Search

 

Cablegate: Cambodia: Repatriation of 32 Montagnards Mostly

VZCZCXRO2211
PP RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH
DE RUEHPF #0637/01 2170153
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 040153Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY PHNOM PENH
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHHM/AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH PRIORITY 0143
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY 1664

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 PHNOM PENH 000637

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR EAP/MLS, PRM, AND DRL
BANGKOK FOR REFCOORD TIM SCHERER
GENEVA FOR RMA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREF PHUM VN CB
SUBJECT: CAMBODIA: REPATRIATION OF 32 MONTAGNARDS MOSTLY
QUIET, ONE FORCED INTO CAR BY POLICE

REF: PHNOM PENH 590

PHNOM PENH 00000637 001.2 OF 002


1. (SBU) Summary: An involuntarily repatriation proceeding
of 32 Montagnard persons took place in a mostly quiet manner
and without disruption during the early morning of August 1.
In contrast to the repatriation that took place on July 18
(reftel), there was no protest during the August 1
proceeding. Several journalists observed the departure from
outside of the UNHCR site. Poloff also monitored the
proceeding. However, one Montagnard person adamantly refused
to leave; it was not until after the official deportation
proceeding was complete and Poloff and journalists had left
that the police physically removed him from the site and into
a car headed for the Vietnam border. UNHCR observers and
police reported that no assault or physical injury took place
during his removal, but we are disappointed we did not have
the opportunity to observe ourselves. End summary.

Repatriation Relatively Quiet -- No Demonstration
--------------------------------------------- ----

2. (SBU) In the early morning hours of August 1, 31
Montagnard individuals left on a bus, involuntarily
repatriated to Vietnam. All but two of the individuals had
arrived at UNHCR in Phnom Penh after May 1, 2007. Compared
to the repatriation and demonstration on July 18, the August
1 proceeding was relatively quiet. A few minutes before the
bus of deportees left, Poloff heard persons in Site 1 bang
momentarily on metal parts of the site structure and make
some shouting noises. UNHCR reported that the noise was
quieted by police sending officers inside. Poloff did not
observe police entering Site 1 and did not hear more noise
from the site. According to Ministry of Interior Deputy
Director of Internal Security Sovann, the police verbally
calmed the group in Site 1 by explaining to them they were
not involved with the repatriation from Site 2.

One Montagnard Forced Into Car
------------------------------

3. (SBU) Minutes after the bus departed Site 2 -- where
individuals who have been determined not to be refugees are
housed, UNHCR staff reported to Poloff that one of the 32
individuals had adamantly refused to leave, and that UNHCR
and the MOI decided not to force him to go. At this point,
Poloff left the site, as reportedly did all of the
journalists. UNHCR told Emboffs later that four police
officers put the individual -- named Siu Thai -- into a car
rented by the MOI. Three UNHCR staff and MOI Deputy Director
Sovann witnessed the movement of Siu Thai into the car and
reported that no assault or beating took place. Police then
reportedly escorted Siu Thai to the Vietnam border where he
was met by Vietnamese officials along with the other 31
Montagnard individuals.

MOI Acted To Avoid Demonstration
--------------------------------

4. (SBU) In the days before the repatriation, the Cambodian
Ministry of Interior temporarily transfered Montagnard
individuals who were not scheduled for repatriation out of
UNHCR Site 2 to Site 3. Sites 1 and 2 are adjacent to one
another, and are where the demonstration took place two weeks
ago. Site 3 is located on a different street. UNHCR
reported that there were no disturbances while the
individuals were transferred from Site 2 to Site 3. There
have also been no reports of Montagnard persons "running
away" out of the sites since the July 18 demonstration.

Two Pre-May 1, 2007 Arrivals Repatriated
----------------------------------------

5. (SBU) Two of the Montagnard individuals -- Ksor H'Nut and
her daughter Ksor H'Ai -- arrived at UNHCR in Cambodia before
May 1, 2007, and had therefore been referred to the U.S. for
consideration for U.S. resettlement despite having been
determined not to be refugees by UNHCR. According to UNHCR
Phnom Penh, the two pre-May 1, 2007 arrivals were denied U.S.
resettlement by DHS/CIS in early April 2008. Later in April,
they filed a Request For Review (RFR) of the decision with
DHS, which was also denied in early June. The other 30
Montagnard persons arrived after May 1, 2007.

Comment
-------

PHNOM PENH 00000637 002.2 OF 002

6. (SBU) While the Montagnard persons were boarding the bus
for Vietnam, Voice of America and Phnom Penh Post
photographers were taking many photos, noticably irritating
the police and other Ministry of Interior officials. As
Poloff is not authorized to enter the site without advance
written permission from the MFA, the MOI officials still
agreed to keep open the door to the site despite their
irritation with the press. In Poloff's opinion, the press
asked questions with a notable slant that the police and
UNHCR were doing something wrong. However, the MOI keeping
the doors of the site open offered a window for all who care
to see that the departure took place calmly and without
violence, and without apparent inappropriate behavior by
officials. In response to a VOA inquiry to the Embassy
today, post responded that the security and protection of
Montagnard individuals who have fled Vietnam to seek asylum
in Cambodia has been one of the highest priorities of this
Embassy, and Embassy officials observe repatriatons from the
UNHCR sites to ensure that the departures are conducted in
accordance with UNHCR and Cambodian procedures.
MUSSOMELI

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC