Cablegate: 13 Montagnards Return to Vietnam

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.





E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: 13 Montagnards Return to Vietnam

Reftels: A) Hanoi 2485 and previous; B) Phnom Penh 1629 and


1. (SBU) UNHCR Vietnam Country Representative Vu Anh Son
reported to us October 18 that the 13 Montagnards who had
originally sought resettlement from Cambodia but ultimately
decided to return to Vietnam -- with or without UNHCR's
assistance -- had indeed returned to Vietnam. According to
Son, the 13 decided to strike off on their own from Phnom
Penh rather than wait for UNHCR and the GVN to reach an
agreement on the modalities of their repatriation. The 13
Montagnards crossed into Vietnam on October 12 and UNHCR was
currently unaware of their welfare and whereabouts, Son

2. (SBU) According to Thai Xuan Dung, Deputy Head of the
External Consular Relations section of MFA's Department of
Consular Affairs (the office in charge of this issue), the
13 had "returned home safely." Dung told us October 21
that, thanks to the assistance of local authorities, the 13
had been able to be reunited with their families. In a
separate conversation, ConGen HCMC DPO raised the return of
the 13 with an official in Ho Chi Minh City's External
Relations Office. At the time, the official had no
substantive response but noted that, if the 13 had crossed
into Vietnam "illegally," they would be in "big trouble."
Earlier, GVN officials had announced that Montagnards that
chose to return voluntarily would not/not be punished.

3. (SBU) Comment: We will attempt to confirm MFA's
assertion that the 13 have returned home safely, but this is
often easier said than done. Our experience has been that
getting any information at all from central government and
provincial authorities on Central Highlands migration
questions has been difficult. Previous inquiries related to
this issue have been studiously ignored, we believe because
the GVN considers the Central Highlands a matter of
"national security." End Comment.


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