Because life is that horrendous in Tibet.
    And, as I said, the number of refugees is increasing. The little help that they do receive is very much the result of congressional initiative and State Department funding, and for that I am grateful, they are grateful, and I would hope that this would not only continue, as I said, but increase as the refugee situation does increase. And in that sense, I do disagree with Julia that in fact, we do need more funding. This is a horrendous situation, and we are in a situation to help them.
    I did see a building there, a large dormitory with a kitchen which is near completion that will relieve the overcrowding and provide a semblance of privacy to monks and nuns and the very young children that I saw there, and separate men and women.
    After watching the crowd of new arrivals swell every day, I doubt the purpose will be fully achieved this winter. The human feeling of encountering these refugees stirs one very deeply. Asked why they left, they're stunned. When pressed, they say, well, we have no life. We have no religion. They come into our houses in the middle of the night, searching. They take us out, sometimes for torture. We're certainly hassled constantly. We have no jobs. Everything that is Tibetan has been taken away from us. We are second and third-class citizens in our own country. We have nothing left. To get out, perhaps our children can be educated out of country because they have no opportunities in our own country. We wish to see the Dalai Lama who is our only hope. We wish to have some semblance of a life as the rest of the world knows it. And for that reason, they are willing to endure the hardships of going over the Himalayas in tennis shoes.
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    There is one extraordinary Tibetan woman that I met there at a transit camp, and her name is Tsering Llamo, and I bring her to your attention for two reasons. First, as a former Fulbright scholar, she represents a program authorized by this Committee that has returned to the Tibetan exile community a skilled cadre of young people who now serve magnificently in the Tibetan refugee assistance program.
    Second, Tsering Llamo is asking for a proper clinic and funding for a visiting doctor. Now the clinic that I saw was wholly inadequate. And again, I'd like to say that any monies that do end up in these programs, one sees a lot in return. The Administration costs are extremely low; there's a lot of bang for the buck spent there. And in human terms, it's money well-spent.
    By the time the refugees reach Kathmandu over the mountains, refugees are malnourished, they're exhausted and often traumatized. All them were traumatized, that I saw. They were stunned. As I spoke to them, often it took hours for them to understand that I was someone who could be trusted, I was someone there to help them and I wasn't just some authority figure who was gaining information to be used against them later. This is the process that usually takes several months for them to become acclimated.
    And as they end up in Dharamsala, you can see the difference in refugees who have come over from Tibet and the exile-community Tibetans who still have that quality of being Tibetan, of being open and loving and generous in the most extreme sense of that. It's really quite moving to see the Tibetan community in exile embrace these new arrivals and nurture them back into being open human beings.
    I've seen the assistance that we are giving them as a large part of that in terms of schools, education, and especially the immediate assistance they get as they come across the borders. Many of these people have been in flight from 2 to 6 months before reaching the Tibet border. As they descend from the Tibetan plateau, these refugees have few immunities to protect them from diseases that are rampant in the lower altitudes of Nepal and India. Many arrive with dysentery, scabies, and worms. In winter, about 75 percent of escapees cross the Himalayas by fording a 19,000-foot pass. I must tell you too, it's not simply enough to get across the mountains. Once they get there, very often they're hassled by the border guards.
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    There was a girl that I was fortunate enough to meet in Dharamsala, a very pretty Tibetan girl who had made it across the mountains, had lost two of her friends who had died on the way, but she was held and gang-raped by Nepalese guards for 2 days before she was allowed to escape. This is not a rare occurrence.
    Reports of torture among refugees are alarmingly common. A paper issued last fall by the Physicians for Human Rights found highly credible personal accounts of torture at the hands of Chinese authorities by 1 in every 7 Tibetan refugees interviewed.
    By accident, really, I spoke to Charlie Clements just yesterday, who is the director chairman for Physicians for Human Rights, and we had worked together in Nicaragua and El Salvador years ago. The work that he's doing with New York University and Bellevue Hospital with Tibetan refugees and post-traumatic stress syndrome, he says this clearly is one of the worst that he's had to deal with in his capacity.
    According to doctor reports, the abuse these torture victims suffered resulted in significant physical and psychological consequences.
    Though she may try, these maladies are more than Tsering Llamo can handle alone.
    Mr. Chairman, I thank you again for inviting me to speak before the Committee. I've made my remarks quite brief. Believe me, I could speak for a long time on this. There are a lot of people here to speak. But I commend you to my colleagues at the International Campaign for Tibet for more detailed information on the plight of Tibetan refugees.
    I'd also like to end my remarks by calling on the U.S. Government to increase its funding for overseas protection programs. As it is the world over, the need for refugee assistance for Tibetans in India and Nepal is not going down, but it is going up. There's no question about this. We're up to probably about 3,000 refugees who will make it over the mountains this year. And we can expect this refugee flow to increase as China continues to clamp down on freedoms and terrorize Tibetans in-country.
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    I urge the United States not to reduce or flat out its contributions to this account, but to provide abundant assistance where it is so desperately needed. And in real dollar terms, it seems to me that the monies being suggested by the Administration will be less than they've had before. I think it's important to increase, as we know, we have an increase of monies available, and the need is there. I understand that reduction in resources has caused under-staffing of the UNHCR's protection division and I can tell you, unequivocally, that the UNHCR Tibetan refugee program in Kathmandu has saved lives and lessened the torment of Tibetans at the hands of bandits and border guards. UNHCR protection is vital to the border handling and safe transit of these refugee groups through Nepal.
    Furthermore, as China does not seem willing to moderate its behavior in Tibet, the need may arise for more Tibetans to leave their country. The generosity of India and Nepal is extreme, especially India. Nepal is saturated now, from their point of view, and they're sending everyone to India. India is still receiving refugees. There have been upward of 100,000 who have come into India. And the Indians have been incredibly generous but I don't think they can be expected to foot it all themselves.
    We have broad shoulders in this country. We have resources, and we should be helping more. I sincerely hope, should that occasion arise that Tibetans need to enter this country, the United States will open its doors to them. By my estimation now, there are under 2,000 Tibetans in this country. We certainly have openings here for more Tibetans.
    As an elder Tibetan refugee so eloquently pleaded: ''We are facing difficulties of immense burdens, full of prayers, I implore that this may reach the heart of a benevolent person.''
    And I might add, the heart of a benevolent country.
    And finally, I'd like to announce a program that was launched today by the International Campaign for Tibet and WITNESS of the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights to provide interactive documentation of the 1998 winter exodus of refugees from Tibet. This program can be accessed on www.savetibet.org and will feature photographs of Tibetan refugees and their stories. Beginning with His Holiness, the Dalai Lama's flight in 1959, over 140,000 Tibetans have been driven from their homeland. I invite you to bear witness to the tragic exodus as it continues today.
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    I want to thank you again for allowing this time. And I want to thank you for all the hard work that you guys have done. I'm very proud of you as a coworker and I'm proud of you as an American. Thank you very much.
    [The prepared statement of Mr. Gere appears in the appendix.]
    Mr. SMITH. Thank you very much for your compelling testimony and the fact that you match your words with your daily efforts. And the fact that you have spent so many years, 15 as you pointed out, working on behalf of the beleaguered people of Tibet.
    You mention torture. We held a hearing in the last Congress with 6 survivors of the Laogai, including Harry Wu but also a Tibetan monk, Palden Gyatso, who brought in the instruments that tortured him.
    Mr. GERE. I met Palden Gyatso, actually in Dharamsala actually just after he got over the border.
    Mr. SMITH. Then you know him.
    Mr. GERE. It was an extraordinary experience. The man had spent 30 years in jail, tortured almost every day of his life. He had lost his teeth from having a cattle prod put in his mouth, scars all over his body.
    I sat there with a documenter from Amnesty and a translator, and he told his story for 3 hours and we sat there with tears streaming down our faces to hear what had happened to this man. At that point, he had smuggled out the torture implements from the prison that he was in—or, he was in several prisons in Tibet. They were in Delhi at the time, in a safe, because he wasn't sure who he could trust. But since then, I know that he did come to this country. I was able to help him get to this country. In fact, Amnesty and the Gere Foundation put together a few events to present him to the world and allow him to tell his story. He has an extraordinary book out now. If people would be interested, ''The Autobiography of a Tibetan Monk,'' I believe is the name of it. It's an extraordinary book, very, very moving. And certainly up there with the story of Harry Wu and Wei Jinsheng.
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    Mr. SMITH. I would like to yield to Mr. Gilman, because he has to leave, for a question.
    Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I regret that I have another appointment, but I'll try to return as quickly as I can. But before Mr. Gere leaves, first of all, I want to commend Richard Gere for the great work that he's done, the leadership of his group, and he has reminded the Congress continually of our responsibilities, and we can't thank you enough for what you've been doing over the years.
    And, Mr. Gere, according to monks and nuns who have been fleeing Tibet, they decided to flee because while in Tibet, they had been required by the Chinese authorities to sign a declaration agreeing to five points: First, rejecting the boy selected by the Dalai Lama as the 11th reincarnation of the Panchen Lama. Second, rejecting and denouncing the Dalai Lama. Third, recognizing the unity of China and Tibet. Fourth, rejecting independence for Tibet. And last, not to listen to the Voice of America.
    Can you tell us your comments on that? How important is it when they have to reject the Dalai Lama, to a Tibetan Buddhist, how important is that and what would it mean for a practitioner to denounce him?
    Mr. GERE. Everything you've said, Congressman Gilman, is true. And that's one of the reasons why we're seeing an increase of nuns and monks who are leaving Tibet now.
    The question of denouncing the Dalai Lama would be denouncing your mother and father, your grandmother, your grandfather, your whole heritage; denouncing your God, denouncing your religion; denouncing your own name. There's nothing more central to a Tibetan than that relationship and their belief. Total, complete belief in the purity and leadership of the Dalai Lama.
    The Chinese know that. And this is a very systematic approach—and we've seen that from the time of Stalin through all the Communist nations that have come since then. You take away people's pure beliefs in anything, you destroy them. And with that, if you take their land away, then they have absolutely nothing. And that's what the Tibetans are facing right now.
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    Chairman GILMAN. We had a good opportunity of seeing the amount of worship that they hold for the Dalai Lama when we visited Dharamsala, the congressional delegation in August of last year. And many of the people that were there, the Tibetans had just recently come from Tibet, and certainly characterize their trip in the manner which you described. How difficult it was crossing the mountains, and many of them suffered tremendously from that trip.
    In the State Department's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1997, it states, ''The Committee supports continued funding to assist Tibetan refugees and expects that $2 million will be provided for this purpose.'' This is a November 1997 report from the Appropriations Committee. ''The Committee requests a report by February 1, 1998, on its plans for implementing this assistance and on the history and/or future plans for this program.''
    From your testimony, I assume that you support that $2-million appropriation. I think your Committee last year suggested $1 million. Do you support that?
    Mr. GERE. I support $20 million.
    I will accept $2 million. I think that we're talking about such extreme need here. I think the money spent this year was under $1 million. In real need, that's minuscule. And again, if you've been to those Tibetan border nations, you see what that amount of money does. It helps an enormous number of people, but it doesn't do more than help them survive the moment. It doesn't return them to humanity and it just barely scratches the surface of what can be done for these people. If you saw the people that ended up in Dharamsala, that was after they had gone through the border experience in Nepal, been put on a bus and went to Delhi where they went through another processing situation, and then in a bus that went up to Dharamsala. At that point, they had been fed, their wounds had been nursed, and they still were stunned, I think you could testify. They hadn't really assimilated yet.
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    The people at the border are in extraordinary need. You just can't believe the suffering of these people. I've talked to mountain climbers who have found groups of Tibetans up in the mountains, wandering around with nothing. No food, no clothes and the mountain climbers are in their parkas and their heavy clothes and protections, and they see these people walking through the heavy snowstorms in these high mountain passes in tennis shoes. It's mind-boggling. They've lost their brothers and sisters already. They've lost their mothers and fathers, and they don't know what to do. Well, we're here to help them. I pledge myself, from my own foundation, to help these people. I think as the U.S. Government is flush right now, we can do much more.
    $2 million at a minimum, absolutely, do I support.
    Chairman GILMAN. God bless you and the efforts of your foundation. In the State Department's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1997, it states, according to credible reports, monks who refused to sign that 5-point declaration I mentioned, were expelled from their monasteries and were not permitted home to work. What's left for them when that happens? I assumed you've talked with some of these monks.
    Mr. GERE. Oh, yes, I just saw them in the camps coming over. They're in their tattered robe which is all they have; they've given away everything. Mind you, these refugees come across with, literally, nothing. Nothing. No possessions. Barely the clothes on their back, and by then, they've been wrapped around their feet so there's almost nothing left on their bodies. For a monk and a nun, there's no place to go but the mountains. You walk out of the country. And very few make it because they don't have the resources to make it properly. To stay in-country, there's nothing for them. Nothing. There's nothing for an ordinary Tibetan. For a monk and a nun, who are trained for nothing else, whose minds are set on the monastery or the convent, there's nothing for them.
    Chairman GILMAN. It's a sad situation. The State Department recently appointed, as you know, a special coordinator for Tibet. Do you have any recommendations for that special coordinator, what he could help do to resolve the crisis in Tibet?
