Search form

Login - Register | FOLLOW US ON

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Vietnamese wary of planned census

Vietnamese wary of planned census

Sok Hieng* is concerned about a government census of foreigners that some observers believe will focus primarily on those of Vietnamese descent.

“I am afraid that I will be forced to leave Cambodia because I do not have ID yet,” said Hieng, a 33-year-old construction worker who was born in Phnom Penh to Vietnamese parents. “When I go to Vietnam, they consider me Cambodian; I am in the middle between Cambodian and Vietnamese.”

The government effort to take a more precise count of foreigners living in Cambodia could be the first step in developing a clearer policy regarding undocumented Vietnamese in the Kingdom seeking to be recognised as citizens, said Ang Chanrith of Minority Rights Organization (MIRO).

Sok Phal, head of the Ministry of Interior’s immigration department, yesterday declined to answer questions about the data gathering, except to say that it is not yet complete.

Children born in Cambodia to Vietnamese parents are not given birth certificates or family books. In addition, a convoluted citizenship application process that requires everything from language tests to the King’s signature makes it difficult for those people to obtain citizenship, Chanarith said.

“What we are concerned with is how can the Vietnamese live in Cambodia legally, when the authorities in each province never issue family books?” Chanarith asked. “It’s not the [ethnic] Vietnamese fault, it is the government’s fault.”

Hieng said he did not attend school as a child, partially because schools require the birth certificate he lacked. As an adult, he has been turned down when applying for citizenship because after living in a predominantly Vietnamese community for years, his Khmer isn’t clear enough, he added.

But Cambodia National Rescue Party lawmaker Yim Sovann said census data should be used to stem illegal immigration. “At least we will know how many illegal immigrants are here in Cambodia, where they are and what they are doing here,” he said, adding that illegal Vietnamese immigration damages Cambodia’s society, economy and security.

*Name changed to protect identity.

0

Comments

Please, login or register to post a comment

Latest Video

ONE FC

ONE FC hits the Kingdom

Three Cambodian fighters prepare for one of the biggest sporting events ever held in Phnom Penh.

techfest

Getting high tech in Phnom Penh

On Monday, creative, tech-savy Cambodians got together to exhibit Apps, drones and cameras helping tackle social, environmental and political issues in Cambodia at a USAID backed innovation show.

Scot Marciel

'Not locked in'

Scot Marciel, one of the US State Department's top Asia diplomats, sat down with State of Play during a whistle-stop tour of the region.

This month 20 years ago...

1994-09-09 07:00
Press Law fears
1994-09-09 07:00
Coup debate II
1994-09-09 07:00
KR poised for push in P. Vihear
1994-09-09 07:00
Kirirom hydro-dam in action by 1996
1994-09-09 07:00
Mixed teams police timber
1994-08-26 07:00
Garbage charges upset businessmen