Cambodia repatriated 13 Montagnard asylum-seekers to their native Vietnam after they failed to meet requirements for gaining refugee status in Cambodia. 13 Montagnard asylum seekers who got sent back were among 16 whose requests for asylum were denied by the Cambodian government last June. The mostly Christian ethnic minority often face intimidation, arbitrary arrests, expropriation of their land, and mistreatment in custody back home. One of the Christian Montagnards recounts his journey and is concerned what awaits him back home.
08/08/2017 Cambodia (The Phnom Penh Post) – On Tuesday night, just hours before Rmah Y Chok would be sent back to a home he had once fled fearing persecution, his thoughts turned to a well-known biblical tale.
“When I first got rejected, I got really sad,” Chok said through a translator the night before his departure for Vietnam after the Cambodian government denied his request for asylum.
“But I remembered the story from the Bible about Joseph, who was sold into slavery, and that made me feel better,” he continued, referring to the Old Testament story in which Joseph is betrayed by his brothers but is ultimately not forsaken by his God.
“It helped me cope with the problem,” he added.
Chok is one of 13 Montagnards – a mostly Christian mountain tribe minority hailing from Vietnam’s central highlands – who were packed onto a van yesterday morning, headed for the border after their applications for asylum were rejected by the Cambodian government.