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    Mr. GERE. I think that, as he's finding out, the Dalai Lama in this case is the solution, not the problem, for both sides. The Dalai Lama is, as we all know, a genuine human being who is genuinely looking for a just and a lasting solution to this problem. He's looking for a win-win situation here, which I think does exist. But it can't happen unless the Chinese come to the table to talk. If there's an absolute unwillingness, a stonewall to discussion, honest discussion, absolutely nothing can happen. I think that's the leverage that we have and I think Mr. Craig will eventually, if he hasn't done it already, be recommending to the President that that is something that we can demand of the Chinese. That there is a genuine engagement in terms of talk and discussion. And realizing there's no fear of the Tibetans here. The Tibetans are not a violent people. These people really are forgiving in the extreme. I could tell you the most heart-wrenching stories of forgiveness. These people that walk out, Palden Gyatso, we were talking about before. When I asked him, after 30 years of torture, holding his torture implements, no teeth in his mouth, I said, how do you feel about these people? And he looked off in the distance and took a deep breath and he said: ''It's much larger than that. It's much larger. If we couldn't forgive, what is Buddhism all about?''
    So he embraces them as brothers and sisters. The Dalai Lama embraces them as brothers and sisters. He sees their actions and this tremendous amount of violence and repression on the Tibetan people, as horrible for his own people, but ultimately worse for the Chinese in terms of karma. And he genuinely does see it that way, as the Tibetans as a community see it that way. So we're dealing with people that do want a win-win situation.
    Chairman GILMAN. When we met with the President of China back in August we talked about the impasse, why aren't you sitting down and negotiating with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and his response was: ''When the Dalai Lama says they don't want independence, then we can sit and talk.''
    But when we visited with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, he said, we don't want independence, we just want some autonomy for our people.
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    And we can't seem to break through that impasse. Do you have any thoughts about all that?
    Mr. GERE. Well, I think this comes down to trust. I'm assuming that we're all basically the same. I don't pretend to tell you that the Chinese are all monsters. Even in government, even as high officials who maybe are responsible for the policy in Tibet. I don't think they're monsters. They are like us.
    There's a wonderful line in ''Kundun,'' a recent movie of the Dalai Lama.
    Chairman GILMAN. A great film.
    Mr. GERE. It's an extraordinary film in which the young Dalai Lama receives several generals who want him to sign a paper—Chinese generals. And he doesn't speak, he just stares at them; watches them. The Chinese don't know what to do and eventually they leave with the paper. And the camera follows the Dalai Lama out and he's thinking by himself outside and his attendant comes up, speaks his name, and it's the first time in 5 minutes the Dalai Lama spoke, and he says: ''They're just like us. They're just like us.''
    And the Dalai Lama genuinely believes this. I think we're in a situation here that we have to allow this trust to happen but it only can happen in proximity. The Dalai Lama in proximity to the Chinese will let them know absolutely, completely, utterly, that he is a man of conscience, a man who is only looking for the best for all people.
    And I think we can force that. I think it's our responsibility to force that to happen. And I've seen this continually. Everyone melts around the honesty and purity of the Dalai Lama.
    Now, in terms of independence, it's a very tricky issue. Tibet was independent. Whether the U.S. Congress can say that, whether the President can say it, whether the European Union can say that—this is all technical jargon. Everyone knows that it is irrefutable. Now, in terms of the language that one uses in fashioning an agreement in the de facto present, that's something else.
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    But to expect the Dalai Lama to lie and say that Tibet wasn't independent, is unthinkable. The man can't lie. It's not in his fabric to lie.
    Now, if the Tibetans were given true autonomy which is what they have on paper already from the Chinese, that's totally acceptable. What they have not received is what they've already been promised.
    Chairman GILMAN. Mr. Gere, thank you for your thoughts and for your willingness to be here to testify before us. We hope you'll continue for many years to seek a solution to this Tibetan problem. God bless.
    Mr. GERE. God bless you.
    Mr. SMITH. Thanks, Mr. Gilman. Let me, Mr. Gere, ask you a couple of questions.
    Mr. GERE. Yes, please.
    Mr. SMITH. First of all, I thank you for your strong appeal that the numbers be ratcheted upwards in the area of how much money we allocate. I would point out, basically, we're talking about two things. The humanitarian concerns, dealing with people in the camps, making sure there's adequate food, water, shelter, clean——
    Mr. GERE. Clinics, simple clinics to deal with the people's immediate needs when they come across.
    Mr. SMITH. In looking through the documents that will be presented later on by all of the other non-governmental organizations who like you have long-standing and deep commitments to the refugees, not politics, not any ancillary issues like that, they just care about the refugee, they point out that the numbers are low.
    In Africa, the 7,000 ceiling is so unrealistic. The UNHCR has not referred any large groups for settlement, causing processing pipeline to be virtually nil. That's from the Lutheran Immigration.
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    The Council of Jewish Federations (CJF) points out that the numbers should be 104,000 refugees and that the admission number should be determined by dollars. That should drive the numbers of how many we provide for, not the money. Unfortunately we set a ceiling on money and then everything has to fit into that box. And it seems to me that we've had a number of oversight hearings on this Subcommittee that we allocate a certain amount, we say, that's all there's going to be, now make it work out in the field. We give many of our people in the field a very, very difficult task, to say the least.
    We also have gotten into this mantra of resettlement, back to home country. And everything is pushed toward—you know, we're almost like compassion-fatigued. Don't care anymore about——
    Mr. GERE. As long as they're back, everything's fine.
    Mr. SMITH. As long as they're back, everything's fine. Never mind that they're going to prison or being hurt in some way, and not to mention the emotional distress they go through in going back.
    There also seems to be a lack of priorities, and in a bipartisan way this Committee tries to push the Administration to increase those numbers.
    You saw, on the ground, people who were hurting. What would be your recommendation to us as to how to get these numbers up? We're like reeds out in the wind sometimes.
    Mr. GERE. Look, I honestly believe that this Committee is doing one of the most important things that government can do: representing the mission statement of who we are as Americans. What this country stands for, and it really is embracing all peoples. That's where we came from. Our forefathers were people that didn't fit in anyplace else; we were all refugees from somewhere.
    Now I'm in a little of a funny position here because I'm talking about Tibet, but my heart goes out to all refugees everywhere. And the work that this Committee does for everyone, I think, is extraordinary.
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    Now, specifically the Tibetan situation. I was there. I saw it. I've been in Darjeeling, I've been in Bhutan, I've been in Kathmandu and Nepal. I've been over the border areas in India. And I see the work that people are doing, whether it is the United Nations, whether it is the Scandinavian nations, whether it is the United States, this is big bang for the buck that you get out of this. This is dealing with the immediate survival of people. There's no question about this. There's no high administrative cost here. This goes right into housing, clothing, feeding and administering to the wounds of people who are on the edge of death.
    Mr. SMITH. And you heard of and saw people who were not getting their needs met?
    Mr. GERE. Absolutely. The needs are so broad, you know, it's not enough to give a little rice to someone who has just come across the border. We're dealing with people who have been so traumatized from a whole life of repression that they need enormous help, mentally, physically, spiritually, on all levels. We can't take on people's problems ad infinitum. But we can certainly deal with their immediate needs. We do have the resources to do that. You know, walking down the streets of New York, we can put $5 in a bum's pocket. It's OK. We can afford that. We certainly can do that in Kathmandu for these people who have walked for weeks, sometimes months, through the snow, over the high passes, in tennis shoes, in order to get away from an oppressive government.
    Mr. SMITH. Did any of those people indicate that they wanted to be resettled in other countries like the United States?
    Mr. GERE. I think the dream of a lot of people is to go to the United States. The ones immediately coming over the border, I wouldn't say so. They're so stunned. Believe me, they're so stunned in that moment. First, that they have survived this horrendous trek, second, they're stunned from where they come from. They don't really know what to expect in Nepal or India.
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    They have a vague idea of: I want to get to the Dalai Lama. That will bring happiness. I will be safe if I'm with the Dalai Lama.
    That's about all they really have when they come across the border. Now eventually, when they understand that they are safe, that they're in a free country, India especially, they start to have dreams, like everyone. And resettlement in the United States means a lot to them. They can get a job that pays well, and they can take care of their family, like everyone else who has ever come to the United States.
    The numbers we're talking about of Tibetans is quite low. As I said, a maximum of 2,000 Tibetans are here now. I would say probably less than that in Canada, maybe more in Switzerland and in other European countries. But it's quite low. So for us to even double the amount, triple, quadruple the amount of Tibetans really means very little to us in terms of taking care of these people.
    Mr. SMITH. Was there any indication from either the UNHCR or any American diplomats that you met that they are making the possibility of resettlement in the United States something that these people could anticipate as a realistic expectation?
    Mr. GERE. Well, this comes later on. The resettlement program that was initiated about 6 years ago, maybe. I was skeptical of that, frankly. I didn't think it would work, but it has been enormously successful for the Tibetans and for the Americans. They've become very productive people within the community. They've saved a lot of Tibetans. Families hopefully will be coming over and they've added to the richness of the cultural mix of this country tremendously.
    Mr. SMITH. Let me ask one final question.
    Mr. GERE. Yes.
    Mr. SMITH. The other organizations have asked for, and I think I've read all of their testimony now, additions in the number of refugee slots for resettlement, at least at the 100,000 range, and also for upping the amount to at least $700 million from the current figure. What is the Campaign for Tibet's position on that?
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    Mr. GERE. Frankly, I'm going to let the experts speak. It's not my specific area so I'm going to let an expert speak, Mary Beth Markey.
    Ms. MARKEY. Again, I'm sorry, the question?
    Mr. SMITH. The other non-governmental organizations who are testifying today are asking that the number be significantly increased to at least the $700-million figure and also that the number of resettlement positions be upped to approximately 100,000, perhaps even more according to some of them. What is the Campaign for Tibet's position on that?
    Ms. MARKEY. We certainly support that position and we would also be willing to work quite hard in union with our fellow non-governmental organizations and with the Congress to make sure that happens.
    Mr. SMITH. Thank you very much. Mr. Payne.
    Mr. PAYNE. Thank you very much. Let me also join my colleagues in expressing the appreciation that we have for the outstanding work that you're doing highlighting the situation in Tibet and your history right along championing civil rights around the world.
    Mr. GERE. Thank you, sir.
    Mr. PAYNE. And we appreciate the campaign that Hollywood is doing, ''Kundun'' and ''Seven Years in Tibet'' and others. It really helps when people who have a lot of identification and attention get involved in good causes. And so once again, I certainly appreciate what you're doing.
    I just have two real quick questions, and I don't know if one of the experts wants to answer it, but the Nepalese Government suspended the issuance of identification cards to Tibetan refugees in the 1960's. Now many Tibetans have no form of identification, no permanent status.
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    These Tibetans have difficulty in obtaining their basic citizen's rights, unable to travel abroad, have problems with access to services such as banking and other normal kinds of things.
    The UNHCR donates blank resident identification cards to the government of Tibet but in August 1997 there were 4,000 Tibetan refugees in Kathmandu Valley that remain without identification cards and I was wondering if anyone knows whether it's felt that the People's Republic of China is pressuring the Nepal Government about the issuances of identification? And if you've had the opportunity to speak to any Tibetans themselves or whether this issue comes forward when they're talking about the problems that they're having?
    Mr. GERE. Clearly, this is a huge problem. What is the status of a refugee? Travel becomes extremely difficult. A lot of Tibetan friends of mine have had to become American citizens, which is not too onerous in some sense, but if you're a Tibetan it is. They don't want to be listed as a Chinese citizen because they're not Chinese. It's very difficult to get the papers in Nepal.
    The question is the PRC pressuring Nepal? No question about it. They're terrified of China. Terrified on all levels. We're going through a period of the last years where refugees coming across the border are sold back to China. There's a huge black market in selling people back. And this comes directly from pressure from China to not help the Tibetans. Do you have anything to add to that?
    Ms. MARKEY. I think that's true. I think that this is an issue that the Nepalese Government has been trying for a very long time to fudge its way through and——
    Mr. GERE. And we can understand their issues.
    Mr. PAYNE. Yes.
    Ms. MARKEY. Yes.
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    Mr. GERE. They've got a huge monster on top of them there.
    Mr. PAYNE. Sure.
    Ms. MARKEY. The American Embassy in Kathmandu has been calling on the Nepalese to resolve this so it is an issue that the American Government is aware of and it is applying some pressure.
    Mr. GERE. I want to add too that I was able to meet the new ambassador to Nepal, the U.S. ambassador, who, I think, is an extraordinary man. There were several things that were brought to his attention while I was there. He called me back within hours and had verified what I said was true, and got right on it and fixed it. This had to do with helping refugees, because the U.S. Government does have an effect here.
    Mr. PAYNE. And that's another area where we need to get more funding. You were talking about more funding for refugees, we've had a tremendous cut in the amount of funds that are available to run our overseas operations.
    Mr. GERE. Absolutely. As a private citizen, I was happy to bring this information to the attention of the U.S. Embassy, but they did not have the manpower to get a lot of this information themselves.
    Mr. PAYNE. Right. It makes no sense, a first-class country and we have almost second-class services representing us in a country. It makes no sense.
    My other question deals with the problems that the refugees have getting over the mountains and getting through. Is there anyway that a safe passage might be able to assist them? I guess once again the question is the other governments don't want to get too cozy.
    And this question about the rural police. I thought they would be the ones stopping the brutality and bribery but in instances are you saying that they are creating some of the problems also?
    Mr. GERE. I think it would be foolish to expect that the most educated people in Nepal are border guards. I've heard terrible stories of what they've done. There's no question about this. The U.S. Government and the United Nations have pressured Nepal to take care of this issue, and I think it has, to a very large extent, been taken care of, but it continues. There's no question about this. Border guards have to deal with a lot of issues, their own personal ones, as well as people who have been severely beaten up. You know, I know what it feels like getting off a plane after 36 hours. And I don't want a customs person giving me a problem. Now imagine spending 3 months walking through the mountains and you have a border guard who is ridiculing you and giving you problems. You're going to have blow-ups there. So you need trained people who can deal with the emotions and reality of a person who's been through that kind of stressful situation.
