Galang Refugee Camp

The Galang Refugee Camp hosted more than 170,000 Indochinese refugees from the year 1975 – 1996. Refugees and asylum seekers came from Cambodia and Vietnam. The former were fleeing Cambodian’s Khmer Rouge regime. The latter turned out to be victims of Vietnam’s civil war which ended in 1975. Both incidents led to the establishment of a UNHCR Representation in Indonesia. During the early stage of the operations and until 1985, all refugees were granted prima facie refugee status and provided with shelter, food, clothing, school/ education and medical assistance. In addition, UNHCR organized the resettlement of all refugees in third countries of asylum willing to grant refugees an opportunity to re-start their lives.

Later on, from 1989 – 1996, Galang Camp continued to receive additional numbers of Vietnamese nationals who were leaving Vietnam for a mix of reasons not always related to persecution. As a result, UNHCR put in place Refugee Status Determination Procedures to identify and distinguish those Vietnamese nationals who would be in need of international protection from those who had left Vietname for economic or other similar reasons. The former would still be processed for resettlement. The latter were assisted to return to Vietnam. The Galang Refugee Camp was closed in 1996. Most refugees were resettled to the United States of America, Canada and Australia.

The photos in this album belong to a Protection Associate of UNHCR who once worked in Galang Refugee Camp as an English teacher in a UN-funded school that was managed by Save the Children.