Cablegate: Unhcr Makes Second Central Highlands Visit
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS HANOI 001683
STATE FOR EAP/BCLTV AND PRM, BANGKOK FOR REFUGEE
COORDINATOR, GENEVA FOR RMA
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PHUM PREF VM ETMIN HUMANR
SUBJECT: UNHCR MAKES SECOND CENTRAL HIGHLANDS VISIT
Reftel: Hanoi 1184 and previous
1. (SBU) UNHCR Officer-in-Charge for Vietnam Vu Anh Son made
a second visit to ethnic minority returnees in the Central
Highlands province of Gia Lai. He told Poloff that the June
22-25 trip went "very well" and that he has now met with 35
of the 40 individuals voluntarily returned from Cambodia.
Son reported being escorted only by two officials from the
Provincial People's Committee during his trip. He said that
none of the returnees reported abuses, and that the five
returnees in the most recent group spent only two days being
instructed on government policies and their rights before
returning home, down from five days for the first returnees
(reftel). The Vietnamese press carried accounts of the
visit, which described the individuals as having been
"invited by negative elements to unlawfully leave the
country," but that they now vowed never to do as again.
2. (SBU) Son noted that he had met with a returnee whom some
foreign ethnic-minority "advocates" had claimed was arrested
in late May. The individual said that he had not been
arrested, but rather asked by local authorities to
participate in "making some propaganda" to dissuade others
from going to Cambodia. Aside from this example, Son said
he found the local authorities very aware of the attention
focused on the returnees and were treating them extremely
generously as a result. Many were given rice by
authorities, and some said they had been offered cows free
3. (SBU) Son had requested the visit on June 14 and received
permission to travel on June 21. "I was very surprised that
the authorities approved the visit so quickly," he said.
Son added that, upon his return to Hanoi, he received a call
from the MFA asking when he plans to make a third trip. Son
noted that he does not plan to make another visit until more
individuals have returned from Cambodia.
4. (SBU) Comment: We are pleased to see that the GVN is
becoming more comfortable with UNHCR monitoring visits. We
will continue to support this trend and encourage the
Government to allow an international participant on future
visits. End comment.