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    Ms. MARKEY. This is the most important reason for the UNHCR Tibetan program in Kathmandu because they actually are able to offer incentives to the border guards. They send jeeps and helicopters up to the Nepali border areas. That program has not been in existence for that long, perhaps less than 10 years.
    Mr. GERE. Less than 10 years.
    Ms. MARKEY. And before that, things were much worse, so given the limited amount of resources and manpower UNHCR has, they're doing a good job there and it must continue.
    Mr. PAYNE. I really appreciate that. As I looked at last week's tab, you know, we've got to deal with dictators who attempt to have their policies which are anti-human rights, people like Saddam Hussein. Last week we spent $1.4 billion just on sending some troops over and a few more planes, and if the buildup continues, it'll probably be $2 billion a week, and it'll go up to $3 billion a week. And when we try to get an increase for something like refugee work or embassies around the world or humanitarian aid, we can't. We do what we have to do, but perhaps a lot of the money would be better spent in preventive methods, so we don't have to have the clock running on $1.4 billion, probably up to $2 billion this week, $3.5 billion the next week unless the agreement stands. It's just the wrong way.
    Mr. GERE. Well said. Well said.
    Mr. PAYNE. Thank you.
    [Mr. Payne's prepared statement appears in the appendix.]
    Mr. SMITH. Thank you, Mr. Payne. Mr. Ballenger.
    Mr. BALLENGER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Let me, if I may, you've run into these old package disaster hospitals left over from the John F. Kennedy Administration, or have you?
    Mr. GERE. No, I haven't.
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    Mr. BALLENGER. My wife and I have found 12 of them. We put two of them in Guatemala, and two in Nicaragua, and one in El Salvador, one in Bolivia, one in Peru, one in Afghanistan, so forth. And we might still be able to find those things. It's equipment somewhat like you'd see on ''MASH'' on TV, a hospital pretty well-dated like that, without the buildings or anything like that. If such a thing could be located, which may be possible, does the Denton Amendment—how do you get equipment and stuff over there?
    Mr. GERE. How can you get it there?
    Mr. BALLENGER. Yes.
    Mr. GERE. The same way you get anything, you fly it in. It's not a problem. Someone has to pay for it. I mean, I'm generous——
    Mr. GERE. That's why we're here.
    Mr. BALLENGER. In other words, this Tsering Llamo who needs a basic clinic that you're talking about.
    Mr. GERE. Yes. Believe me, they have nothing there. They have a room, a mud room to receive people. And they do what they can with the resources they have, which is basically to clean a wound and wrap it is all they can do.
    Mr. BALLENGER. So, basically, if I could find something like this, do we have a way of getting in touch with you to find out——
    Mr. GERE. Sure.
    Mr. BALLENGER. Usually, I know how to ship things to Central America, South America and Africa, but I don't know anything about Tibet.
    Ms. MARKEY. We'd be happy to work with you, Congressman.
    Mr. BALLENGER. Yes, ma'am. Is there a way to——
    Mr. GERE. Yes. We'll give you a card of the International Campaign for Tibet. It's in Washington.
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    Mr. GERE. Full-time wonderful people working there.
    Mr. BALLENGER. We've done it before——
    Mr. GERE. I know them personally, they're really, really terrific people.
    Mr. BALLENGER. Right. We've done it before and it's quite possible if there are some left.
    Ms. MARKEY. Great.
    Mr. GERE. I think it's an excellent idea.
    Mr. BALLENGER. I've got a list of them.
    Ms. MARKEY. That's great. The last time I talked to Tsering Llamo, she had eight frostbite victims, two with double amputations who were sleeping on the floor in her clinic. They have no regular access to a doctor. They have no doctor on call. She has to tend to sick children, people who come over with pneumonia and not just the frostbite, but regular illnesses.
    Mr. BALLENGER. Do they need beds?
    Mr. GERE. Yes.
    Ms. MARKEY. They need beds.
    Mr. GERE. Everything.
    Ms. MARKEY. A private place for those people to recuperate, you know just even with bunk beds and curtain.
    Mr. BALLENGER. Actually, surprisingly, if you've done this several times, sooner or later the hospital community, all these big conglomerations they put together and they shut down a hospital here, and they've given me three hospitals at one time.
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    Ms. MARKEY. One of the problems with the Tibetans, and I know we need to go and there are other people who need to speak, as well, but one of the problems with the Tibetans in Kathmandu is they need to maintain their very low profile, almost their invisibility. The transit center there is on the outskirts of town, it's set way back. It's a very delicate political situation. As Richard says, the Nepalese have a lot of pressure from the Chinese Government and there are Chinese agents all over Kathmandu so the Tibetans kind of try to stay away and not bring their problems into the visible realm.
    Mr. BALLENGER. Well, 2132 is my room number.
    Ms. MARKEY. I'll find you.
    Mr. BALLENGER. Yes, ma'am.
    Ms. MARKEY. Thank you, sir.
    Mr. BALLENGER. Let's see if we can't help out.
    Mr. GERE. She will call you, too, I want you to know.
    Mr. BALLENGER. Happy to help out.
    Ms. MARKEY. OK.
    Mr. GERE. There was one comment I'd like to make. Congressman Payne had what I thought was an extraordinary idea I'd like to follow out which was to create a safe corridor for these refugees. I think that's something that could be negotiated, and it's something that Mr. Craig could bring up. I think that's a real thing. Several thousand people dying in the mountains every year trying to get out, that's not good p.r. for China as well. So safe ground to get out to Kathmandu and also to Darjeeling, which is a little easier route, coordinated with more help from the U.S. Government, from the U.S. citizens, I think that's an extraordinary idea.
    Mr. PAYNE. You know, there was an example in Rwanda when the genocide was going on. Some of us were asking for a safe corridor, not to get involved in the combatants, but to have a peacekeeping force just to keep the combatants from brutalizing and murdering women and children and the elderly, and we were unable to accomplish that. The French, though, and I don't agree with the French often, but at that time, they happened to send in the same kind of thing we were asking for and had sort of a protective group around 2 1/2 million people whose lives were probably saved just by virtue of having a safe haven, a safe passage.
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    We do it in some of our cities now with runaway kids, to let them go to a place, a YMCA or a place where they're safe. Just a safe haven for the time being. As you indicated, some kind of corridor, somewhere that there could be agreement so that—you're not going to stop a person if they're determined to go, but I don't think the People's Republic of China would need additional bad publicity which they continually get, why they keep trying to say they're not so bad. And so that might be something, I don't think it'll increase the number, it'll just be a little more humane to those who decide they're going to take off.
    Mr. GERE. I think it would increase the numbers if people knew they didn't have to walk over 3 months through the mountains to get out, and there was an easy way to get out. But it's a perilous situation because obviously the Chinese do not really embrace the Tibetans in Tibet. They don't want them to leave either. They make it very difficult for them. So, they're being squeezed on every angle, but I think it's an interesting path to follow, and I'd like to follow that up.
    Mr. PAYNE. Great. Thank you.
    Mr. GERE. Thank you.
    Mr. SMITH. Mr. Gere, thank you very much for your testimony. And Ms. Markey, thank you for joining in at the table today.
    Ms. MARKEY. Thank you very much.
    Mr. SMITH. Again, your comments and your witness on behalf of refugees, specifically in Tibet and in general, I think helps the entire issue around the world, so we're very much indebted to your work.
    Mr. GERE. I'm indebted to you guys, and please keep it up. You know, we're proud of you. Thanks.
    Ms. MARKEY. Thank you.
    Mr. SMITH. I'd like to ask Secretary Taft if she could return to the witness table.
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    Ms. Taft, I'd like to begin first with, you made a rather sharp distinction between refugees and internally displaced persons when adding up the numbers. And interestingly enough, in his testimony, Father Ryscavage of the Jesuit Refugee Service USA points out that he does not draw such a sharp line.
    As a matter of fact, he says, our field workers do not and cannot make those kinds of distinctions. This is a very important point he makes: the internally displaced person is often a refugee who has not yet managed to cross an international border. More to the point, increasingly, the internally displaced are people who are prevented from crossing borders or are forcibly deported back to their countries of origin without proper screening.
    And I think it may have the effect of painting, however unwittingly, a distorted picture of the suffering that is going on suggesting that refugee numbers are going down. They are, according to Father Ryscavage, being prevented, and I think he makes a very good point about that. And yes, we're counting better now, probably than we did in the past. But I think we're talking about the need. As Mr. Gere just pointed out and as those who will testify later point out in their very well-argued briefs, the need is rising, not declining. And when they talk about a $700-million minimum, and we're coming in at far less than that, we're going to see more suffering.
    And take this point the way it's given, because I do believe in your heart of hearts, you're right there. We need to lead by example and it seems to me that if we become miserly, other nations will also put their wallets back into their pockets and be less forthcoming. That goes for resettlement and I think that also goes for forking out sufficient dollars to meet the overwhelming humanitarian need.
    Ms. TAFT. If I may respond to that, I think you're absolutely right. We ought to be looking at what are the needs of the people who are displaced whether they've crossed a border or they haven't crossed a border. The reason I was trying to make this distinction is that the UNHCR, before it was asked to intervene in Bosnia for the IDPs, only dealt with refugees and it was the UNICEF and other organizations at the United Nations that had primary responsibilities for IDPs. It is very difficult for us to figure out whose jurisdiction the IDPs fall into, and because there has been a gap in terms of the lead agency designation by the United Nations, the UNHCR has embraced more and more, the issue of IDPs.
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    This has an implication for us because PRM funds refugees and AID and the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, which I used to lead, generally deals with IDPs. So we have a question of what funds, and what agencies, are to be involved, but let me assure you, on the bottom line, we agree with Father Ryscavage and with you.
    The needs of these people are part of the international humanitarian commitment and we need to find ways to channel appropriate resources to whatever agencies provide assistance on the ground.
    Mr. SMITH. What can be done Tibet-specific?
    Ms. TAFT. Well, I've taken notes. I'll be glad to go with Mr. Gere anytime.
    Mr. SMITH. I thought you were going to say me.
    Ms. TAFT. It's hard, you know, you hear of somebody having a tough act to follow. Putting me after him is a real comedown. But let me say that I had a phone call from Mr. Craig before I came here asking me to find out exactly what we had done with the $2-million soft-earmark that was in the last budget. In going through with my staff, I realize that $850,000 had been given to the Tibet Fund and that we had been supporting the UNHCR in terms of their reception center in Kathmandu. I was advised that our funding met the absorptive capacity of these programs.
    Other things that we might do would be more development oriented. After hearing the testimony today, I am going to go and reevaluate whether or not we are doing all that we can to provide the emergency reception care and transit for these people.
    And I'm very impressed with his testimony. I will report back to you on what we find. If there are conduits of assistance that we have overlooked, we will rectify that and we will definitely get back in touch with the UNHCR and our embassy in Kathmandu to find out whether they are doing everything necessary to alleviate this concern.
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    Mr. SMITH. I appreciate that. And I think I speak for all members on the Subcommittee that we would all appreciate that, on both sides of the aisle.
    [The information below was supplied following the hearing.]

    In further consideration of the Appropriations Committee report language in H.R. 2159 indicating that up to $2 million should be used to assist Tibetan refugees, and in view of the International Relations Committee's concern that such assistance be provided, we have reviewed proposed activities to assist Tibetan refugees in order to determine whether there are additional needs that fall within the mandate of the PRM.
    Since 1991, the PRM has supported Tibetan refugees through contributions to the UNHCR and the Tibet Fund, a private, non-governmental organization that raises money for Tibetan refugees.
    UNHCR notified our Refugee and Migration Affairs office in Geneva that $156,373 has been budgeted within the UNHCR general program budget for 1998 to support the reception center in Kathmandu. The Tibet Fund recently submitted a preliminary funding request to PRM for FY 1998 which includes $1.6 million for support to reception centers for newly arrived refugees as well as refugee health and education programs. In total, PRM has now received budget requests totaling $1.8 million.
    While the Bureau has supported these programs at a more modest level for several years, this year the Tibet Fund has identified opportunities to expand the level of program services. Their proposal addresses a number of possible shortcomings in assistance activities for Tibetan refugees, particularly in the health sector, which were identified by others at the authorization oversight hearing on February 24.
    Proposed program expansions will upgrade reception center health clinics in Kathmandu and Dharamsala; provide clothing to refugees when they arrive in Kathmandu; expand the curriculum for students at the Transit School to include vocational training in order to better prepare them to be self-sufficient upon graduation; and increase the number of water and sanitation projects to be implemented.
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    During the next few weeks PRM will carefully analyze the additional program requests and will consider funding those that fall within the Bureau's mandate.

    As I think you know, InterAction has suggested for Fiscal Year 1999, a refugee admissions number of 104,000. These are your old stomping grounds.
    Again, I know that there are competing pressures with the Department and there are those who buy into the idea of repatriate, repatriate, repatriate, rather than look for countries for third country resettlement.
    And, you know, looking at the Lutheran Immigration & Refugee Service testimony, much of what the executive director will speak to today, is what's going on in Africa where we have this seemingly artificially low ceiling of 7,000. The UNHCR has not referred any large groups for resettlement, causing the processing pipeline for refugees to be virtually empty.
    And we ran into this when we had our hearings on the Great Lakes. If there was one, it would be the total exception among those people who were fleeing in the country, particularly in Rwanda who felt they couldn't go back. But they were not apprised, there was no interview.     Ms. TAFT. I know this is also Mr. Payne's concern, and we certainly share it. Let me say that one of the principal problems is that there are no large groups of African refugees for whom all of us, including Congress, can agree ought to be provided an entitlement to resettlement.
    For instance, the Hutus that are still in Congo and other countries. We have to make sure that they are not genocidaires before they could even be considered for some of our programs. So what we're trying to do is figure out whether there are groups of refugees that we can concentrate our processing on such as the Benadir were last year.
