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(ABC Radio Australia News) – The United Nations refugee agency has granted asylum to 12 Montagnard minority hill tribe people who fled Vietnam ‘s Central Highlands, crossed Cambodia and ended up in Thailand . A spokeswoman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Bangkok , says the 12 will soon be sent to a third country. Human rights groups say Montagnards are being persecuted by Vietnamese authorities. After mass protests and a clampdown by authorities in 2001, some 1,000 Montagnards fled through the jungle to Cambodia , where they were housed in refugee camps before being granted asylum in the United States . After another protest last April, a steady trickle of refugees has been entering Cambodia . [ICC featured the plight of the Montagnard Christians in the June 2004 newsletter.]