Hundreds of Kampuchean refugees have begun leaving their camps in Eastern Thailand at the start of a voluntary repatriation programme.
GV Entrance to Khao-I-Dang camp where processing centre is established
SV PAN U.N. Office and refugees queue (2 shots)
SV Refugees waiting outside for their interviews
SV INTERIOR Of tent with woman and small child being interviewed (2 shots)
SV Woman being fingerprinted
SV Same woman leaves tent for a bus with her papers and belongings
SV Woman climbs aboard bus with others
SV Onlookers watch relatives leaving and children board bus (2 shots)
SV INTERIOR Of bus with refugees seated and ready to leave
SV Bus leaves the processing centre
GV PAN Of Nong Charn centre where the refugees are arriving from Khao-I-Dang (4 shots)
Crowd watch the arrival
Repatriation kits laid on ground with hoes, rope fishing net, corn seed, etc.
SV Refugee picks up belongings and head towards their new camp accommodation (2 shots)
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Background: Hundreds of Kampuchean refugees have begun leaving their camps in Eastern Thailand at the start of a voluntary repatriation programme. They're being taken by bus to refugee camps on the border.
SYNOPSIS: Most of the refugees leaving for their homeland have been based at the Khao-I-Dang camp, about 12 kilometres from the border, which houses 135-thousand Kampucheans.
The programme, run by the United National and the Thai army, has been denounced by the Vietnamese-backed government in Phnom Penh.
It claims that the United States and Thailand is blatantly interfering in Kampuchean domestic affairs. But already more than nine hundred refugees have returned across the border.
Before they sign up to leave Khao-I-Dang camp all the refugees are being interviewed by officials of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The officials want to make sure that they have not been coerced into returning.
They also carry out thorough identification procedures.
Many of the refugees told reporters they were worried about returning to the border but that they were anxious to trace missing relatives. The families were separated earlier this year during factional fighting between Khmer Seri guerrillas in a group of sprawling shanty towns along the Thai border.
Refugees say that once they have found relatives they will decide whether it is safe to return inland into Kampuchea.
As they climbed aboard the bus carrying what little they owned many said they were worried about food supplies in their country and fighting between Khmer guerrillas and the forces of the Phnom Penh government.
Nonetheless all seemed willing to return to an uncertain future.
Transport to the border was provided by the Thai army who said later they were very pleased with the smoothness of the operation.
Given a choice of four border crossing points, nearly all the refugees headed for a distribution centre on the border near the Thai village of Nong Chan. United Nations officials consider the centre one of a small number of "safe areas" along the border. It's visited by thousands of Kampucheans who arrive daily to seek food and rice seeds to take back home.
As many of the Kampuchean visitors looked on, the refugees were given basic survival kits.
The new arrivals then join their fellow transient Kampucheans who have set up temporary shanty dwellings on the fringe of the distribution centre. For the next few weeks, at least, food won't be far away.