Vietnam’s Modern Day Boat People

Bridging Borders for Freedom


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About the Book

In 2016, a newspaper published an article about four childrendue to be sent to an orphanage after their parents were punished for attempting to flee Vietnam. Among 46 asylum seekers trying to reach Australia by boat, they were intercepted by the Australian navy and returned to Vietnam, where intense retribution awaited. This newspaper article sparked a unifying response in people across the globe.
This work tells the story of volunteer advocates who banded together to help a group of Vietnamese refugees on their journey to freedom. Highlighting the courage of “ordinary” people—and with tales of human rights, communal living, reuniting families and their eventual resettlement in Canada—this book paints a vivid picture of Vietnamese families’ struggle for liberty in the 21st century.

About the Author(s)

Shira Sebban, a migration agent for refugees, is a writer in Sydney, Australia. In June 2022, she was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to the Jewish community. A member of community group SASS (Supporting Asylum Seekers Sydney), she also serves as a guide at the Sydney Jewish Museum.

Bibliographic Details

Shira Sebban
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 236
Bibliographic Info: 85 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2024
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8537-3
eISBN: 978-1-4766-5009-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Introduction 1
1. Don’t Let Them Go to an Orphanage 5
2. Help Care for the Children 18
3. Escape for the Second Time 32
4. Life in Detention 54
5. Communal Living: Fathers Reunited 86
6. Standing on Their Own Two Feet 117
7. Towards Resettlement in Canada 129
Postscript 157
Appendix 1. Doan Trung, “Statement About Two Groups of 46 Vietnamese Asylum Seekers—The ‘Plane Group’ and the ‘Choules Group,’” Unpublished, January 7, 2016 161
Appendix 2. Statement by Doan Trung, Based on Transcript of Telephone Conversation with Tran Thi Lua, Unpublished, September 28, 2016 163
Appendix 3. Letter from Amnesty International and SUAKA to Chief of UNHCR Representation for Indonesia, February 16, 2017 166
Chapter Notes 169
Further Reading by Chapter 193
Bibliography 201
Index 225