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New asylum seekers in Phnom Penh

New asylum seekers in Phnom Penh

Just days after a dozen Montagnard asylum seekers returned to Vietnam having given up on being granted refugee status, 11 more arrived in Phnom Penh over the weekend, according to the United Nations.

Vivian Tan, a spokesperson for the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), said the new arrivals “bring the total number of Montagnards awaiting registration in Phnom Penh to over 150”.

Since October, members of the minority group have flooded into Cambodia citing religious and political persecution.

So far, just 13 have been granted refugee status, while dozens have been deported.

Chhay Thy, Ratanakkiri provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said six of the asylum seekers entered through O’Yadav district on Saturday, but didn’t have details of the other five arrivals.

On Thursday, 12 Montagnards voluntarily returned to Vietnam, having spent months in Phnom Penh hoping to be granted refugee status.

Tan said UNHCR hopes to visit them soon “to see how they are doing, as part of regular monitoring visits agreed with the Vietnamese authorities”.

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