Cambodia: UN refugee agency voices concern over possible deportation of Montagnards
In a press briefing in Genevathis morning, UNHCR spokesperson Babar Baloch noted that the individuals are said to be hiding in a border province in Cambodia's northeast after leaving Viet Nam in recent weeks.
“The group has indicated that they wish to seek asylum in Cambodia,” said Mr. Baloch.
“Since the creation of its Refugee Department in 2009, the Cambodian Government has been responsible for receiving and adjudicating asylum claims,” he added.
Both UNHCR and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) have written to the Cambodian Government urging that the 13 individuals be allowed to pursue refugee claims.
“A joint UN-Government mission to the border area was suggested to better understand the situation and facilitate the claims of the individuals,” Mr. Baloch told reporters.
He also reminded that the involuntary return of the individuals to Viet Nam would represent a violation of international legal obligations which Cambodian Government has entered into.
“UNHCR strongly urges the Government to refrain from – and instruct local authorities to refrain from – such action.”