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Cablegate: Gvn Responds to Criticism On Returned Migrants

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

REF: A. Phnom Penh 1162 B. Hanoi 1848 C. Hanoi 1829 D. State
133110 E. Phnom Penh 1178

1. (SBU) Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) Americas
Department Deputy Director General Pham Van Que called in
Acting DCM July 22 to respond to the Ambassador's demarche
July 21 (Ref B) and the State Department Spokesman's
statement on the repatriation of ethnic minority Vietnamese
migrants from the Central Highlands.

2. (SBU) Que said the GVN is aware of the concern of some
organizations and individuals regarding the return of the
migrants from Cambodia to Vietnam. The Governments of
Cambodia and Vietnam carried out the repatriation of the 94
migrants July 20, Que confirmed. The original intent was to
return 107 individuals, he said, but six had been allowed to
stay at the last minute, and seven had been found to be
Cambodian citizens. The 94 returnees will be well treated,
Que said, and will not face punishment for illegally
crossing the border. Further, local Vietnamese
representatives of UNHCR will be allowed to visit the area
and the migrants (and have already visited the area three
times recently) and the chief representative of UNHCR in
Bangkok will also be allowed to visit them.

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3. (SBU) Que explained that Vietnam is trying to avoid a
repeat of the experiences of the 1970s and 1980s when
Vietnamese citizens crossed the border in large numbers and
were kept indefinitely in refugee camps, not able to
resettle or return to Vietnam. Eventually, those citizens
were brought back under the "comprehensive program of
action" which was very successful; that is the model for
current Vietnamese treatment of its returned citizens.

4. (SBU) The Acting DCM made the point to Que that the
United States and the International Community are focused on
the issue of an international monitoring presence in the
Central Highlands to ensure that the returnees do not face
persecution or abuse. He encouraged the GVN to accept as
soon as possible UNHCR's request to station an expatriate as
the Chief of Mission in Hanoi. He passed on copies of the
letters sent by the High Commissioner for Refugees to the
Vietnamese UN Mission in Geneva and to Foreign Minister
Nguyen Dzy Nien proposing an Italian candidate for the
position and asked Que to forward them to the relevant
offices for quick and favorable consideration. Que agreed
to forward the letters. The Acting DCM also asked Que to
support the USG's request to have USG personnel visit the
returnees in the Central Highlands soon. Que was


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