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

  • Cambodia’s image problem

    In opening remarks at a recent event, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Luy David said information can be a double-edged sword. He told a European Institute of Asian Studies (EIAS) briefing seminar that the media has unfairly presented

  • PM Hun Sen says dangers averted

    Delivering a campaign speech from his home via Facebook Live on Thursday, caretaker Prime Minister Hun Sen said his Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) had carried the country through danger in its latest mandate. He was specifically referring to the threat of a “colour revolution”

  • Kingdom's trade deal with EU questioned before poll

    A European Union (EU) mission met with senior government officials at the Ministry of Interior on Tuesday as the 28-member bloc monitors an agreement under which Cambodian goods reach the crucial European market tariff-free. Some 10 commissioners are in the Kingdom as part of a seven-day

  • A new carrier takes off in capital

    Cambodia Airways, the latest passenger airline to enter the Kingdom, launched its first domestic flight on Tuesday. Flight KR801, carrying 145 passengers, left the Phnom Penh International Airport at 9:50am and landed in Siem Reap at 10:35am in an Airbus A319. Cambodia Airways marketing and branding