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Host Countries Sought for 13 Montagnard Asylum-Seekers

  • Kong Sothanarith
  • VOA Khmer

In recent months, at least 36 Montagnards have been rounded up and deported to Vietnam, despite outcry from rights groups and the UN. (Courtesy photo: United Nations)

In recent months, at least 36 Montagnards have been rounded up and deported to Vietnam, despite outcry from rights groups and the UN. (Courtesy photo: United Nations)

The UN’s refuge office is still working on the next steps for the 13 Vietnam Montagnard asylum-seekers.

Interior Minister Sar Kheng officially recognized them as asylum-seekers last week, after they fled to Phnom Penh and were questioned by authorities in the capital.

UNHCR spokeswoman Vivian Tan said the "UNHCR is still discussing with authorities on how to proceed with the 13 Vietnamese Montagnards after they have been recognized as asylum seeker by the Cambodian government," she wrote in an email.

Khieu Sopheak, a spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, said no third country has yet agreed to host the Montagnards. “UNHCR is dealing with different countries that have received Vietnamese Montagnards in the past, but there are no positive responses yet,” he said.

In 2001, waves of Montagnard asylum-seekers found their way to Cambodia, and many of them were later received by the United States.

In recent months, at least 36 Montagnards have been rounded up and deported to Vietnam, despite outcry from rights groups and the UN. Only 13 made it to Phnom Penh to properly seek refuge.

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