Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Govt silence on deportees

Govt silence on deportees

Govt silence on deportees

The UN refugee agency has approached the government to find out what has happened

to three people who disappeared while under its protection in Phnom Penh. The three

were reportedly deported to their home countries, which if true would be a flagrant

breach of Cambodia's international legal obligations.

A Vietnamese monk belonging to an outlawed Buddhist sect was reportedly handed back

to Hanoi on July 25. Less than two weeks later a Chinese couple, practitioners of

Falun Gong, were sent back to China. Press reports suggested that all three had UNHCR

'persons of concern' (PoC) status.

Elizabeth Kurtin, UNHCR officer in charge, said the agency could not comment on individual

cases.

"Under our normal procedure when we have reason to believe a person of concern

has been deported, we would take appropriate steps [to find out what happened],"

she said. "And if we had information that deportations were taking place, we

would be concerned about the safety of others in the same category."

Under international law the government is obliged to protect PoCs, of whom there

are many in Phnom Penh. That is doubtless a concern to UNHCR as the Post understands

that there are more PoCs from both Vietnam and China under the agency's protection

here.

The Post tried several times without success to contact General Meach Sophana of

the Ministry of Interior's Immigration Department for the government's view.

If the three have been deported - and there is every indication that they have -

it would not be the first time the government has breached its international obligations

on asylum seekers.

The flight from Vietnam of hundreds of ethnic minority Montagnards during 2001 was

peppered with reports that Cambodia was sending back those it could find to Vietnam.

Unconfirmed reports filtering through to Phnom Penh suggest that more recent arrivals

have been forcibly repatriated since UNHCR closed its two camps in north-east Cambodia

in mid-April.

MOST VIEWED

  • First Cambodian woman graduates from Japan’s NDA military academy

    A few years ago, Meach Sithyka Jessica became the first-ever Cambodian woman to graduate from the US Military Academy at West Point, and since then her courage and determination has served as an inspiration for other Cambodian women. Similarly, Ly Chansocheata became the first Cambodian

  • Construction begins on $1.5B Kampot seaport

    The International Multi-Purpose Logistics and Port Centre, principally invested by Kampot Logistics and Port Co Ltd and projected to cost $1.5 billion, has officially broken ground in Bokor town, Kampot province. The multi-purpose logistics and port centre, located in Prek Tnaot commune, will be built on

  • Cambodia eyes key role in electronics, auto hubs in SEA

    Two roadmaps, part of the LDC’s economic diversification plan, were designed to see it through its migration process, but experts say the journey might be arduous, particularly in the presence of two established hubs in the region By 2028, Cambodia hopes to have exited the

  • Hun Neng, lawmaker and PM’s brother, passes away aged 72

    Hun Neng, chairman of the 4th Commission of the National Assembly, has passed away from heart disease at the age of 72 on the afternoon of May 5, according to the Ministry of Information. Hun Neng is the older brother of Prime Minister Hun Sen, and was

  • CCC team off on US business trip

    The Kingdom’s leading economists and private sector representatives have called on the US to renew its tax preferential status for Cambodian exports, as a Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) delegation departed for a weeklong business visit to the US, where they will meet with

  • PM meets with US business giants

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has met with a number of major US companies who have expressed interest in investing in Cambodia, in a meeting convened by the US-ASEAN Business Council (US-ABC). A delegation of companies – including Amazon, Meta, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Ford, Visa and Pernod