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ICC Note: The United Nations sent a Special Rapporteur in August to check on human rights situation in Cambodia. She disclosed today at the press conference that the Cambodian government has so far failed to cooperate in assisting the relocation of 36 Christian Montagnard refugees from Vietnam to a safe third country. Her statement came at a time when it was just revealed that Cambodian government works with Vietnamese government to forcibly return Montagnard asylum seekers to their home country.

08/18/2017 (Phnom Penh Post) – The United Nations is trying to relocate 36 Montagnard refugees with serious asylum claims to a third country, but the Cambodian government has so far failed to cooperate, a UN rights envoy to Cambodia revealed today.

The disclosure comes a day after it came to light that a Montagnard – a member of a mostly Christian ethnic minority from Vietnam’s central highlands – was set to be forcibly deported after his asylum claim was rejected by the Cambodian government.

“I am concerned about the situation of 36 Montagnards whom UNHCR [the UN refugee body] has offered to find a solution outside of Cambodia based on the seriousness of their asylum claims,” UN Special Rapporteur Rhona Smith said on Friday in a press statement at the end of her two-week mission in Cambodia.

“The Government of Cambodia has to date not agreed to facilitate their transit to a safe third country.”

“I ask the Government of Cambodia to liaise with UNHCR to ensure that the 36 Montagnards in need of international protection as refugees will not be returned to Vietnam.”

The asylum seeker issue was just one of several human rights concerns raised in her end-of-visit statement.

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