    Actually just this last week, I had two of our admissions people return from a 2-week trip to Africa, and we analyzed the possibilities of special groups. We need to identify more than single individuals, more than one person in Cape Town. Where are the groups? We have identified mixed Hutu Tutsi married refugees who are in Tanzania that we will be processing as P-II. There are several hundred that we're looking at, and we're going to intensify the processing.
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    We're going to be processing some groups of refugees from West Africa, and with the new processing point in Dakar, we think that's going to go more smoothly. We also agree that there are a lot of southern Sudanese in Egypt that cannot really resettle in Egypt. There are several thousand. We're going to concentrate our resources there.
    In fact, if you have other African groups for whom you feel we should have special processing, please let me know. We're trying very hard to make sure that the UNHCR is not the only point of entry. They have, in fact, in the past not been terribly enthusiastic about third country resettlement. We've now put two people working full-time on this issue, in Ethiopia and West Africa working with the UNHCR so we will get more referrals.
    We've also gone to our embassies and said, you can do direct referrals. We've gone to the JVAS, they can do direct referrals for a variety of these cases.
    But it is very, very difficult on a case by case basis unless we have more group processing. So let me just say that we're working really hard to even come up to the 7,000 for this year. And if you would have ideas or would like a particular debrief from the staffers that went out, I would welcome it.
    The bottom line, however, that I found out is that we're having a denial rate by INS of about 40 to 50 percent of those that we finally do process through and identify through our voluntary agencies and the UNHCR. And that is because it's been difficult for the INS to determine whether or not these people really are in credible fear of return or cannot live safely in the country of first asylum. This was news to me and we're going to work with INS on what is the background and training and orientation offered to the INS officers so that they will understand the context, perhaps, better. So it's all of these pieces, and we're working on them and I hope that we'll be able to raise the Africa admission numbers next year.
    Mr. SMITH. Let me ask you a question, I know you're very familiar with it. The refugee camp in Kenya where, because the fuel oil was denied, women were venturing out to get firewood, and some of them were raped. It was a horrendous situation. And a congressional delegation helped chronicle this, and I know our people at State are familiar with it, and that is the problem of some of the vegetable oil being denied, which is part of the basic diet. And that, apparently, the firewood was because of financial reasons, and apparently there was not enough money in the budget to meet these humanitarian needs. How many people got sick? How many people died, or were put in dire straits? What is the Department doing now to ensure that if there is surveillance, if there is a humanitarian need, we are at least trying to address it?
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    Ms. TAFT. On the particular camp, as a result of the staff delegation that went out there, and other reports that we had, we realized that this fuel situation needed to be rectified. We gave $1.5 million to the UNHCR earmarked for firewood.
    I am very sad to report to you, sir, that this program has not really gotten off the ground to our satisfaction. It has been fully studied about where they would find the fuel and how to transport it. But no firewood has yet been purchased. I find it very unacceptable. But we also had the intervening floods in the camp which put the firewood issue on a back burner, so to speak.
    So what I'm going to do now is to look at other alternatives to get firewood if the UNHCR cannot be responsive on this one. But it's an example of how we do have flexible money that we can go in and try to rectify a situation. And this one, I hope to be able to report very soon to you, is now back on track.
    Mr. SMITH. Do we track the infant mortality in the refugee camps? As you know, I and others have been very strongly supportive of child survival initiatives. Are they sufficiently cared for in terms of their immunizations? Do we have the data on that?
    Ms. TAFT. We do have data collected by UNHCR camp by camp.
    Mr. SMITH. Can that be made available to the Committee?
    Ms. TAFT. Sir?
    Mr. SMITH. Could that be made available to the Committee?
    Ms. TAFT. Sure. And we also have data on case-specific locations. The Centers for Disease Control go and they do analyses. We are also training our staff of PRM on its monitoring trips to start looking at the morbidity-mortality rates so that we can use that as a measurement of the quality of care. I will forward you whatever we can come up with. There is another study of the Rwanda refugee response, including Operation Turquoise. It was prepared by DECP and addressed what happened with refugees in Goma. What could have been done better? What was the role of the U.N. agencies? Who should have done other things in different ways?
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    It's a very comprehensive study done by the donors. And I will make sure you get a summary, you don't want to have the whole thing, or Mark doesn't want you to have the whole thing in your office, but we'll get you the final summary of it because it shows that there are other ways we can provide better assistance in the future.
    Chairman GILMAN. It sounds like a worthwhile undertaking.
    Ms. TAFT. It's very good.
    [The summary below was supplied following the hearing.]
    UNHCR has provided the following samples of infant mortality rates in Africa. UNHCR has much more information if needed, but it is currently in a number of different country files.

Benchmarks for under-5 mortality:
* 0.8/10,000/day = average in developing countries
* <2/10,000/day = relief program under control
* 2–5/10,000/day = very serious situation
* >5/10,000/day = major catastrophe

1. Kigoma, Tanzania: 1.8/10,000/day
     (for a period Jan. 4–Feb. 21, 1998; UNHCR notes that this is a bit high; a
     malaria epidemic is going on.)
2. Kenya (Kakuma and Dadaab Camps)(see footnote 1)
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     March 1998: .6/10,000/day (normal)
     Feb. 1998: 1.5/10,000/day (somewhat high)
     Dec. 1997: .5/10,000/day (normal)
     Jan. 1997: 4.8/10,000/day (very high malnutrition; cholera)
1 There are indications that the numbers for Kenya might be too high because of initial inaccurate statistics.
3. Sudan (Eritrean camps): .33/10,000/day
     (UNHCR finds this a little low and thinks there may be underreporting of in-
     fant deaths.)
4. Rwanda (Gihembe, Byumba): 2.3/10,000/day
     (January 1998 rate: high due to measles epidemic.
     By February, the measles were controlled. Rates will be much lower with next
    There are no situations in Africa at the moment where rates are above 2/10,000/day. Of course, things can change quickly with, for example, an outbreak of measles or malaria. For now, however, most situations are under control.
    UNHCR/PTSS is trying to introduce a standard reporting format for this kind of information. Once implemented, the data would be transferred to a database where UNHCR would be able to look comprehensively and quickly at infant mortality rates around the world. Currently, they rely on reporting from a number of implementing partners (MSF, CARE, Save, IRC, etc.)—not all of whom use the same format.

    Chairman GILMAN. Madame Secretary, you mentioned something about the Tibetan refugees funding and as I read previously, the Committee requested a report by February 1, 1998, on its plans for implementing the assistance. Can you tell us where that report stands right now?
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    Ms. TAFT. We did submit it. It has been submitted to this Committee, and it will say that we have——
    Chairman GILMAN. I think it may have gone to the Appropriations Committee.
    Ms. TAFT. Oh, it may have. I will make sure you have it.
    Chairman GILMAN. Yes, could we get a copy of it.
    Ms. TAFT. Yes, sir.
    Chairman GILMAN. I think it would be very helpful to our Committee.
    Ms. TAFT. Yes, sir.
    [The report submitted by Ms. Taft appears in the appendix.]
    Chairman GILMAN. Thank you. With regard to Vietnam, is the United States going to waive the freedom of immigration requirement of the Jackson-Vanik Amendment now that we've received a promise that the Vietnamese Government will give us better access to the settlement opportunities for Vietnamese returnee applicants? Or are we going to wait until these people have actually been allowed to leave the country?
    Ms. TAFT. Well, quite a large number of refugees and emigres have already left the country in the past several years. But let me say, yes, the President is going to waive the Jackson-Vanik and related provisions, and I assume that that will be soon, perhaps later this week. That does provide, however, for a full debate and review in June which I'm sure we will see you all actively participating in. We hope by then we will have many more numbers on the ROVR, cases that will actually have moved to the United States.
    Chairman GILMAN. Well, if we do waive Jackson-Vanik, what leverage are we going to have to make certain that the Vietnamese Government is not going to deny us access to some of the most compelling ROVR cases, as they've done in the case of the ODP program?
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    Ms. TAFT. All indications are that they are making every full-steam-ahead effort to let us have access to the ROVR cases and have been supportive of our process. I got these assurances personally last month. I have briefed the chairman and staff on this, and have met regularly with the Vietnamese embassy here, as well.
    You will have a full chance in June to reverse or deny the waiver but we really do believe that it's going in the right direction and there are many other issues of a bilateral nature that seem to indicate to the President and to the State Department that the timing was appropriate now to go forward with the waiver.
    Chairman GILMAN. We're still, many of us, concerned about the violation of human rights in Vietnam, and we hope that you'll convince the Administration to take a good, hard look at those violations. For example, oppression of religious minorities in Vietnam. I think they should be considered before we grant any waiver.
    Ms. TAFT. I think this is an ongoing issue that the United States has with a number of different countries, and all I can do is assure you that the Assistant Secretary for Democracy and Human Rights, John Shattuck, and I are really a focal point for pushing these issues, not only in Vietnam, but elsewhere.
    I think we've seen enough movement to give us the assurance in PRM that we did not want to block a waiver of Jackson-Vanik and therefore we agree with the President's decision. It hasn't come forward yet, but it is to be here——
    Chairman GILMAN. Does Secretary Shattuck agree with you?
    Ms. TAFT. Yes, sir.
    Chairman GILMAN. We'd welcome hearing more from your office with regard to why your appeal should go through.

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——The Administration believes that the Jackson-Vanik waiver will promote the objectives of the amendment by encouraging greater freedom of emigration from Vietnam.
——Vietnam's performance on emigration issues has improved considerably in recent years and we expect the waiver to further that trend.
——Vietnamese authorities have cooperated with the USG on the ODP, under which more than 480,000 Vietnamese have emigrated legally to the United States.
——While the processing of some Vietnamese has been hampered by corruption and administration burdens, Vietnam has been responsive to USG expressions of concern regarding the processing of ODP cases.
——A significant development reflecting progress toward freer emigration has been Vietnam's improved performance in implementing the ROVR program. Vietnam has eliminated the requirement for applicants to obtain exit permits prior to interview by the INS and agreed to expedite out-processing clearance procedures. The Vietnamese Government (SRV-Socialist Republic of Vietnam) has located, contacted, and cleared for interview some 14,196 of the nearly 18,300 persons eligible for consideration under the ROVR program. We expect to receive information about the remaining names on the U.S. list shortly.
——Of the total of 18,300, the SRV has told us that 3,003 people would not be cleared. During the last several weeks the SRV has provided us specific information concerning the reasons for non-clearance for 1,330 of these individuals. The majority of the names have not been cleared because of address problems. We are confident that we will be able to provide the SRV with new contact addresses.
——We are monitoring this program closely. When the Jackson-Vanik waiver comes up for renewal in June, we and the Congress will have an opportunity to review Vietnam's performance on migration and other issues.
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    Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, traveling from one former Soviet republic to another has become very difficult and very expensive, and yet we continue to require refugees to travel thousands of miles in Russia, across international frontiers, to the single refugee processing center at Moscow in order to apply for refugee settlement. And if they don't show up or if they don't make another trip to Moscow, when it's time to leave the country, they are counted as no-shows, and this is used as evidence that there are no longer any real refugees in the Republic.
    What about creating some other areas, aside from Moscow, with large populations of refugee applicants to ease that problem of transportation? Have you given some thought to that?
    Ms. TAFT. Yes, sir, we have, and we've looked at exactly how many applicants there are in which different parts of the former Soviet Union. We've got Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and nine other republics. It's not unlike the African situation where you have a lot of people, in a lot of different places.
    The question of circuit riders has been foremost in our minds. We are discussing this with INS. It is INS and their assets that have to agree to a more decentralized processing. We've been thinking it might be easier for us to pay the transportation from these outlying districts to Moscow. It would be cheaper to do that than to bring the INS and the medical clearance teams to nine or ten different locations.
    I'm going to be going in April to do similarly what I did in Vietnam. I'm going in April to both Kiev and Moscow with the same intent to find out: What is happening here? Why aren't people showing up? Why aren't people who show up actually agreeing finally to leave? What is the pipeline? What are the issues? And we will come back to you, hopefully, with a joint INS/PRM recommendation of how we should proceed.
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    One of the critical questions with the former Soviet caseload is whether or not they are actually notified well in advance for their interviews, and once given an opportunity to immigrate, whether they come or not. Some caseloads are 5 and 6 years old. I want to look at those, find out why these people aren't moving, and see if we can't review particular hardship cases.
    If you have thoughts about this, please let me know. We'll be glad to pursue any of the problems you see. We are working with HIAS and World Relief, who are the two big agencies that process out of Moscow, to see if they have ideas of things that we should track down. But I am interested in looking at the pipeline, the problem of the processing points, and to make sure that we make our system user-friendly to those people who want to come.
    Chairman GILMAN. Well, it would seem to me where we have such vast territory, such as Russia, Ukraine, other countries, that there ought to be some sort of even a mobile unit that makes visits to some of the distant parts, to make the transportation problem much more accessible.
    Ms. TAFT. And probably with the health component to it. I mean, part of the problem is having a viable health screening——
    Chairman GILMAN. You ought to have a whole team go out.
    Ms. TAFT. OK, we'll look at that.
    Chairman GILMAN. I thank you, Madam Secretary, for being here today, and your testimony, I'm sure, will be of great help to us.
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Mr. SMITH. Thank you, Mr. Gilman.
