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ICC Note: The Montagnards are the indigenous peoples of the Central Highlands of Vietnam. The majority of them practice Christianity. They are accused by the government of religious “evil ways” and politically “autonomous thoughts” and have been subjected to intimidation, arbitrary arrests, expropriation of their land, and mistreatment in custody. This persecution is driving them to seek asylum in neighboring countries, such as Cambodia. The Montagnards in Phnom Penh are among hundreds who have fled their country and crossed the border into Cambodia seeking help from UNHCR. 13 Montagnard asylum seekers who would be sent back today were among 16 whose requests for asylum were denied by the Cambodian government last June.

08/08/2017 Cambodia (Radio Free Asia) – Phnom Penh is set to repatriate 13 Montagnard asylum-seekers to their native Vietnam after they failed to meet requirements for gaining refugee status in Cambodia, a nongovernmental organization that monitors hill tribes said Tuesday.

Grace Bui, a volunteer with the U.S.-based rights group Montagnards Assistance Project, told RFA’s Vietnamese Service that the 13 who would be sent back on Wednesday were among 16 whose requests for asylum are were denied by the Cambodian government in June.

“The Cambodian government wanted to deport all 16 people, but I heard they had to postpone this because of public disapproval,” Bui told RFA.

“But this morning, August 8, a refugee in Cambodia wrote to me and said that there would be 13 people deported to Vietnam tomorrow and that the UN is working on the procedure because the UN is responsible for returning anyone who was deported back to their home. I don’t know when the other three will be deported,” Bui added.

The Cambodia Daily reported on Monday that opposition from the U.N. High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), which has representatives based in Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh, prompted Cambodia to delay the repatriation of the 16.

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