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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - US accepts Montagnards

US accepts Montagnards

Twenty-four ethnic Vietnamese Montagnards who had been detained by Cambodian authorities

since mid-March after crossing the border into Mondolkiri to escape unrest in Vietnam's

central highlands have been declared refugees and granted asylum in the United States.

The Cambodian government's decision to allow the 23 men and one woman to apply

for refugee status marked a reversal in statements by Prime Minister Hun Sen that

the 24 would be surrendered to Vietnamese authorities. Vietnam had lobbied the Cambodian

government to return the 24 to Vietnam and denounced the awarding of refugee status

to the group as interference in its internal affairs. The 24 fled a military crackdown

against Montagnard anti-government demonstrations in the central highlands that peaked

in Feb.

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