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    » 03/03/2015, 00.00


    Cambodia deports 36 Vietnamese Montagnards, fleeing persecution

    The group was stopped in a forested area north-east of the capital. A Cambodian, an ethnic Charai who led the group, was also arrested. Vietnamese and Cambodian police were involved in the joint operation that led to repatriation of the refugees.

    Phnom Penh (AsiaNews) - Cambodian authorities arrested and repatriated at least 36 Vietnamese Montagnards, who had mysteriously disappeared on a trip from north-eastern Cambodia to the country's capital Phnom Penh, this according to a human rights group and an eyewitness.

    In recent weeks, a number of individuals and families have left Vietnam seeking safety from persecution. In this particular case, a local Cambodian resident was helping the Montagnards.

    On 25 February, in the middle of the night, the group was arrested at Kon Mum district in Ratanakiri province, in a joint operation carried out by Cambodian and Vietnamese police. The Cambodian helper, an ethnic Charai, was arrested and sent to Vietnam along with the others. 

    A Cambodian driver told RFA' s Khmer Service that he dropped them at a Vietnamese police station across the border in Vietnam's Gia Lai province.

    Questioned on the matter, Ratanakiri provincial authorities said they knew nothing about any arrests and deportations.

    In 2001 and 2004, at least 2,000 Montagnards from the highlands of central Vietnam moved to Cambodia to escape the violence of Vietnamese authorities.

    The Communist regime persecutes them because of their Christian faith and for the support they gave US troops during the Vietnam War. It is especially interested in seizing their land.

    Most of them obtained political asylum, especially in the United States.

    In recent years, the exodus has started again. More and more families have tried to cross the border, to seek shelter in neighbouring Cambodia.

    With UN help, some have applied for political asylum, although many are reluctant to contact Cambodian authorities fearing deportation.

    In recent weeks, more than 50 Montagnards (including several children) fled into the forests of Cambodia, where they have to face malaria and food shortages.

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    See also

    05/09/2008 VIETNAM
    Vietnamese Christian escapes to Cambodia, repatriated to death threats
    Y Hning, an ethnic Degar or Montagnard, sought safety in a UN refugee camp; now he is under house arrest and cannot even go to work in his fields.

    27/02/2015 CAMBODIA - VIETNAM
    Montagnard Christians continue to flee to Cambodia, but are running out of food and supplies
    Eight more people, seven men and a woman aged 20 to 40 have been hiding in the forest for the past five days. The nearby border village is facing shortages. "We don't have enough food," a local said. Meanwhile, Cambodian authorities continue to repatriate refugees in violation of international treaties.

    26/07/2005 CAMBODIA - VIETNAM
    Cambodian police using electric batons against Montagnard refugees resisting repatriation
    Human Rights Watch condemns Cambodian police brutality in forced repatriation of Vietnam's Montagnard people. There is evidence that Vietnamese police abused repatriated Montagnard refugees.

    15/02/2011 CAMBODIA - VIETNAM
    Phnom Penh closes a UN refugee camp for Vietnamese Montagnards
    The centre housed refugees from the Christian minority, victims of persecution and abuse by the authorities in Hanoi. Human rights activists demand respect of international standards for refugees. However, JRS is favourable because the block "was the equivalent of a prison." Ten refugees at risk in return.

    27/07/2004 cambodia - vietnam
    Fleeing Montagnard fly to safety of city

    UN offer asylum and medical care

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