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Cambodia needs clear policy on immigrants

Dear Editor,
I write in response to the article “Vietnam repatriates Cambodian beggars” (December 23). I was ashamed to hear that nearly 900 illegal Cambodian beggars were repatriated by Vietnamese authorities this year, as well as the recent deportation of illegal Cambodian workers sent back through the border by Thai authorities, several of whom were killed while passing through the forest on the Cambodian-Thai border.

However, there have been no strong reactions against the Thai shootings of these people, just warnings for the migrants not to emigrate to Thailand, forgetting that a poor standard of living forced these people to leave home and cross the border illegally in the first place.

In general, the government always declares Cambodia is run by a “government of economic growth”. But this slogan should be questioned: What does it mean that the Cambodian economy does not have enough capacity to create work for domestic labourers? On the other hand, during the recent tensions between Cambodia and Thailand, we heard information about hundreds of Cambodian returnees who were being turned back every day.

Then, the Cambodian authorities quickly deported the ethnic Uighur refugees, who were seeking political asylum, back to China last Saturday. But in the case of other illegal foreign immigrants living and gaining job opportunities in the Kingdom, the government does not take measures against them as actively as Vietnam and Thailand.

From my point of view, I think that this slow reaction against illegal immigrants is maybe due to the fact that the Cambodian economy has not yet produced enough work for the local labour force, and that perhaps Cambodia does not have the necessary immigration laws to control who enters its territory.

Therefore, we would very much appreciate if the National Assembly was to review and pass important draft laws on immigration to deal with domestic labour and manage the population in order to alleviate poverty in Cambodia.

Tong Soprach
Phnom Penh

Send letters to: newsroom@phnompenhpost.com or PO Box 146, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The Post reserves the right to edit letters to a shorter length.
The views expressed above are solely the author’s and do not reflect any positions taken by The Phnom Penh Post.

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