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Public Papers - 1991 - October

Proclamation 6367 -- Refugee Day, 1991


By the President of the United States

of America

A Proclamation

The United States has long been both a symbol of hope and a source of substantial aid for refugees around the world. Through private voluntary organizations as well as government agencies, the American people have provided generous humanitarian assistance to millions of persons dislocated by natural disaster or by civil strife. We have also kept our doors open to people seeking refuge from tyranny and persecution, and we have encouraged other free nations to do likewise. By working hard to reap the rewards of freedom and opportunity, thousands of refugees have not only built new lives for themselves in the United States but also made invaluable contributions to our country.

While we have welcomed many refugees to these shores, the United States has also been working to overcome the conditions that force large numbers of people to flee their beloved homelands. We have consistently condemned political and religious persecution, and we have championed human rights while promoting the ideals of liberty, democratic pluralism, and tolerance. We have also worked to promote the peaceful resolution of conflicts and sustainable economic development in countries beset by poverty. Tragically, however, despite progress in these areas, the number of refugees worldwide has doubled during the past decade: according to the Department of State, their number has grown from 7,300,000 to an estimated 16,000,000. More than 11,000,000 of these refugees are concentrated in the Near East, in Asia, and in Africa. In all regions of the world, women and children continue to be the most seriously affected.

The international community must continue to uphold its fundamental responsibilities toward refugees. For our part, the United States remains firmly committed to assisting refugees and to contributing toward international relief efforts. The United States Government will continue to support the work of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Recognizing the value and the effectiveness of international cooperation on a wide range of global problems, we will also continue to urge other nations to increase their bilateral and multilateral assistance to refugees. Finally, because the refugee crisis is primarily the result of systematic government repression and bitter civil strife in some regions of the world, the United States will continue to promote respect for human rights and the rule of law, as well as the peaceful resolution of conflicts.

The demise of communism and the triumph of democratic movements around the world has brought about an era of promise and opportunity. Heartened by this knowledge, let us build on the progress we have made so that all peoples might enjoy the blessings of freedom and security in their respective homelands.

The Congress, by Senate Joint Resolution 192, has designated October 30 of each year as ``Refugee Day'' and has authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of this day.

Now, Therefore, I George Bush, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim October 30, 1991, as Refugee Day. I encourage all Americans to observe this day with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-eighth day of October, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and sixteenth.

George Bush

[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 1:56 p.m., October 28, 1991]

Note: This proclamation was published in the Federal Register on October 30.

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