Galang Refugee Camp 1975 - 1996 Riau Archipelago, Indonesia

Current News Home Thailand Malaysia Indonesia Philippines Singapore Hongkong Humanitarian Heroes Links About Contact

Galang Boat people:

If you stayed in this camp, we need your story. Any information is highly appreciated. If you see it here, we'd still like to hear from you. Corroboration is important. We will always need more information. Please email us at vt268tengah@gmail.com

At the entrance of the camp, today's visitors are greeted with a sign reading "Ex Camp Vietnam" and the camp's map, then the "Quan Am Tu" gate leading to the temple, and the Statue of Humanity.

Tu Quan Am Pagoda Statue of Goddess characterized Gung Shi Sha Pu (Goddess Kuan Im) are large, located on the outside. There is a prayer altar in front of the statue of the Goddess Kuan Im, where it is believed when praying at the altar will be given a soul mate (for those who have not paired), prosperity and tranquility in an attempt to settle down. As for children, will be successful in the study. By tradition, after the prayer is expected to throw the coins as an offering to the front of the statue of Goddess Kuan Im.

Statue of Humanity, in 1985 depicting the figure of a woman named Tinhn Loai Han, who was raped by a fellow refugee. Ashamed to bear the burden of being raped, she decided to commit suicide. To commemorate this tragic event, Humanity Statue was built in the location where the rape occurred. The statue was made by Nguyen Van Tuyen, a refugee who also sympathize with this tragedy.

Nghia Trang Grave. Here, buried 503 Vietnamese refugees who died of various diseases that they suffered for many months sailing the high seas. In addition, mental depression made them increasingly weak physical condition.

ExCampVN   Vietnam   ExCampVN   Vietnam
ExCampVN   Vietnam   Cemetary   Vietnam

1-4:sign "Ex Camp Vietnam", the camp's map, gate leading to Galang Camp
5-8:Statue of Humanity,QAT gate

9-10:QAT temple; 11-12:Grave sign

The Monument Boat, 2 boats used by the refugees when they left Vietnam. With a boat like that for months they sailed the South China Sea, until finally arriving at Galang Island and surroundings.

In 1996, these boats deliberately drowned by the refugees as a form of protest over the policies UNHCR and the Government of Indonesia who want to repatriate some 5,000 refugees. Five thousand refugees are repatriated because they do not pass the test to get a new citizenship.

They did not just sink the boat as a form of protest, but also by burning. After the death of these refugees, by the Government of the Batam Authority, was appointed to the mainland boat, repaired, and exhibited to the public as historical objects, which remind visitors of the suffering of the refugees.

The Museum Visitors can also visit the museum which is a resource center of Galang Camp. Here, on display various relics and works of the hands of the Vietnamese refugees. Shape the work of the hands of refugees is usually a craft clay and painting. There are also photographs of activities and events at Camp Galang. Like the scouting activities of Vietnamese young people, activities celebrating religious holidays, Visitors can also meet with the officials who maintain the museum "Mr Abu".

Vietnam   Vietnam   Cemetary   ExCampVN
Vietnam   ExCampVN   Vietnam   Cemetary

1-4: Hospital in Galang 1 and Galang 2
5-8: Monument Boat,Water pump station,UNHCR office,Three Ladies shrines

The UNHCR office where the screening of the refugees was carried out - now of course is abandoned It was said that outside this building many Vietnamese killed themselves when their fate was cast to be return home or on exile

Living quarters of the guards and the guards and UNHCR personnel.

The Three Ladies shrines-Miếu Ba Cô In the dangerous trip for freedom, the two sisters from a refugee boat had been repeatedly raped by pirates. When they came to Galang camp, the rumour kept spreading and worse, the boatmates and the barrackmates even looked down at them, instead of having pity for them. Unable to cope with the shame, the two sisters hung themselves on this giant old tree. The 2 shrines were built jointly to worship the two sisters. Later on, another girl from another boat suffered the same shame and did the same thing. Again, the third shrine was built to worship her.

Vietnam   ExCampVN   Vietnam   Cemetary
Vietnam   ExCampVN   Vietnam   Cemetary

1-4: Protestant church,Kim Quang temple,deteriorated refugee barrack,Guard barrack
5: Restore refugee barrack 6-8: Barracks



  • Abu Nawas Tanawolo 35, who did the job of a camp historian in Vietnamese language.He is an Indonesian who grew up in the Galang Camp, playing with Vietnamese children, therefore he speak fluence Vietnamese. Abu, now a guard at the tourist site the camp has become, grew up here, after his Flores-born father abandoned his Sulawesi-born mother and she obtained employment as a cook for the camp's guards.
  • The Camp was closed in 1996. The last Indochinese refugees left Galang Island on 2 September. Although, their governments agreed to refrain from any discrimination, harassment, persecution or unfair treatment. They have been rejected by third countries, because they were only economic migrants.
    It took from 1989, when the world decided to stop accepting Indochinese boatpeople as refugees and forced them to register as asylum-seekers, until 1996 for Jakarta to get rid of the foreign visitors it never really wanted. Most were repatriated, unwillingly. In the end, the Indonesian navy was deployed to force them out.
    "It's easy to open a processing centre, but when it comes to closing it you face a lot of difficulty," Faizasyah says, with no irony.
  • Hunger strike in Galang by Agence France Presse, 04/25/1994

    Hundreds of Vietnamese refugees go on hunger strike
    Some 500 Vietnamese refugees in the Indonesian refugee island centre of Galang are on hunger strike with 79 hospitalized since the protest started against repatriation, a news report said Monday.

    "They are still under treatment," an official in Pekanbaru, central Sumatra, was quoted by the evening daily Suara Pembaruan as saying, adding that 12 of those in hospital were women or children.

    The official gave no further details but the newspaper quoted a source as saying the refugees began the strike Saturday to back up their refusal to be repatriated to Vietnam.
  • Indonesia Vows "Boat People" Move Despite Protest By Reuter, 04/28/1995

    Indonesia said on Thursday it would go ahead with the return of thousands of Vietnamese "boat people" despite a hunger strike by hundreds of inmates at a holding camp.
    Indonesian newspapers said 550 Vietnamese joined the Galang hunger strike and 79 of them had been taken to hospital. The official Antara news agency said some had threatened to set fire to themselves.
  • Vietnam boat people's plaque torn down

    More information from By The Jakarta Post, 20/06/2005
    The Batam Industrial Development Authority (BIDA) has removed a large stone plaque erected by former Vietnamese refugees at their one-time camp on Galang island, Riau Islands province. The monument was dismantled at the request of the Vietnamese president on the grounds that it was offensive to Vietnam.

    The wording read as follows:

    In commemoration of the hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese people who perished on the way to freedom (1975-1996). Though they died of hunger or thirst, or being raped, or exhaustion or any other causes, we pray that they may now enjoy lasting peace. Their sacrifice will never be forgotten. - OVERSEAS VIETNAMESE COMMUNITIES 2005.

    The reverse side of the plaque read:

    In appreciation of the efforts of UNHCR, the Red Cross and the Indonesian Red Crescent Society and other world relief organizations, the Indonesian government and people, as well as all countries of first asylum and resettlement. We also express our gratitude to the thousands of individuals who worked hard in helping the Vietnamese refugees. - OVERSEAS VIETNAMESE COMMUNITIES 2005.

Copyright © 2012-2014 Refugee Camps.info. All Rights Reserved.