Joint Committee for Refugees from Vietnam, 1979-1982
Subject to 30 year closure unless otherwise stated
Administrative / biographical background:
The Joint Committee for Refugees from Vietnam was set up by the Home Secretary in October 1979 under the chairmanship of Sir Arthur Peterson, KCB, MVO, to strengthen co-ordination between the voluntary organisations directly concerned with the reception and resettlement arrangements for refugees from Indo-China. Its members represented the British Council for Aid to Refugees, the Ockenden Venture, the Save the Children Fund and the Home Office. The Joint Committee had direct executive responsibility for the co-ordination of the work of the voluntary bodies.
The Committee's functions were:
to plan the overall requirement for reception centre accommodation and to co-ordinate the work of the voluntary refugee organisations in the search for reception centres
to liaise as necessary between the voluntary refugee organisations and local authorities and other agencies
to operate the system of calling forward refugees to fill reception centre vacancies
to act as a central point for receiving offers of housing from local authorities and others and to co-ordinate the notification of offers to the voluntary refugee organisations
to plan, within the framework of Government policy and in the light of the availability of reception centre accommodation and long-term resettlement opportunities, possible future rates of intake of refugees
to monitor and report to the Home Office on the progress of the reception and resettlement programme
to provide regular statistical returns on rates of inflow, resettlement etc for the Home Office and other interested bodies
to undertake any necessary co-ordination work in the general fields of resettlement (eg as regards offers of employment, local help etc)
to co-ordinate views on policy and operational matters relating to the refugee programme which affect the voluntary refugee organisations generally and which may require a unified approach; and to co-ordinate any necessary approaches to other agencies
to provide for meetings of and secretarial assistance for the Joint Committee and the Advisory Council on the Reception and Resettlement of Vietnamese Refugees
to arrange for exchanges of experience between the voluntary refugee organisations on matters of general operation interest
In addition, an Advisory Council for the Reception and Resettlement of Refugees from Vietnam was set up by the Joint Committee in January 1980 (under the same chairman); its membership included representatives of other bodies concerned with the Vietnam refugee programme. The Advisory Council was intended to provide a source of guidance from a wider spectrum of interests than the Joint Committee contained.
In addition to resolving the problems of the Vietnamese refugees, the Joint Committee was able to provide a model for any future large scale refugee intake; it made recommendations about the selection, reception, settlement, education and employment of refugees.
The Joint Committee's report was presented to the Home Secretary on 2 November 1982, at which time the Joint Committee and Advisory Council were wound up.
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