Detained Vietnamese Montagnards In Cambodia Now With UNHCR


Seventeen Vietnamese of the Montagnard ethnic minority detained in Cambodia after fleeing alleged persecution in Vietnam were handed over to the United Nations yesterday, Agence France-Presse reports.

The group was seized Sunday along with two journalists, human rights worker Pen Bunna of the human rights group ADHOC and his interpreter, who had searched for them in a remote region of northeastern Cambodia.

About 198 refugees have been detained after arriving in Cambodia following a violent Vietnamese government crackdown on April protests over religious freedoms and land confiscation. Human Rights Watch has said that 10 Montagnards were killed during the violence, but Vietnam puts the number at two.

Amid international pressure, Cambodia permitted the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees and ADHOC access to northeastern Ratanakiri province to search for Montagnards fleeing Vietnam. The U.N. agency started interviewing 31 of the refugees in Phnom Penh earlier this week and another 38 arrived in the capital today (AFP, July 28).