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

  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Hun Sen: Stay where you are, or else

    Prime Minister Hun Sen warned that the two-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Kandal provincial town Takmao could be extended if people are not cooperative by staying home. “Now let me make this clear: stay in your home, village, and district and remain where

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Ministry names types of business permitted amid lockdown

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training singled out 11 types of business that are permitted to operate during the lockdown of Phnom Penh and Takmao town, which run through April 28. Those include (1) food-processing enterprises and slaughterhouses; (2) providers of public services such as firefighting, utility and

  • Culture ministry: Take Tuol Sleng photos down, or else

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has told Irish photographer Matt Loughrey to take down the photos of Khmer Rouge victims at Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum which he allegedly colourised and altered to show them smiling. The ministry said Loughrey's work is unacceptable, affecting