Montagnard Christians have fled from Cambodia to Thailand fleeing persecution and trying to avoid being forcibly repatriated to their home in Vietnam. Crossing the border into Thailand is a dangerous operation as they are not party to the UN Refugee Convention, but still some feel it is worth it to avoid being sent home. Refugee agencies, such as the UNHCR, are calling into question the legitimacy of their claims to persecution and claiming they are “volunteering” to be sent home. Many of them experienced hardships at home in Vietnam. One man shared. “They beat me all over my body and they taunted me. They would shout, ‘If you believe in God, you can call on God, America, Kok Ksor and the U.N. to save you.” Montagnard Christians who flee Vietnam leave everything behind and must avoid being caught by government agencies in Thailand or Cambodia, or UN agencies that send them home where their lives are in danger. One man reported, “The Cambodian government and U.N. promised that nothing bad would happen, but when they got back they got beaten.”
4/28/2017 Cambodia (Cambodia Daily) – In a far-flung district of Bangkok, surrounded by winding streams and rickety walkways, Kpa Hung is hiding out, one of dozens of Montagnards who fled across the border from Cambodia last month to avoid almost certain deportation to Vietnam.
“After I received a lot of pressure from the police and they stopped letting us out, I decided to go,” Mr. Hung said last week inside a safe house with about 20 other would-be asylum-seekers who had been living in Phnom Penh.
“I told them I was going to buy vegetables and I escaped on March 29. There were six of us. I went to the market and because I speak Khmer, I asked a tuk-tuk driver to organize a bus to take us to Poipet,” he said.
The group camped out in the forest near the border before a fixer slipped them into Thailand and a car took them to this suburb, where hundreds of stateless Montagnards are waiting for their refugee applications to be processed.