Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Hundreds of Cambodian workers repatriated so far in 2017

Hundreds of Cambodian workers repatriated so far in 2017

Migrant workers hide their faces at Phnom Penh International Airport in 2012 after being repatriated from Malaysia.
Migrant workers hide their faces at Phnom Penh International Airport in 2012 after being repatriated from Malaysia. Pha Lina

Hundreds of Cambodian workers repatriated so far in 2017

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs assisted the repatriation of more than 450 Cambodian workers in the first six months of the year, according to figures released Friday.

The ministry’s statement said 178 Cambodians were repatriated from Thailand, 134 from Malaysia, 68 from Vietnam, 24 from Laos and 22 from China. Another 26 were repatriated from Myanmar, Indonesia and Singapore.

In 2016, 816 Cambodians were repatriated in total. The number of repatriated Cambodians from Thailand – including those who were “cheated by brokers” and who were exploited in the fishing industry – has already surpassed the total number in 2016, when the ministry assisted the repatriation of 139 Cambodians from Thailand.

Repatriations from Laos also went up, from two cases in 2016 to 24 in the first half of this year. These include 11 who were undocumented and were arrested.

Ministry spokesman Chum Sounry said the numbers were the “fruitful result of the efforts” of the ministry and Cambodian embassies.

But Dy The Hoya, of labour rights group Central, said assistance to migrants was scattershot at best. “They repatriate on a case by case basis, but . . . they don’t have a system,” he said. “They have it on paper, but their implementation is very poor.”

He said the support also lacked effective prevention mechanisms. However, Sounry said prevention wasn’t under the purview of his ministry.

Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan maintained the government’s mechanisms to assist migrants were effective, but acknowledged that labour exploitation remained a significant problem. “It takes time,” he said. “We gradually improve, [but] it’s never enough.”

A previous version of this article stated that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs released its repatriation statistics on Saturday. It was actually on Friday. The Post apologises for the error.

MOST VIEWED

  • Capital-Poipet express rail project making headway

    The preliminary results of a feasibility study to upgrade the Phnom Penh-Poipet railway into Cambodia’s first express railway indicate that the project would cost more than $4 billion and would take around four years to complete. The study was carried out by China Road and

  • Thai boxers to join SEA Games’ Kun Khmer event

    The Cambodian SEA Games Organising Committee (CAMSOC) – together with the Kun Khmer International Federation (KKIF) and Khmer Boxing Federation – have achieved a “great success” by including Kun Khmer in the upcoming biennial multi-sports event on its home soil for the first time, said a senior

  • Bullets to bracelets: Siem Reap man makes waste from war wearable

    Jewellery is often made from valuable gemstones like emeralds or diamonds and precious metals like gold or silver, or valueless things like animal horns. But a man in Siem Reap has approached the manufacture of delicate pieces from a different angle. His unique form of

  • Second Hungary business forum set for H2

    Cambodia has asked Hungary to provide GSP- (Generalised System of Preferences) Plus facilities for when the Kingdom sheds its least-developed country (LDC) label, as the two countries prepare to hold a second business forum in the second half (H2) of this year to expand trade

  • 61% of 2022 imports came from just 3 markets

    The three largest exporters to Cambodia – mainland China, Vietnam and Thailand – accounted for 60.94 per cent of the Kingdom’s total merchandise imports last year, at $18.245 billion, which was up 11.99 per cent over 2021, according to the General Department of Customs and Excise. Cambodia’s total imports

  • CPP sets out five primary strategic goals for 2023-28

    The Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) on January 29 concluded its two-day extraordinary congress, setting the party’s priority goals for 2023-2028. The ruling party’s congress was attended by more than 3,000 members from across the Kingdom, including the members of the permanent and central committees,