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Radio Free Asia) PHNOM PENH—A top United Nations official has accused Cambodia of
failing in its international treaty obligations in its treatment of thnic minority hill-people from Vietnam known as Montagnards, RFA’s Khmer service reports. “I am extremely concerned about the fate of people who attempt to come into this country with the illusion that they will reach safety,” Jean-Marie Fakhouri, head of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Asia-Pacific region, told a news conference. “At this point in time, the asylum space in Cambodia for a seeker coming from a neighboring country is extremely restricted, to the point of being rather untenable,” he said. Cambodia tightened border security in a bid to keep out refugees following the dispersal of thousands of demonstrating hill tribe people or Montagnards in Vietnam following bloody protests last
month, circumventing a U.N. human rights convention signed by which it agreed to allow refugees into its territory. Meanwhile, human rights activists and local media say Cambodian security forces have sent back Montagnards found to have crossed the border. One group of four was sent back last week, while local media say 160 Montagnards fled into ambodia’s Mondulkiri Province last month but were arrested and deported. (ICC Note: See ICC’s Press Release On The Crackdown for Background).