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Khmer Krom arrivals seek local residency

A PETITION was submitted to the governor of Poipet town in Banteay Meanchey province on Monday, asking for government intervention in the matter of 24 Khmer Krom asylum seekers who were deported to Cambodia by Thai authorities on December 5.

“We hope that local authorities will try to help us as soon as possible in gaining equal rights to residency in Cambodia because, at the moment, we are living in difficult conditions and lack enough food,” said Thach Soong, 49, a representative of the group that filed the petition, which has also been sent to senior officials in Phnom Penh.

Try Narin, governor of Poipet town, said Monday that he had yet to receive a copy of the petition.

“We will examine their identities, and if they prove to be ethnic minority Khmer Krom, then that will help in the process of granting them permission to settle in Cambodia,” he said.

Chea Sokun, secretary of the Independent Democratic Association of Non-formal Economy, said that his organisation will continue to support the group until they are found permanent homes in the Kingdom, but will need some outside assistance.

“I would like to appeal to local and international NGOs to help support them by donating food,” he said.

Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said Khmer Krom have the right to live in Cambodia if they choose, but that the 24 recent arrivals had not yet been clearly identified as ethnic Khmers.

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