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Khmers seek asylum after deportation by Thailand

Khmers seek asylum after deportation by Thailand

AT least 24 ethnic minority Khmer Krom arrested by Thai authorities and sent to Cambodia through Poipet after a failed asylum bid on December 5 are awaiting a decision from the Cambodian government as to whether they’ll be granted permission to settle in the Kingdom.

Chea Sokun, secretary of the Independent Democratic Association of Non-formal Economy in Banteay Meanchey’s Poipet town, said on Sunday that the group of asylum seekers, some of whom are children, is being given temporary shelter by the organisation.

“They requested that the government issue them their Khmer citizenship ID cards so that they have the right to reside in Cambodia like other Cambodian people and that the government provide them a place to live,” he said, adding that he will send a letter today to authorities in Banteay Meanchey to seek their intervention.

Unh Samith, an official of rights organisation Licadho, said: “They are now facing food shortages, so my organisation has provided them with some rice and some other food.”

Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said that the ministry had not received any information on the matter, or an official letter from the group or authorities in Banteay Meanchey seeking intervention.

In June, a group of 23 Khmer Krom was also deported from Thailand and found themselves temporarily stranded in Poipet without proper food or medical support.

Ethnic Khmers living in southern Vietnam say they face discrimination from authorities there.

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