    I just have one final question, and would ask you to respond. Like most people who are pro-life, and that does include a majority in the House of Representatives, I do believe that abortion is the taking of a human life and is injurious to women, and that even in the case of a rape, there is a lost child, when the abortion is done, for that reason. But laying aside the rape question, which is what is often put forward by UNHCR and others to justify the dissemination of pills and manual aspiration devices, laying that aside, I am deeply concerned—and I know many of my colleagues are—that we do not have a commitment that the abortifacient pills will not be distributed in other cases. This presents a real possibility that the pills will be advertised as being just for rape victims, but distributed to women who, in the words of the 1995 UNHCR Working Group on Abortion, merely had ''unplanned'' or ''unprotected'' sex. I'm asking you because I do believe we need an assurance, and concrete assurance, that if UNHCR is going to put pills, abortifacients, into refugee camps, that they will absolutely forbid their distribution to unplanned or unprotected sexual situations, rather than just allowing them to go out and be used for those purposes.
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    I have the same concerns about the manual vacuum aspirators, which is really an abortion kit. I know they're advertised as being employed for incomplete abortions, but unless there's airtight monitoring and quality control, these devices are likely to be used to cause thousands and thousands of illegal abortions, when they're known to be in existence in a camp, unless there's absolute quality control, and they're used only for the incomplete abortions.
    So far, we get assurances, but then the language is less than satisfactory, that this will be the case. And, again, as I said before, this is the ultimate consensus-breaker. Life needs to be affirmed and protected to the maximum extent possible, from my point of view, and that applies to the unborn child, who is no less a victim of circumstances than someone who is being thrown out by a totalitarian regime.
    Ms. TAFT. And the mother who might die from——
    Mr. SMITH. And the mother—well, that's——
    Ms. TAFT. We do care about this, too.
    Mr. SMITH. Of course we do.
    Ms. TAFT. I wish I could say that, without any reservation, that there would be no misappropriation of ECPs anywhere in the world where there is any refugee in any camp. You've been to the refugee camps; you know you cannot make that——
    Mr. SMITH. But the guidance has to be absolutely clear.
    Ms. TAFT. Absolutely clear, that is correct, and I think that your concern has been extremely helpful, and I am being very honest in this, very helpful for you to raise concerns about the intent and the environment and the policies.
    I spent 3 hours yesterday with the UNHCR on this issue. I think they're probably also coming up to talk to you. We believe it is appropriate to use these for the sexual violence problems that occur in refugee camps—stop, full stop. And we believe that the UNHCR is going to—and it's appropriate for them—to follow the WHO rules on this, because the WHO is the agency that determines, through broad consultation, what the rules ought to be.
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    So right now WHO rules are that it's only to be used for rape, and if there is another draft coming out of this manual or this handbook, which we will welcome, they will welcome your input. I think the intent really is to make sure that women who are desperate, who have had self-induced abortions, who are bleeding, who are in very bad shape, they need as much health care as anybody else in the world, and if we can give it to them, we should.
    You already are familiar that the manual vacuum aspirators are not part of the WHO kit or the UNFPA kit. I think there are only two camps in the world that even have these facilities or this piece of equipment.
    What you have helped point out, and it is now in the draft that I have seen, and I'm very comfortable with it, is a recognition that the MVA must be used in safe conditions by a competent, skilled person; that it should not be used in a refugee setting if there is a local health clinic where these women should be referred to. All of the issues that you raised, I believe, are now fully adopted in the next draft version. I'd like you to take another look at it, when we see it, too, and make sure that that is the case.
    Mr. SMITH. The MVAs, according to your understanding, would only be used for an incomplete abortion?
    Ms. TAFT. I think it's only incomplete abortion or botched abortion. Now let me make sure. I'm pretty sure that's right.
    Again, while I look this up, let me make sure that you understand that we are not talking about providing abortions. We're trying to take care of the health consequences from botched abortions with the MVAs. This is important, just for the record: ''Neither WHO's emergency health kit or the optional supplemental reproductive health kit contain manual vacuum aspirators. Although MVAs can provide a lifesaving procedure for women suffering from miscarriages or from complications of an unsafe, self-induced abortion, to be safe and effective, its use requires competent, trained practitioners, hygienic conditions, which cannot be guaranteed in emergency refugee situations.'' In those cases, if there are local health care systems or clinics that can use this, that would be great.
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    We're talking about a lifesaving procedure for the woman here. My sense is that the concerns that you have expressed have been vetted internationally, locally, at the State Department, and here. We think you will be confident that the final version will be all right. So let's look at that version when it comes out. Let's sit down with you and others and make sure that the intent is on the sexual violence side of this. Again, you're right, it is a consensus-breaker, but I think there is a consensus that we are in the business of trying to save lives.
    Mr. SMITH. Just to be clear, the MVA is not being promoted or suggested for rape? Because it is a popular early abortion method, and it takes a perfectly healthy child.
    Ms. TAFT. I don't think it is. I'm pretty sure it's not.
    Mr. SMITH. OK, I appreciate that.
    Ms. TAFT. I would be stunned.
    Mr. SMITH. And the issue of the monitoring process, if we could make that part of the ongoing dialog. Because part of the concern is that an industry will develop where these things are known to be available, and they have a high efficacy rate of inducing abortion, obviously, that they very quickly could become a means by which irresponsible practitioners could set up illegal abortion——
    Ms. TAFT. OK, and we talked about this before, too, and we're exploring whether there's a chief medical officer in the camp that would have access to approving or signing out the MVAs. There are a variety of things that we're exploring right now.
    Let me just say, the difficulty that we collectively have had over the past decade of getting the humanitarian response system to pay attention to the particular needs of women has been very, very tough, but now successful. They're doing birthing kits and they're helping with midwifery, and they're doing a lot of things that are saving a lot of lives of women.
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    This one we will be able to work out with you to make sure that it's consistent. But, on the other hand, if it's going to save lives of women, we can't deny them the opportunity to have the proper health care, if we can help it.
    Mr. SMITH. Secretary Taft, I thank you on behalf of the Subcommittee for your testimony, your patience in allowing Mr. Gere to go in between your testimony——
    Ms. TAFT. What a treat.
    Mr. SMITH. I do look forward to working with you in the future, and congratulations on your post.
    Ms. TAFT. Thank you, and thank you again for this Committee. You all are really terrific to keep us pointing in the right direction, and your support is really important. Your ideas are welcome on the phone, in writing. We'll come up any time, but thank you, on behalf of the people we all try to serve.
    Mr. SMITH. Thank you for that open-door policy. We appreciate it.
    I'd like to invite our second panel up.
    Again, Secretary Taft, thank you.
    Ms. TAFT. Thank you.
    Mr. SMITH. I'd like to thank our second panel for their patience as well. I'd like to introduce each of our panelists in the order that I would ask them to testify.
    William Frelick is the senior policy analyst with the U.S. Committee for Refugees, where he's responsible for policy and research on Europe, North America, the Caribbean, and the Middle East. Mr. Frelick is also the editor of Refugee Reports, a monthly publication, and associate editor of the World Refugee Survey.
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    Mark Franken is the executive director of Migration and Refugee Services of the U.S. Catholic Conference. For 9 years prior to his appointment as executive director, Mr. Franken directed the Conference's national refugee resettlement programs, and before that, he served as coordinator for the Southeast Asian Refugee Program.
    Frederick Frank is chairman of the Public Social Policy Steering Committee for the CJF. In addition to serving as secretary of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, Mr. Frank is a founding partner and chief executive officer of a law firm in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
    Ralston Deffenbaugh, Jr., has served as executive director of the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services since 1991. Before that, he was the director of the Lutheran Office of World Community. Mr. Deffenbaugh, who earned his law degree from Harvard Law School, has also served as a constitutional advisor to the Namibian Lutheran Bishops.
    And, finally, Father Richard Ryscavage is the director of the Jesuit Refugee Service, and a member of the Society of Jesus. Previously, he headed the Immigration and Refugee Services at the U.S. Catholic Conference, and served as professor at Oxford University.
    Mr. Frelick, if you could begin.
    Mr. FRELICK. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I do have written testimony, which I'll be submitting to the record, and I'll just summarize the remarks here.
    Mr. SMITH. Without objection, so ordered.
    Mr. FRELICK. I want to make three points relating to the Fiscal Year 1999 budget request, having to do, first, with overseas assistance, then with the ERMA fund, and finally with refugee admissions.
    I want to draw your attention, first, with respect to overseas assistance, to the Fiscal Year 1999 request, which cuts $12.9 million to Europe. This is $32 million less than the 1997 level. We heard earlier today, Mr. Gilman, among others, speak about the need to stay engaged in Bosnia. Clearly, this sends a completely contradictory signal. It's a disconnect with everything else that we're trying to do in Bosnia.
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    It was based, I believe, on an overly optimistic projection in 1996 on the part of UNHCR that 1997 would be the year of return. It didn't happen. UNHCR will be very much involved in Bosnia through 1999. Our own troops will be there through 1999. This certainly is not the time to be cutting $12.9 million. We have 1.4 million refugees and displaced people who are still uprooted—these are the tough cases to return, to get back to their homes. They are minorities, for the most part. The easy returns have taken place.
    And now I want to turn attention to the chronic shortfalls by the humanitarian agencies. Ms. Taft alluded to this problem. Basically for UNRWA, UNHCR, and ICRC, their general program budgets, their basic budgets, are not being met. UNHCR had a $65-million shortfall last year.
    The United States has kept its contribution at 25 percent, and it would be great if other countries came through and contributed the other 75 percent. The fact of the matter is they haven't. And I think that, if needed, the United States must raise its percentage of the total contribution to as much as one-third. That is needed this year, Fiscal Year 1999, and we would suggest a $32-million increase to accommodate a one-third contribution on the part of the United States to UNHCR's general program budget.
    If this Committee authorizes at least $700 million, that would allow the appropriators to appropriate $44.9 million, which would account both for restoring the cut, $12.9 million, for Bosnia, as well as the $32 million for the general program account, and that's just for UNHCR, not even talking about UNRWA and ICRC at this point.
    Second, I'd like to draw your attention to the ERMA account, the Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance account, where we see a cut from $50 million last year to $20 million this year in the proposal from the Administration. Why? The reason is that the Department of State has not used this fund properly. Last year they made only two drawdowns during the entire course of the year. Currently, the State Department sits on $120 million as refugee needs go unmet. I believe this is a result of a narrow interpretation of the word ''emergency.'' If the emergency doesn't appear on CNN, apparently, the State Department doesn't feel that it merits funding.
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    On page 5 of my written testimony, I give specific unmet needs last year, including in Rwanda, the former Soviet Union, and elsewhere. I note that the special program request, not the general program, but the special program request for UNHCR last year had $62 million in shortfalls.
    And I particularly draw your attention to the problems in Bosnia, where mine clearance didn't happen. UNMAC wasn't even able to begin operations until August of that year. They had an original request for $62 million. Only $7 million was donated. And, of course, if you can't clear the mines in Bosnia, none of these people are going to be able to go home. All our other efforts are for naught.
    On page 6 of my written testimony, I talk about programs right now that are likely to end, some of them within days of this hearing, if urgent needs are not met. I give the dollar amounts, but they relate primarily to repatriation programs for Angola, Mali, Burma, Sri Lanka, and Afghanistan.
    We also make some suggestions for some noncountry-specific needs that could be met through the ERMA account, such as protection of refugee women, which we've heard some discussion of earlier today, and hiring and training of UNHCR protection officers.
    Finally, I want to draw your attention to the question of overseas refugee admissions. On page 7 of my testimony, I outline a pattern that has occurred between 1992 and 1997. What we see in each of these years is a failure to meet the refugee ceiling, and in the following year a lowering of that ceiling, usually pegged to the actual numbers of admissions the previous year. This creates a downward spiral.
    It is matched by a pattern on the part of UNHCR, where UNHCR is offered fewer resettlement places by the United States and other countries, and in the next round it makes fewer requests. Again, it has nothing to do with the refugee needs, as far as we're concerned. And I can substantiate that, and I do on page 7 of my written testimony, by citing a recent UNHCR report out of their Baghdad office, which said that they dropped their refugee referrals from 2,000 to 300 based on funding shortages, not based on the need; based on funding shortages.
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    I don't have time to go into great detail on the specific regional areas that I do cover in my written testimony. Pages 8 through 11 cover resettlement needs in the Near East and South Asia. Let me simply say here, most of these populations that I've identified have been completely overlooked by the State Department. The problem in this region is one that I would call the resettlement/protection quid pro quo. Basically, if you don't have a resettlement offer, you're not even going to have temporary protection in this region.
    And on page 8 of my testimony, I actually cite a Turkish Government regulation, their refugee regulation, which explicitly states that, if refugees are not resettled outside of the region to third countries, Turkey will return them to their home countries.
    The consequence of this, I believe, is that the UNHCR office in Ankara creates a particularly high standard for adjudicating refugee claims in order to keep the number of eligible people artificially low. The approval rate for Iraqis in Turkey is only 36 percent, which is extremely low. Even more distressing to me is that, from that 36 percent, those who are referred to the U.S. program have a less than 30-percent approval rate by the INS.
    Finally, I want to draw your attention to resettlement needs in Bosnia. I had the privilege of testifying before this Subcommittee in September 1995, at which time I recommended the creation of a P–2 category to expedite the resettlement of traumatized torture victims, of former prisoners, for people in ethnically mixed marriages who would not be able to return. We were successful in that effort, and I congratulate you for your support.
    The P–2 category was established. It's been very successful. INS approval rates of P–2s have been at 96 percent. But now, in a sense, we've become a victim of our own success. In the first quarter of this Fiscal Year, we've essentially met the entire Fiscal Year 1998 ceiling for Bosnia in terms of cases that have already been admitted to the United States or that are INS-approved. We now have a growing backlog of cases that are awaiting interviews. What this clearly indicates is that the need far exceeds the available numbers.
