People throughout the Christian world are preparing for Christmas. Among them are people in the?
People throughout the Christian world are preparing for Christmas. Among them are people in the refugee camps of Thailand, where families are getting ready to celebrate the holy feast.
But in the Sa Kaeo camp two hundred kilometres (62 miles) east of Bangkok, the thirty-five thousand residents from Kampuchea are not only waiting for Christmas, but also for a chance to return to their homes.
SYNOPSIS: Christmas is a time for giving and in Sa Kaeo the thousands of children who have been separated from their families have become the recipients of Christian charity.
The children have been treated to good food and Christmas presents distributed by volunteer workers at the camp, but they are unable to share their gifts with other members of their families who have not been located.
All over Thailand, in camps like Sa Kaeo, families are separated, with parents not knowing where their children are or even if they are alive.
But even under such circumstances, camp workers have attempted to spread the festive spirit by decorating camp buildings and organising carol singing groups. Camp officials at Sa Kaeo are opposed to plans by French Embassy representatives to take sixty of the Kampuchean children for resettlement in France. The camp workers claim it is too early to decide that the children have no surviving family members capable of supporting them.
A spokesman for the French Embassy in Thailand said officials would take a group of children who had not seen or heard from their families for at least two and a half years. They were due to leave for France on Sunday (23 December) or Monday (24 December). The spokesman said the French government had given assurances to the Thai government and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, that families would be re-united if the parents were found.
French Embassy says the children are not going to be adopted but would be sheltered by foster parents. Fears that the people of Kampuchea might never recover from their tragedies have produced a strong reaction against permanent resettlement.