Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - UN urges against repatriating Montagnards



UN urges against repatriating Montagnards

UN urges against repatriating Montagnards

The United Nations’ human rights agency in Geneva has urged Cambodia to abide by its obligations not to forcibly return 13 Montagnard refugees to Vietnam and to register the claims of hundreds more asylum seekers living in limbo in Phnom Penh.

The government last week announced that it had extended deadlines for leaving Cambodia for members of the predominantly Christian minority group from Vietnam’s central highlands who have crossed the border over the past year citing religious and political persecution.

In a statement on Friday, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) noted that any forced return of the 13 – who now have until January 10 to be resettled in third countries – “would constitute refoulement”.

“As a state party to the Refugee Convention and the Convention against Torture and as a country that adheres to the universal values laid out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Cambodia is under an obligation not to return refugees to a country where they could be subjected to serious human rights violations,” it said.

Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak yesterday said he was confident that resettlement options would be found. When asked what would happen to the 13 if the deadline was not met, he replied: “I have no idea.”

Regarding the more than 200 unregistered asylum seekers, OHCHR said it hoped the extended deadline of February 6 for them to return home “voluntarily” or be forced back would “give the government time to reconsider their asylum requests in accordance with international standards”.

It added that the government should “in any case not refoule the asylum seekers without the individual consideration of their claims”.

MOST VIEWED

  • Kingdom's Covid cluster cases jump to 194

    The Ministry of Health on February 25 confirmed 65 new cases of Covid-19, with 58 linked to the February 20 community transmission. The latest cluster cases include nine Vietnamese nationals, five Cambodians, one each from Korea, Singapore and Japan, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total number

  • Locations shut, dozens more Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health has closed 23 locations in connection with the February 20 community transmission of Covid-19 and summoned for testing anyone who had direct contact with affected people and places. The number of discovered related infections has risen to 76, including 39 women. In a press release,

  • Cambodia's Covid cluster cases rise to 137

    The Ministry of Health on February 24 recorded 40 more cases of Covid-19, with 38 linked to the February 20 community transmission. Of the 40, two are imported cases involving Chinese passengers. The 38 include two Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total cases

  • Covid cluster raises alarm, health bodies urge vigilance

    The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia have expressed great concern over the February 20 cluster transmission of Covid-19 in the community. Both entities appealed for vigilance and cooperation in curbing further spread of the virus. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said

  • PM confirms third Covid-19 community transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on February 20 announced the Kingdom's third outbreak of Covid-19 community transmission after 32 people tested positive in just over 10 hours. Addressing the public from his residence after an emergency meeting, Hun Sen said: "I dub it February 20 Community Event, in which 32 cases

  • Cambodia's cluster cases jump to 259

    The Ministry of Health on February 27 recorded 26 more cases of Covid-19 linked to the February 20 community transmission, bringing the total to 259 in one week. The 26 include three Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. The ministry noted that five of the Chinese