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Cablegate: Quiet, Smooth Cambodian Deportation of Eight

VZCZCXRO7022
PP RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH
DE RUEHPF #0315 1000410
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 090410Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY PHNOM PENH
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHHM/AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH PRIORITY 0136
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY 1646

UNCLAS PHNOM PENH 000315

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR EAP/MLS AND PRM
BANGKOK FOR REFCOORD TIM SCHERER
HO CHI MINH CITY FOR TIM SWANSON
GENEVA FOR RMA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREF CB VM
SUBJECT: QUIET, SMOOTH CAMBODIAN DEPORTATION OF EIGHT
MONTAGNARDS

REF: 07 PHNOM PENH 1458

1. (SBU) Eight Montagnard Vietnamese citizens departed a
UNHCR site in Phnom Penh by minivan headed for the
Cambodia-Vietnam border on April 9, 2008 as part of a forced
repatriation. All eight persons came to the UNHCR Cambodia
after May 1, the cutoff date for Montagnard arrivals to be
considered for U.S. resettlement if UNHCR denied them refugee
status. One of the deported individuals was female, seven
were male, all were adults.

2. (SBU) The early morning deportation went quietly and
without incident. Poloff was on site during the departure,
along with several UNHCR staff and approximately 10 Ministry
of Interior (MOI) Immigration Department officials. There
were no media or NGO representatives on site. Poloff could
see into the compound when the eight persons prepared to
board the vehicle; at least two appeared to be happily saying
their goodbyes to other Montagnard individuals and UNHCR
staff. As the minivan pulled out of the compound, each one
of the deported individuals waved goodbye, many of them
smiling. Three MOI officials accompanied the Montagnards to
the Vietnamese border, where they were to be turned over to
the Vietnamese authorities.

3. (SBU) UNHCR staff told poloff that Vietnamese officials
will "process" the Montagnards' arrival this afternoon. They
will then begin a drive directly to their home provinces in
the Central Highlands -- a journey that can take as long as
24 hours. The individuals are therefore expected to arrive
in their home villages late in the day on April 10.

4. (SBU) This is not the first forced repatriation of
Montagnard individuals who arrived in Cambodia after the May
1 cutoff date. During a recent meeting with DCM Piper
Campbell and UNHCR Deputy Regional Representative Giuseppe de
Vincentis and UNHCR Cambodia Country Representative
Thamrongsak Meechubot, Meechubot stated that a deportation of
two such individuals had taken place in late February, along
with one individual who arrived before May 1 but was
departing voluntarily. Given that the post-May 1 arrivals
had not been eligible for U.S. review after denied refugee
status by the UNHCR, the UNHCR presumed Embassy Phnom Penh
would not be interested in the repatriation proceeding. The
DCM stressed our continued interest and stated that it would
be best if Emboffs continue to be made aware of and monitor
the departure proceedings. UNHCR agreed to involve us in all
departure proceedings in the future.
MUSSOMELI

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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