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    So what is the response of the State Department? Does it call for additional numbers? No. The response is, in recent discussions, to float an idea—and I will reiterate that this is an idea; it's a proposal; it's not set in stone yet—of creating a cutoff date for eligibility for this very important P–2 category. In other words, limit the pool of eligible candidates. Make it appear that there are fewer applicants, and make the needs appear to be less than they really are.
    To conclude, I want to just drum in the notion of a downward spiral: The Department of State doesn't meet refugee resettlement ceilings; the result is lowered ceilings for the following year. The resettlement countries, including the United States, offer fewer places to UNHCR. The result is that UNHCR lowers its requests. The Department of State doesn't spend ERMA money, leaving $120 million currently unspent in the account; the result is that the fund is not replenished at previous levels. UNHCR budgets are chronically underfunded. The result is that they make lower budget requests the following year.
    None of this reflects the reality of refugee need. It reflects passivity, inertia, and overly narrow interpretations on the part of the Department of State regarding its role in refugee resettlement and funding for essential protection and assistance programs abroad.
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    [The prepared statement of Mr. Frelick appears in the appendix.]
    Mr. SMITH. Mr. Frelick, thank you very much for your testimony.
    Mr. Franken.
    Mr. FRANKEN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you and your Subcommittee for the leadership you've shown in this important field.
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    The organization I represent is the bishop's public policy arm in the United States at the national level, and our faith belief, like all of the faiths of the world, suggests that we have a special responsibility for the refugees of the world. And so the bishops appreciate this opportunity to lend some voice to the voiceless.
    Our testimony that's been submitted for the record goes into more detail on a number of things, but let me highlight several.
    One is the area of protection and relief, which has been talked about today quite a bit; there are several things I'd like to mention. First, Mr. Gilman brought up the issue of the Jackson-Vanik waiver. The bishops, who have under normal circumstances put a lot of weight into government-to-government and people-to-people relationships, on the question of this waiver at this time in Vietnam question the prudence of lifting this. This is during an end game in Southeast Asia. It's got a time limit. Why must we lift that waiver at this time? It remains one of our few remaining leverages in our negotiating freedom of movement for people in Vietnam.
    The second protection and relief question is the funding that's been raised, and the bishops endorse the increase in appropriations and authorization, and we're, frankly, dismayed at the Administration's budget request.
    The third part of protection and relief I'd like to raise has to do with the regime of finding durable solutions. The bishops have long endorsed the regime that says that those refugees who can return to their countries, when circumstances allow them to do so securely, is an appropriate, preferred solution; no question about that. Secondarily, if that's not possible, resettlement in place, where there's a familiarity with the culture and language, and so forth—obvious priorities.
    But on the question of resettlement, the regime has in recent years—Bill talked about the spiral; this is inherent in the international approach to finding durable solution, and resettlement is just not receiving the attention that it needs. And one glaring example: the UNHCR itself estimates that there are 1 million unaccompanied refugee minors in the world, children who are not with their parents and guardians, 1 million. In all of last year, the U.S. Government admitted one unaccompanied refugee minor. Something is wrong when that happens.
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    On the question of refugee admissions, a couple of points: the bishops endorse the proposal from the InterAction for 104,000 admissions. This is a much more appropriate level of admissions, when we look at the world situation today. It's far greater than what the Administration has proposed.
    Part of our rationale is that there is much to be done yet in Southeast Asia. We cannot walk away. We're close to the end of resolving that situation, but it's premature to walk away at this point. Our testimony speaks to specific groups that were of concern there.
    The other area I want to raise has to do with resettlement. Once those few fortunate refugees that are admitted to the United States arrive here, I think it would be important for this Subcommittee to know that there are thousands and thousands of volunteers, people in parishes and congregations around the country who have their arms open to welcome refugees. This is a commitment that the U.S. people are prepared to make, and continue to make.
    Through the private sector, there are millions of dollars generated toward providing resettlement opportunities for refugees, and it goes to supplement the resources of the U.S. Government. For those who might say there is compassion fatigue, it certainly does not exist in our experience when it comes to opening our doors to refugees and providing for their care. We can document for the Committee offers of sponsorship that exceed the number of refugees that are being admitted.
    And, finally, I would point out——
    Mr. SMITH. Mr. Franken, if you could provide some of that for the record, that would be helpful.
    Mr. FRANKEN. We'll do that.
    Mr. SMITH. It would be used particularly when we get into some floor debate.
    Mr. FRANKEN. We can have them coming to your office as well.
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    [The information referred to appears in the appendix.]
    Mr. FRANKEN. Finally, I would just say that our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II has been rather eloquent in his call for the international community to bring to bear its resources and compassion, to give hope to refugees. It seems to us that this Subcommittee, under your leadership, is a ray of hope for the refugees around the world. We very much need your leadership in this.
    Thank you.
    [The prepared statement of Mr. Franken appears in the appendix.]
    Mr. SMITH. Thank you very much, Mr. Franken.
    Mr. Frank.
    Mr. FRANK. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to note that, while I am here representing the CJF, my formal testimony is being submitted on behalf of both CJF and the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS). And the final version that we have submitted notes that.
    Mr. Chairman, I want to thank you and your colleagues on the Subcommittee for your continuing leadership on refugee issues and your commitment to the protection and resettlement of refugee populations around the world.
    The CJF is the national organization representing nearly 200 local Jewish federations in North America, as well as more than 1,000 Federal affiliated agencies providing services to families, children, the elderly, and others in need. HIAS is the international migration society of the American Jewish community, which since its founding in 1880 has assisted in the resettlement of more than 4 million Jewish and non-Jewish refugees from all over the world.
    The rescue and resettlement of Jewish refugees has been, and continues to be, one of the basic missions of our system. The Federation's and HIAS network has resettled approximately 300,000 Jews from the former Soviet Union since 1988, in addition to Iranian Jews, Eastern Europeans, Bosnians, and others.
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    My testimony today, which is a summary of my formal statement, will focus on several areas: overall U.S. refugee admissions, appropriations, and our specific programmatic concerns about the refugee program in the former Soviet Union.
    CJF and HIAS are deeply grateful for the leadership the United States has provided in refugee affairs over the years. We believe that our government must constantly renew its commitment to protecting and resettling persecuted peoples and to providing leadership by example to other countries of first asylum and permanent resettlement.
    Congress' role in the consultation process with the Administration is critical. It is our hope that you will advocate to the President the imperative to set more generous admission targets. Over the past several years, we have been disturbed at the rapid decline in the number of refugees permitted to resettle in this country, especially given the worldwide increase in refugees we've heard about this morning.
    In Fiscal Year 1992, the admission ceiling was 142,000 individuals. In Fiscal Year 1998, the admission ceiling is 83,000, but only 75,000 are funded. As you, Mr. Chairman, and your colleagues recently wrote in a letter to President Clinton, the cuts in refugee numbers during the last several years are justified neither by reduction in the number of refugees in need of assistance, nor by an absence of congressional support for traditional levels of refugee admissions. We echo this sentiment, and sincerely hope that the Subcommittee will strongly support increased admissions.
    As a member of InterAction, a coalition of nongovernmental organizations serving refugees around the world, CJF and HIAS have endorsed InterAction's recommendation for Fiscal Year 1999 refugee admissions of 104,000.
    Letters and statements affirming a commitment to the refugee program are necessary, but not enough. Sufficient funds must be available to conduct properly both the overseas protection functions of the program and migration and resettlement. The clearest statement our government can make is to include in the budget, in the appropriations bills, the resources necessary to provide humanitarian assistance to refugees overseas, assist the migration of those who will be resettled in the United States, and provide sufficient resettlement assistance to allow newly arrived refugees time to seek employment and to learn a new culture.
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    The process of setting dollar allocations before determinations have been made of how many refugees to admit is in reverse order and impedes our country's ability to address new crises and respond to new refugee populations when necessary. It must be the admission numbers that determine the dollars and not the dollars that determine the numbers.
    While there is an emergency account at the State Department for use in situations that were unforeseen during the budget process, there is no comparable account at the Office of Refugee Resettlement. This means that funds would be available to provide overseas assistance for refugees, but not to aid in their resettlement once they arrive. CJF and HIAS believe that an emergency resettlement fund should be established that operates on the same principles as the State Department emergency fund.
    While refugees who come to this country are eager to become self-sufficient, they need time to recover from the traumas of their experiences and to acclimate. The Refugee Act of 1990 provided for up to 36 months of refugee cash and medical assistance for those refugees who are not eligible for other Federal support programs. Today, the appropriation provides only 8 months of assistance. CJF and HIAS believe that funding should be restored to the budget to provide up to 12 months of assistance.
    I will now address our specific concerns regarding programs in the former Soviet Union. Mr. Chairman, at a hearing this Subcommittee held 2 years ago, you noted, ''The situation of Jews in the former Soviet Union is particularly important, not only because the struggle for freedom of Soviet Jews was among the finest hours of the American people, but because also the story could end badly.''
    Unfortunately, your comments were prescient. The situation for many Jews in the successor States of the Soviet Union is as perilous, if not more so, today as it was under communism. Although anti-semitism is no longer an official State-sponsored policy in most successor States, many private groups have taken up the cause. Today, eight groups are permitted to flourish publicly. As a result, the safety of Jews and other religious minorities, such as evangelical Christians, is in jeopardy.
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    Acts of violence against Jews are commonplace. Prosecution of the perpetrators is almost never pursued. Political instability and economic uncertainty, the historic bedrock on which anti-semitism grows, are creating tense and dangerous environments for Jews and other religious minorities.
    All this is not to say that there are not positive signs in the former Soviet Union. Some synagogues have been returned to the Jewish community, and new Jewish schools function openly. These developments provide a reason to hope that if the situation stabilizes, we may be able to reassess our need. For now, these are uncertain times in the region. The path of freedom and tolerance is far from assured.
    For all these reasons, CJF and HIAS are firmly convinced that we must remain committed to assisting those in the former Soviet Union who wish to reunite with family members in the United States. The Lautenberg amendment has offered an effective and efficient solution to a difficult problem—how to factor into adjudications for refugee status the historic persecution of certain groups. We still consider it to be a vital tool in rescuing people at risk in a destabilized environment that places them in jeopardy.
    The need to extend Lautenberg is assessed annually by the Jewish community as we approach a new Fiscal Year. We are not saying when the conditions will improve sufficiently to obviate the need for Lautenberg. We look forward with you to ensure that vulnerable populations covered by the Lautenberg amendment will receive protection for at least another year.
    Of immediate concern is for the first time in a decade the Congressional Budget Office has scored the Lautenberg amendment. CJF and HIAS strongly believe that CBO's initial decision not to score the amendment was the correct one, since the Lautenberg amendment is not directly related to admission numbers, but only deals with who is eligible to receive refugee visas as they are available. I would like to submit for the record, and I will give to your staff, a copy of the legal brief prepared by the firm of Morgan, Lewis and Bakke on this issue.
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    The breakup of the Soviet Union has created serious difficulties for people applying for U.S. refugee status—some of the issues that Congressman Gilman addressed with the Secretary, and I would like to address these briefly. There are two sets of problems.
    The first are those problems that result from having 15 countries now with 15 bureaucracies, borders, transportation systems, and rules for leaving or entering each country. The cost of travel is now so high that families from the Caucuses in Central Asia may have to spend a year's salary to get to Moscow for their interview and another year's salary to return for their departure to the United States.
    The second problem is as noted in the colloquy earlier this morning. It's that the U.S. Government has not made the necessary adjustments to deal with this situation. For several years, we have been asking for INS circuit riders to conduct interviews in Central Asia and the Ukraine. At the very least, everyone does not need to have to travel to Moscow. INS has responded to the need for circuit riders in other countries, but so far there are none in the former Soviet Union, the land mass that, I would note, covers 11 time zones.
    In addition, we have requested alternative departure points to ease immigration and costs thereof. After several years of delay, there are now flights scheduled out of Kiev for the Jews and evangelicals leaving the Ukraine. Unfortunately, Kiev is even less convenient than Moscow for those coming from other distant States. HIAS and CJF continue to discuss these issues with the State Department and the INS, and would welcome your suggestions in achieving solutions.
    Again, Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, we thank you for this opportunity to present our views on these important issues.
    [The prepared statement of Mr. Frank appears in the appendix.]
    Mr. SMITH. Thank you very much, Mr. Frank.
    Mr. Deffenbaugh.
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    Mr. DEFFENBAUGH. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Before beginning, I want to express my own personal pride in your leadership as a resident of New Jersey, myself, and also that of my own Congressman, Mr. Payne. Thank you for what the Subcommittee is doing and for your championship of refugees.
    With your permission, I'd like to submit the written statement for the record——
    Mr. SMITH. Yes, without objection, all the written statements will be made a part of the record.
    Mr. DEFFENBAUGH. Very good.
    Just a few quick points then, given the late time. First, thanks also for the letters you've written, for the leadership from the Congress, now both in the House and the Senate, to reaffirm the commitment to refugee resettlement. We, of course, join in the InterAction consensus that we should have refugee resettlement now for the United States in the 100,000 range, not in the range to which it's declined in the last few years.
    Also, I think it's important to note what a successful program that has been. Not only has it provided rescue for so many hundreds of thousands of refugees over these years, it's also demonstrated this tremendous public/private partnership which Mark Franken referred to, the private donations and resources which have come in the way that so many refugees have been welcomed into American communities, and it has strengthened them. And it's also made a significant contribution to our economy. The State Department has given good leadership in stressing early employment as a key for successful resettlement, and through that standard-setting and the work of the voluntary agencies, at least for LIRS now, our employment statistics for refugees arriving, after 6 months in the United States, is that 92 percent are employed of the free-case refugees. I think that's a pretty good record, both for the quality of the program and also for the desire of the refugees to make a new life and make their own contribution to this society.
