Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Government set to send back group of Montagnards

Government set to send back group of Montagnards

Police vehicles sit outside a house where Montagnard asylum seekers have been staying in Phnom Penh. Post staff
Police vehicles sit outside a house where Montagnard asylum seekers have been staying in Phnom Penh. Post staff

Government set to send back group of Montagnards

The Cambodian government is set to return a group of Montagnard refugees to Vietnam today after rejecting their claims for asylum, the UN refugee agency has confirmed.

The 13 are part of the more than 200 Montagnards – a mostly Christian minority from Vietnam’s central highlands – who fled to Cambodia in 2014 and 2015. Only a handful now remain in Phnom Penh.

“UNHCR will facilitate the return of these rejected asylum-seekers to Viet Nam on a voluntary basis – as we have done for more than 120 Montagnard asylum-seekers since July 2015,” said spokesperson Vivian Tan in an email. “In general, we do not intervene with asylum cases unless we disagree with the decisions.”

The Cambodian government granted refugee status to an initial 13 Montagnards, who were sent to the Philippines, but since then authorities have deemed three to be refugees.

A further 50 Montagnards fled Cambodia for Thailand in April. Since then, Montagnards have been returned “voluntarily” in small groups to Vietnam.

However, Grace Bui, of the Montagnard Assistance Project, questioned whether they were truly “volunteers”.

“We heard from a couple of them before – they are being watched 24 hours, they can’t go anywhere,” Bui said, adding that others had been arrested.

“I thought the UN was going to fight for them, but I guess not,” Bui said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Government hits back at threats to pull EBA, suspend UN seat

    The spokesman for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) has said the government is in no way concerned after the European Parliament gave it three months to reverse what it called the “systematic repression of the political opposition”. Ignoring the ultimatum could mean facing

  • Chinese influx pushing locals, Westerners out of Preah Sihanouk

    Some within the Kingdom’s tourism industry have speculated that the recent influx of Chinese visitors may hinder domestic tourism as the price of accommodations in the coastal city of Sihanoukville continues to rise. Preah Sihanouk province, which has become a hotbed for Chinese investment

  • Sar Kheng: Sokha requested security

    Interior Minister Sar Kheng on Sunday revealed the story behind the transfer of former opposition party leader Kem Sokha from Trapaing Phlong prison in Tbong Khmum province to his house in the capital. Speaking at the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) headquarters in Prey

  • ‘Dire consequences’ from sanctions, warns AmCham

    American businesspeople in Cambodia have warned that any sanction against the Kingdom would have “dire consequences” that could push Cambodia even further into the arms of China. In a letter to US senators and representatives dated Monday, the American Chamber of Commerce Cambodia (AmCham) said