Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Gov’t, UNHCR to share refugee responsibilities

Gov’t, UNHCR to share refugee responsibilities

A group of Montagnards meets UN officials in December before being transported from Ratanakkiri province to Phnom Penh. ADHOC
A group of Montagnards meets UN officials in December before being transported from Ratanakkiri province to Phnom Penh. ADHOC

Gov’t, UNHCR to share refugee responsibilities

The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) yesterday said that it would divide between itself and the Cambodian government the duties of processing and potentially relocating the scores of Montagnard asylum seekers whose claims the government finally agreed to hear on Wednesday.

“At the meeting yesterday, Cambodia agreed to resume registration and processing for the existing group of Montagnard asylum-seekers while UNHCR agreed to continue seeking appropriate solutions for these individuals,” UNHCR spokesperson Vivian Tan said in an email. “Depending on the situation of each case, these solutions could involve voluntary repatriation or resettlement to a third country.”

The government had set a February deadline for the unprocessed Montagnards – a historically persecuted ethnic minority from Vietnam’s central highlands – to return home of their own accord or be forcibly repatriated. However, the government’s reversal of that decision and promise to hear their claims is no guarantee that they will be granted refugee status.

According to the UN definition, a refugee cannot return to their country of origin due to a “well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion”.

So far, only 13 of the hundreds of Montagnards who have come across the border have been recognised as refugees.

Tan said that the 13 would go to the Philippines to a UN-supported facility to await resettlement in another country.

MOST VIEWED

  • Research key to Kanitha’s rep for expertise

    Sok Kanitha is used to weighing in on controversial issues using a confident approach that signals expertise and authority, and a recent video she made was no exception. Her “Episode 342: The History of NATO” video went live on January 16, 2023 and immediately shot to 30,000 likes and 3,500

  • Cambodia maintains 'Kun Khmer' stance despite Thailand’s boycott threat

    Cambodia has taken the position that it will use the term "Kun Khmer" to refer to the sport of kickboxing at the upcoming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, and has removed the term Muay from all references to the sport. Despite strong reactions from the Thai

  • Knockout! Kun Khmer replaces ‘Muay’ for Phnom Penh Games

    Cambodia has decided to officially remove the word Muay from the programme of the 32nd Southeast Asian (SEA) Games 2023 in May. “Kun Khmer” will instead be used to represent the Southeast Asian sport of kickboxing, in accordance with the wishes of the Cambodian people. Vath

  • Artificial insemination takes herd from 7 to 700

    Some farms breed local cows or even import bulls from a broad for the purpose of breeding heavier livestock for meat production. One Tbong Khnum farmer has found a more efficient way. Hout Leang employs artificial insemination to fertilise local cows. Thanks to imported “straws”

  • New int’l airport nearly half complete as travel industry returns to life

    Construction of a new airport that is slated to serve the capital has passed the 43 per cent completion mark, raising prospects for a proper recovery in the civil aviation and tourism sectors as international travellers return to the Kingdom in increasingly large numbers. The figure

  • Chinese group tours return to Cambodia starting Feb 6

    Cambodia is among 20 countries selected by Beijing for a pilot programme allowing travel agencies to provide international group tours as well as flight and hotel packages to Chinese citizens, following a three-year ban. As the days tick down until the programme kicks off on February 6,