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

  • Restrictions re-imposed in capital as Covid cases surge

    Amid the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has shown no sign of subsiding with 750 infections and 10 deaths reported on June 2 alone, the Phnom Penh Municipal Administration has decided to re-impose the suspension of all occupations and business activities deemed as posing high risk of

  • Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville expressway 51% complete

    The construction of the nearly $2 billion Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway is 51.35 per cent complete and is expected to be finished in 2023, according to Ministry of Public Works and Transport secretary of state Vasim Sorya. Invested in by Cambodian PPSHV Expressway Co Ltd, the first expressway in

  • With herd immunity likely in 2022, is Cambodia ready to reopen for tourism?

    The government aims to inoculate 80 per cent of the target population by June next year, giving it a head start among regional peers to reboot the sector but first, it has to do a few things to up its game A sign on a glass

  • First 7-Eleven store to open mid-June, ambassador says

    Thai retail conglomerate CP All Pcl will open Cambodia’s first 7-Eleven convenience store in mid-June, Cambodian ambassador to Thailand Ouk Sorphorn told The Post on June 1. The Bangkok-listed 7-Eleven franchise operator, the retail arm of Charoen Pokphand Group Co Ltd, granted CP All (Cambodia)

  • US wants 'full access' to Ream Naval Base

    On June 11, the US embassy's Defense Attaché Colonel Marcus M Ferrara visited Ream Nava Base in coordination with Cambodian officials following the recent approval of Prime minister Hun Sen to allay the concerns on Chinese military presence at the base as raised by US Deputy

  • US embassy guard gets Covid despite two doses of Pfizer jab

    The Covid-19 tracking commission on June 4 said a security guard at the US embassy in Phnom Penh had contracted the novel coronavirus, despite having received a second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech shot two weeks ago. Embassy spokesperson Chad Roedemeier confirmed the SARS-CoV-2 infection to The