Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Khmer Krom deported to Cambodia

Khmer Krom deported to Cambodia

Khmer Krom deported to Cambodia

Thai immigration authorities have deported seven Khmer Kampuchea Krom asylum seekers to Cambodia after the group snuck across the border in a bid to seek resettlement.

Chea Sokun, Banteay Meanchey provincial secretary general for the Independent Democratic of Informal Economic Association NGO, said his organisation was providing temporary shelter to the men following their deportation. The seven, he added, were originally part of a group of 57 Khmer Krom asylum seekers deported from Thailand in 2009 while waiting for their refugee applications to be processed by the Bangkok office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

“The seven Khmer Krom asylum seekers have been deported for a second time, and now they are living temporarily with IDEA,” Chea Sokun said, adding that the group was facing “a lack of residence, a lack of food and fear of returning to their home province in Southern Vietnam”.

“Khmer Krom” or “Khmer Kampuchea Krom” are terms for ethnic Khmers who live in or have roots in Southern Vietnam. Rights groups have alleged that Khmer Krom residents of Vietnam have been subject to persecution by Vietnamese authorities. Ministry of Interior spokesman Khieu Sopheak could not be reached for comment yesterday, though he has said in the past that the government considers Khmer Krom people living in Cambodia to be Cambodian citizens.

But Yang Son, 41, one the seven deportees, said yesterday that he and the others had crossed into Thailand rather than stay in the Kingdom because the Cambodian government had yet to award them citizenship. “The Cambodian government officials have reiterated that they consider the Khmer Krom as their citizens, but they have not provided use with the legal nationality paperwork, so we are afraid that we will be arrested and deported to Vietnam,” he said.

Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Yont Tharo, president of the Khmer Krom Cultural Centre in Cambodia, said he was concerned about the case and planned to visit the group.

MOST VIEWED

  • Prince injured, wife dies after accident

    THE wife of former First Prime Minister Prince Norodom Ranariddh, Ouk Phalla, 39, died while the prince was “severely” injured following a road accident in Preah Sihanouk province’s Prey Nub district on Sunday morning, officials said. Rananriddh, who is also the president of the Funcinpec

  • Bun Heang mocks US, threatens its citizens in scathing open letter

    After being hit with sanctions from the US Department of Treasury, Cambodian General Hing Bun Heang said he would retaliate against any US national who does not respect his country’s sovereignty, has ambitions to invade Cambodia or incites “traitors” in the Kingdom to do

  • Ranariddh 'seriously injured', his wife dies in accident in Preah Sihanouk

    THE wife of former first prime minister Prince Norodom Ranariddh has died. Ouk Phalla succumbed to injuries sustained in a traffic accident on National Road 4 in Preah Sihanouk’s Prey Nub district this morning. She and the prince were immediately rushed to the Preah Sihanouk

  • US slammed over BGU head as Foreign Ministry says sanctions violate international principles

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MFAIC) has condemned the US Department of Treasury for its sanctions, announced on Tuesday, against Cambodian General Hing Bun Heang for his alleged role in infringing human rights. In a statement, the ministry said it is disturbing