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    I've been asked to reflect particularly on the applicant situation. It's been mentioned before about how surprising it is that African refugee admissions are so low, given the needs in Africa and the total refugee numbers. We agree that the numbers for the coming Fiscal Year for Africa should be at least 15,000, not the 7,000 that has been suggested by the Administration. And, yet, as has been said, we're unlikely even to reach the 7,000 level because of the processing difficulties.
    We would recommend a few steps to be taken to try to change that. First would be for the State Department to do what I think Julia Taft is already beginning to do, is just to take a fresh look at African admissions, to be more assertive, more creative, and more compassionate in looking at African refugees.
    By way of example, I want to say what a distressing event it was when the Department cut out P–3 processing for Liberians at the end of 1997. Now this sounds very technical. What does that mean, to cut off P–3 processing for Liberians? Well, that means that the United States said that no longer could the refugees' spouses or unmarried sons or daughters or parents come into the United States as refugees. Rather, they would be put in the line for immigration admission, which, as we all know, can take years and years and years. This, in effect, has served not only to cut back on the number of African refugees admitted to the United States, but also to, we think, needlessly, and even cruelly, separate families. Among the most compelling cases in our caseload have been unaccompanied refugee children who are either in the United States and not been allowed to have their parents join them or the parents of unaccompanied children who are not able to get their kids out of camps in West Africa.
    The second step would be to expand the use of UNHCR referrals by stressing the second part of the priority one, which is embassy referrals. It's been said before how few embassy referrals there have been. We have proposed that directives be given so that all the embassies take advantage of this power they have to make embassy referrals and to use that in a creative way to have more African refugee admissions.
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    Another step would be, in regard to the priority two, which is special groups, to begin identifying some of the special groups. We were pleased to see the Department begin to identify the Hutu Tutsis mixed marriages in Tanzania. We'd like to see similar vulnerable mixed marriage groups from other camps and other situations. We would suggest that other concern be given to refugees from the Sudan, particularly the Christians fleeing the civil war there; to Algerians; to Ogonis from Nigeria, and to urban refugees, people who may have sought refuge in a given refuge in another country, but who are unable to get a job or unable to make a new life in that country.
    As far as processing is concerned, we'd like to see the State Department have more processing posts in Africa. We're pleased with the new post being set up in Dakar, but Africa is still far larger than the United States. From here to Nairobi, Dakar's about halfway, and it's important that we think about other processing posts in Africa.
    Also, we'd like to have more thought given again to the old idea of the Attorney General granting State Department consular officers permission to grant refugee status to refugees in particular circumstances, so as to alleviate the need for circuit rides of INS people, to speed up the processing of vulnerable refugees, particularly when the numbers are not so great.
    So, in conclusion, we would say that we think the United States has had a strong refugee program. It's given new hope and new life to many hundreds of thousands over the years, but African refugees, in particular, have been shortchanged in this program, and we think the United States can, and should, offer refuge to more.
    Thank you.
    [The prepared statement of Mr. Deffenbaugh appears in the appendix.]
    Mr. SMITH. Mr. Deffenbaugh, thank you very much for your testimony.
    Father Ryscavage.
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    Father RYSCAVAGE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    My testimony is based on the information I received from our field workers, who work in about 35 different countries worldwide; the analysis is my own, but the information I'm gathering is through them. And what I learned from the field workers is basically this is no time to be cutting either their admissions, resettlement, or refugee protection funds.
    Those needs are focused not so much on large concentrated populations as we have dealt with in the past, but are much more diffuse today. It's one of the reasons why the State Department has such trouble finding refugees is because they are more diversified than they used to be, and I think the structures need to be more supple and diversified in order to respond to these kinds of needs.
    I welcome Julia Taft's statement that she was going to initiate a more comprehensive look at the whole program, because I think, as most of us here would agree, that program generally has become frozen, highly passive, and very reactive.
    You already noted that I do not make a sharp distinction between internally displaced and refugees. I think I'm just really not just reacting to our field workers and their impression, but also more theoretically to what's happening in the world right now, and the fact that structures need to reflect the realities. The needs are not being met because the structures are set up, and Julia Taft confirmed that with me just now when she said she agreed, but notice how she said the structure of AID, the problem of IDPs are with AID, and, of course, her department is not mandated to deal with that problem. I think it's overcome-able, but I think there is some real work that has to be done on this sort of problem.
    One of the new realities facing the refugees in the international community, it seems to me, is this whole idea of containing the refugees in the countries of origin, in the regions of origin. We in the United States are to blame for setting up this model, because I think it basically started in the Haitian boat crisis, and now we see it replicated all over the world, the creating of these crazy safe haven situations and repatriation, when in fact it's not appropriate, and doing everything possible to keep the refugees where they are.
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    Pressures are going to build up on this kind of population, especially when it's approached this way globally, and I think we are already seeing that pressure building. Third country resettlement is really one of the very few tools that are left to deflate some of that pressure. So the more resettlement declines, in a sense, the more pressures you're going to see rising in the countries around the world, in many, many countries.
    I give you in my testimony a sample of places where our field workers are working and the problems they're seeing. You'll notice that many of them are not the kind of countries where you might find the State Department talking about in its refugee reports. I think it's important to remember these kinds of forgotten corners. I notice that we spent a lot of time today hearing wonderful and very moving statements about Tibetans in Nepal, but in southeastern Nepal you also have 90,000 Bhutanese refugees with their own problems, and that is severely underfunded right now, to the extent that all people are thinking perhaps what's going on there is a preparation for forced repatriation—that they're cutting back educational services and other things in order to sort of lay the groundwork for making people go back.
    We have the Burmese students in Thailand and the Burmese border issues, which I know you're familiar with. I just returned a few months ago from Colombia. The situation with the internally displaced is the biggest problem in the hemisphere, as far as migration goes, and I think that neither the U.S. Government nor the UNHCR is doing much in this area. I think they may want to, but they seem to have some problems dealing with it.
    The Great Lakes section, of course, I don't have to say too much about that. I think of it as a world of fragility, what's going on in there, and the need for more attention, even more attention now.
    Mexico, even as it solves some of the Guatemalan issues, is starting to show signs of a new internally displaced problem in the southern regions.
    And the Afghans in Pakistan and the Women's Commission on Refugee Women and Children have asked me specifically to bring to your attention the fact that there are many women hidden in Pakistan who are simply deprived of their rights, and they need to get out. We need to get them out in a resettlement program. It's very difficult, and I think we need to target it. They actually have people now trapped in Kabal itself; they're trying to figure out a way to exercise protection functions in these countries.
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    Sri Lanka is another area—we're very concerned about the refugees in the Tamil Nadu State in southern India, as well as the inability of the Sri Lankans to get out of the country.
    And Angola is a good example of this whole notion that, well, repatriation, you send them back; everything's going to be fine. I mean, it's a very, very fragile situation and could be disrupted very quickly.
    Finally, I just want to make a couple of remarks. All the countries we are talking about today, or many of the countries, have elements of religious persecution, and many of them we haven't talked about. I just want to thank the Committee, House of Representatives, for putting some pressure on, because for years, frankly, I've been bringing cases of religious persecution to the State Department, and they basically blew me off. It's only recently—I just brought a case in Vietnam and one of our priests, and within 24 hours I had four calls from the State Department. That's a great sign of progress, and I think the House of Representatives should be congratulated for some of that pressure.
    I think the U.S. Government is very slow to understand the effect of globalization on refugee flows and migration. I note in my paper the economic turndown in Asia and how that's going to affect the refugees as such.
    But the other issue I'd like to bring to your attention is—and I'll conclude with this—what's happening in one country and how it can have an effect on what's happening in New Jersey. The civil war in Sierra Leone has sent many citizens of that country running for protection, and more recently, the Nigeria armed forces have taken power in the main countries, generating a new flow of refugees. One of them, a 17-year-old girl found her way, unaccompanied, to the United States, where she was put in detention, and has been held there for months while her asylum application is studied. Of course, one of the largest detention facilities is in Elizabeth, New Jersey.
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    My point, Mr. Chairman, is if the channels for normal third country resettlement are not kept open and fully available to girls like this one from Sierra Leone, some of them are going to find their way into our country anyway, and instead of setting up elaborate and expensive systems for trapping them at Newark Airport, the U.S. Government should make more resettlement slots and the process easier through the State Department for resettlement in a third country.
    And this disconnect, which Julia Taft also mentioned, between the INS enforcing our borders and its screening procedures, and the State Department's ever-more-precise search for specialized groups that qualify for entry into the United States is a very serious problem and should be addressed.
    Thank you.
    [The prepared statement of Father Ryscavage appears in the appendix.]
    Mr. SMITH. Thank you very much, Father Ryscavage. Thank you to all of you for your very fine testimony.
    I just have a couple of questions, and you, I think, all heard when Secretary Taft talked about looking at next year's budget. My hope is—and I know some of her staff are still in the room—that given the compelling nature of the crisis that we have, and it is a crisis—I wish every country had a Richard Gere to bring the kind of light and scrutiny that he brings to the Tibetans who are in India, Nepal, and to the general issue of Tibet. But, as he pointed out himself, he also speaks out strongly for all refugees, which you do, and do so 365 days a year.
    I do believe the Secretary has an open-door policy. She's been very open with me—we've had a good dialog since she's gotten that job. I don't believe the horse is out of the barn for Fiscal Year 1999, and my hope is that if all of us make a concerted effort, my hope is that she will, and her shop will, mount an effort to turn this ship around, because it is going in the right direction.
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    I don't have to tell you that there are pressures, anti-immigration pressures, that are brought to bear on Congress. I'll never forget when we were discussing the State Department bill, which has $704 million in there for refugee protection, there was one amendment after another after another that was going to be proposed. Even when I offered the amendment to expand Radio Free Asia, I had to fight off a number of efforts by good friends who said, let's pay for it out of the increase, the spread, if you will, between the $650 million and the $704 million. We finally got that money as new money, because there were unobligated funds that we could draw from, but it was amazing how that was seen as this honey pot that everyone could go to and draw down from for their favorite program. They even tried to do it on Radio Free Asia. Thankfully, it was my amendment, and we stopped it.
    But the point is we need the Administration—and I do believe Julia Taft will listen to the responsible voices that are in this room. It's bipartisan; I know Tom Lantos agrees, and I know there are others on the Senate side who will fight for this as well, to really make a concerted effort this year right now, and use this as a springboard to do what you're already doing, but do it with even more gusto, to make sure that they realize that we've got to get the number up; we've got to get the admissions up, the refugee resettlement issue.
    How do you respond—because we're going to hear this—to the whole issue that if resettlement opportunities are made known, it will create a refugee ''magnet''? We heard this even with the Great Lakes region, when I raised the question repeatedly in hearings: Why aren't those people being given any other opportunity but to go back to a situation they already know is fraught with danger? And yet, we heard back: Magnet, magnet, magnet. This is just going to create a magnet.
    This happened even a couple of years ago. Mr. Franken, you pointed out in your testimony that ROVR perhaps had part of its genesis in what we tried to do in the Subcommittee and on the floor to prevent the CPA from sending people back, as they closed out that program, who were true refugees. Not only did I personally get lampooned as a magnet guy, they were blaming me for the extraction rate and the ensuing violence, with heavily armed Hong Kong soldiers who were marching into these camps, grabbing people by the neck or worse, and throwing them on and calling it ''voluntary repatriation,'' which was an insult. And it was all supposedly my fault. And I actually went over there and confronted some of those folks and said, ''We just want justice here.''
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    But what about the point about the magnet, because they were claiming in press stories that this is just one big magnet. If you could all respond to that, because we're going to have to overcome that hurdle.
    Father RYSCAVAGE. My answer to magnet is, first, I think test and see. I mean, they're very good at setting up structures that they can evaluate and decide—if it's becoming a magnet, then stop it. I mean, I'd rather see them try out some things rather than sit there and say, well, nobody's coming to us. I mean, I really think that's much exaggerated. Most of my field people, when you ask them about it, say, they don't want to come to the United States if they don't have to, and there's a self-selection process that goes on.
    Mr. DEFFENBAUGH. I would say it's a very different situation now from that in Southeast Asia, where there was at one point a guaranteed resettlement for anyone who could get out of Vietnam. So a lot of people thought, well, if I want to go to the United States, this is the way to go. But that's not the way that refugee screening is done in other parts of the world. My observation has been that this fear of a magnet effect is very much exaggerated. I don't think it's reasonable to think about starting up a resettlement program in the immediate emergency of the big refugee flow when it's first starting, but after things settle out a little bit, you begin to see that there are people who aren't able to go back home, or that in order to preserve first asylum in a particular country, you need to take some of the pressure off and have some resettlement, and then you can begin starting a program in that way. I don't think that it's going to create a huge magnet.
    Mr. FRANK. Mr. Chairman, as I stated, we strongly support the increased funding for the State Department. I just wanted to perhaps comment very briefly on one of the points that you talked about, which is the anti-immigration attitude that you encountered when you raised this issue. CJF and HIAS have been working very hard against these types of attitudes, and I think it's important that we always remember in this country all of us are immigrants, except for the Native Americans. It's just a question of when we came here. And the same issues that within the Jewish community brought people here in 1640 from Spain are the same issues that brought people here in 1910 from Russia, and in 1930 from Germany. The problem is that people don't leave because they simply want to. They're facing religious persecution. They're facing political persecution. If this country has any mission, it's to keep the doors open. We strongly support that. The magnet concept is one I find hard to believe. I think people come because they're in need.
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    On the issue of repatriation, I would just say very generally this always has a very cold sound to the Jewish community because there was indirect and de facto repatriation of the St. Louis, you'll recall, and other instances like this when there was no place for the German Jews to go to. So I think it's better that the doors are open and let the people decide for themselves. That's what we believe.
