Three Montagnards, including a 10-year-old girl, arrived yesterday morning at the government’s Refugee Department in Phnom Penh to process their asylum claims.
Wan-Hea Lee, country representative of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, confirmed that OHCHR “helped to transport them . . . to the Refugee Department for registration”.
Representatives of the UN’s refugee agency had met with the group on Wednesday, according to regional spokeswoman Vivian Tan.
The trio will join 20 other Montagnard asylum seekers who have made it to the capital in recent weeks to register their claims. Thirty-two others remain in hiding in Ratanakkiri. A family of five Montagnards was deported on February 1.
Chhay Thy, provincial coordinator for local rights group Adhoc, said the three Montagnards who filed claims yesterday had crossed the border as part of a group of seven. “When the police forces saw them, they just shot into the air; this scared them and caused them to separate,” he said.
Thy said he had heard reports from the local Jarai community that the girl had been separated from her parents.