    Mr. FRELICK. Well, in the Middle East the resettlement program is so minuscule that I have trouble even conceptualizing the possibility of a magnet. No one would flee Iran or Iraq and go through the border to Turkey with the idea they would be resettled to the United States because it would be such a remote possibility that they would ever reach the United States. It's sort of like asking the question of the Tibetan that just gets across the mountain, ''Do you want to go to the United States?''—I mean, getting to the United States is just not part of the thinking at all. These are people that are taking great risks to flee because the persecution is real, and first asylum is absolutely fragile in that region.
    If I could take a moment to talk about the magnet argument with respect to Bosnians, because there it really is used. This proposal that the State Department is floating around right now to create a cutoff date for P–2, that is the magnet argument. Essentially, what they're saying by establishing a cutoff date is: you're a refugee if you arrive prior to this date; you could be fleeing the same persecution, but if you arrive after this date, we no longer consider you to be a refugee.
    The argument is made that there would be no new arrivals coming into Germany, attracted by the possibility of being resettled to the United States. There's no evidence to support that whatsoever. The State Department hasn't provided any evidence of that. And yet, they're already proposing this P–2 cutoff date because they simply have more numbers of eligible refugees than they know what to do with. They don't have the resettlement numbers available. So they're trying to limit eligibility, and a cutoff date is sort of a knee-jerk reaction for doing that.
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    Mr. SMITH. Thank you very much.
    Let me ask about a religious freedom issue, and provision of refugee status for those who are fleeing persecution based on religion. Father Ryscavage, you mentioned that for one of the priests in Vietnam you have gotten the attention of and call-backs from the State Department. As you know, there is legislation pending—we've already marked it up in our Subcommittee—which would be a very broad, but a very well, I think, calibrated response to the rising tide of anti-semitism, anti-Christianity, the problems we find with the Buddhists. It applies to all religions. But there seems to be, based on my experience and the experience of many of us who will follow this, historically a lack of sensitivity for many people who make these cases that they are being religiously persecuted.
    I'll never forget when Ceaucescu was ruling in Romania. Frank Wolf and I made some five trips there and met with pastors whose churches were literally bulldozed—Father Calcheau, Mooney Coccar, all these people who were in prison for their faith really made it onto the screen when it came to interest in terms of asylum or refugee status. Our bill, the bill that we're moving, would try to rectify that with adequate training.
    But what is your view? Is the State Department and the whole refugee response by our government adequate? Like in the Sudan, where there is a real problem, particularly with the Catholics and Animists in the south of Sudan and repression. Are we being aggressive enough in trying to find these people to provide them refugee status, or are we just in a transition and we're not there yet?
    Father RYSCAVAGE. One thing that I think is missing, I think the question for my mind is, can the State Department sustain this interest in religious persecution? I mean, it's all right because they're responding now to highly controversial sorts of issues, and I know they're on the spot, Madeleine Albright has herself stated. But is that sustainable? One of the things I think that needs to get involved is a training process, so that both INS and these others deal at the embassy level and other places and are aware of this importance. Most diplomats confuse freedom of worship with freedom of religion, and this is an important thing. They think because people can go into a church or something and say mass that somehow there's freedom of religion in that country, and that there's no religious persecution, and it simply isn't true.
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    Mr. SMITH. Mr. Franken.
    Mr. FRANKEN. I was going to mention specifically about the bill that you reference, the asylum provisions of that particular proposal are necessitated because of immigration reform that occurred in 1996, and really took away some important safeguards for all categories of refugees and refuge-seekers. So, from that standpoint, this bill is an important initiative. We would like, frankly, to see it go further, but had it not been for some reforms in 1996 that brought about this new way of restricting one's pursuit of asylum in this country, this bill wouldn't be necessary, that particular dimension of the bill.
    There's also some alarming discussion about ensuring that the overseas State Department perspective on who's a refugee and who's eligible gets closer tied with the domestic asylum provision, because we see that the asylum provision is becoming much more restrictive, even more so than they are overseas.
    Mr. FRANK. Although we can't take any position on the legislation as a whole, we support the refugee provisions of the bill, and we do feel that the State Department needs to be aggressive in helping refugees wherever there is religious persecution, and I would just like to echo what Father Ryscavage said a minute ago. I'm concerned that, particularly in the Soviet Union, with their lassitude and the fact that there aren't people literally being killed in the streets, as there were, for example, in 1910, as I cited. But the fact of the matter is that there is still virulent anti-semitism and the persecution of other religions there. I think while we have a window of opportunity here, which we did not have in the early eighties when no one was allowed out, this is the time when we must be aggressive in making provisions for those who want to leave, and not making a bureaucratic nightmare and a cost nightmare for them to get out, as we addressed earlier.
    Mr. REES. I'd like to ask a question that sort of elaborates on the chairman's question. I've been thinking a lot about this question of why religious persecution should have been subordinated, should have been treated as kind of an inferior sort of claim. You can posit some sociological explanations about, for instance, in this country anti-Christianity being the anti-semitism of the intellectuals, but I don't really think that's it as much as the fact that there is resistance, both in the State Department and in INS, to types of refugee claims that are going to, once you've admitted one, you might have 100,000 just like it; that there really is a model still in some of the adjudication—the people whose job is to adjudicate—that refugee protection is for about 17 or 18 people. You know, the minority, the leader of the opposition who flees one step ahead of the Alto Golpe and the—I don't know how ballerinas qualify, but they were always sort of a paradigm.
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    The problem is that we started getting in the eighties and in the nineties a whole lot of identical-looking refugees or asylum-seekers coming in boats, and so there's a tendency to say, well, this can't be right; this wasn't what we had in mind, and then reason from there to how you're going to exclude it.
    The problem is that that's not what the five grounds say. The five grounds are our law, and they're the international law, and they don't talk just about a few isolated cases. If you look at the five grounds, three or four of them are, indeed, grounds that apply to lots and lots of people. And if you look at the history of the refugee statutes and of the covenant and the protocol, they were to try to avoid the errors we committed during the Nazi era, when, in fact, you didn't get persecuted because you had some interesting thoughts that the Nazis didn't like; you might, but you also got persecuted because of characteristics that you had that you couldn't do anything about. So they resist not only religious persecution claims, but also sometimes ethnically based or racial persecution claims, if it's a lot of people.
    But here's the ultimate one about religious, and we've encountered this in some of the opposition to the Wolf-Specter bill. The people who are concerned about the refugee program not overwhelming our borders are particularly concerned about religious persecution because you can join. At least if it's race, you know, you're either of that race or not, but one of the arguments that's been raised against giving special attention to, for instance, Christians and Jews, particularly Christians in Middle Eastern countries, is that, won't this just make people say, ''I'm a Christian. Now they're going to kill me. Now you have to let me in.''? And what do we do about that? Again, it's sort of a corollary to the Chairman's question. How do we make sure we really respect religious claims and meet those objections?
    Father RYSCAVAGE. I just would say to that, it's true that religions are voluntary associations. I just came back from Cuba. During the Pope's visit you saw a lot of young people going to church. They're all over the place, and some people were saying, well, they're just using that as a way of expressing themselves because they have no other way of expressing themselves except under the banner——
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    Mr. REES. Good for them.
    Father RYSCAVAGE. Yes, well, I mean, why not? In some ways, if you're a refugee, you're a survivor. Frankly, if they want to use religion as a way of escaping persecution, that's fine with me.
    I see the overall danger of perhaps misusing a religious association for that kind of thing. But, again, give us some concrete ways in which it's being distorted, and I think the churches and the religions themselves can self-police. This is one of the things that I think people forget, is that the churches themselves and the faiths, Buddhism included and others, have a way of finding out whether people are truly there because of their spiritual values or are just sort of manipulating the institution. You know, we're not naive about these things.
    Mr. SMITH. Thank you.
    Mr. Frelick, you've spoken of chronic shortfalls earlier and make some specific recommendations, and yet, part of the argument we hear from the Administration and others, that they're trying to enhance the idea or notion of burden-sharing. We do it with NATO; we do it with refugees; we do it with U.N. budgets. Again, it has a lot of appeal. Yet, especially when it comes to things like refugee protection, and where you have repatriation as a safety valve—and I say that guardedly—as a way of seemingly solving the problem, are we leading by example or are we encouraging people to pony-up less and to do less because we're doing less?
    Mr. FRELICK. I was very encouraged to hear Julia Taft say that this is an issue that she's thinking about, and that's certainly a very welcome voice that I haven't heard for a long, long time in the State Department. Because I think that there has been this notion—we see it on the resettlement side out of the Rafha Camp, for example, in Saudi Arabia—where ''this is our percentage of the total; we're going to stick by it, and if these people rot, so be it,'' because we demand international burden-sharing. It's a wonderful concept, burden-sharing. Wouldn't it be great? We certainly would want other countries to provide 80 percent of funding and the United States to be able to get by with 20 percent. It simply isn't happening.
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    So then the question is, what do you do? They've called your bluff. Who's going to suffer finally if you stand by what essentially is a fairly arbitrary line that you've set? I suggest marking it at one-third of the total contribution rather than one-quarter. That will cost us $32 million next year. I think this is $32 million that we could well afford, especially with $120 million sitting unspent in the ERMA account, although this should come out of the MRA.
    But, to be quite honest, my setting it at one-third is arbitrary in a sense, too. I mean, it's reactive to the response of other governments. So I put the words ''if needed'' there, because I would like to be able to try diplomatically to try to leverage a better response. I'm certainly not at all happy with the way that all of these agencies, UNHCR, UNRWA, ICRC are going around like mendicants with their begging bowls—trying desperately to get money, both in their general programs—which are the basic, fundamental, operating programs that keep these agencies running, and they don't have any sense of continuity there, if they have to keep planning for closing down programs—and the special programs as well. The special appeals go completely ignored oftentimes.
    So I think the United States has to bite the bullet, and if needed, go up to one-third. I think we can afford to do so. At the same, challenge some of the other donors who are in a position to pay more to come up and to pony-up as well.
    Mr. SMITH. Mr. Franken.
    Mr. FRANKEN. Mr. Chairman, in the last 5 years our admissions levels have dropped nearly 50 percent. And it's not so coincidental, it seems to me, that in that same, roughly, time period there was a major shift in the way the U.S. State Department identified and processed refugees—turning to the UNHCR as a primary source of referrals. Now this is UNHCR, who had traditionally been focusing certainly the majority of their resources, staff and otherwise, within the immediate relief and protection of people on the ground, and seeking the kind of durable solutions we've talked about: repatriation and the emphasis on that.
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    If you talk to the field people of the UNHCR, often you will hear very little discussion about resettlement as an option. It's just not in their repertoire oftentimes. So when there are calls for training and these kinds of things, it's very important for this issue.
    But I think that that would be an area that some attention should be addressed to, to make sure that the prospective refugees, those who truly would be people that this country is concerned about, have an opportunity to be identified and processed.
    Mr. FRANK. If I could just respond very briefly to Mr. Rees' question, I am totally seethed that anyone could actually believe that that type of thing would happen on any type of large-scale basis, that one would join a persecuted group. As one who was in the Soviet Union four times prior to Glasnost, if you joined the Jewish religion or decided to become a Jew at that point, in the hope that you might get out, you were facing the loss of everything. It's just incredible that that could in any way happen, where we're talking about the most intense type of persecutions that many of these religious groups face throughout the world.
    I'm sure you've read the book, While Six Million Died, and we looked at the history of the State Department during that period of time—you can dream up any excuse you want to keep people out, but that one has absolutely no currency.
    Mr. SMITH. We would agree, but that's what we hear back. As a matter of fact, we heard the same argument even on the coercive population control program, that every woman of child-bearing age would claim that she had a coerced abortion, and obviously, that is something that there's so few people who get out anyway of China; we ended up putting a cap on that. That's a whole other discussion, but that was used against us with impunity, and almost succeeded. And now we're hearing it as we went to markup on the other bill. It seems like these surface bill arguments gain currency real quick. It's unfortunate.
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    Mr. DEFFENBAUGH. Back to the budget discussion, there's been an unfortunate tradeoff that's been made in some years in the budget between domestic resettlement and overseas assistance, and this comes from the fact that they are both in the same pot of money that comes to the PRM and the State Department.
    We would certainly hope that, as discussions go forward about the real needs, that we don't end up pitting these two valid needs against each other. Julia, in her testimony, also mentioned that sometimes there's been a temptation to try to balance long-term development assistance against emergency assistance, and I think that's another situation of a kind of unfair tradeoff, where you shouldn't have to say, well, yes, we can do more on development if we take away emergency assistance. No, that's not a right type of tradeoff.
    As we think about the budget, though, there are these pressing needs for overseas assistance that Bill and others have mentioned. There's also, I think, a need to look at the cost of resettlement. In 1975, when the current resettlement system began, the per capita grant from the State Department for resettling a refugee was $500. Now it's risen by 50 percent to $750, at a time when the cost of living has risen by three times.
    We're still in this work. We're going to be in this work. I was asked once by one of Secretary Taft's predecessors, well, what will it take to keep your agency in the program? Well, we were in the program long before there was any government assistance, and we'll be in long after. We'll do with what we have and try to use the help of volunteers and the compassion of others.
    But I think it should be noted that, as the program has progressed over these 23 years, that the private sector has been asked to bear more and more of the share of the burden for this. We're happy to do it, but it should be noted.
    Mr. SMITH. I just want to make one final comment, and, Mr. Frank, it refers to something you mentioned earlier about the importance of the Lautenberg amendment and the very unfair scoring by CBO. We did mount an all-out effort, through the Budget Committee, through technical analysis that we presented to CBO, asking that they reject the static model and take a more dynamic approach, which would include people who've got jobs, pay taxes. It really was a distortion of the true cost an