Last Updated: Monday, 19 February 2018, 14:34 GMT

U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 2004 - Cambodia

Publisher United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants
Publication Date 25 May 2004
Cite as United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 2004 - Cambodia , 25 May 2004, available at: [accessed 19 February 2018]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Over 120 refugees and asylum seekers from South and Southeast Asia resided in Cambodia, including 76 recognized by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and 46 with pending cases. During the year, around 90 people applied to UNHCR for refugee status, and 37 were granted.

Some 20 Montagnards from Vietnam remained under UNHCR protection at the end of 2003 and the United States resettled over 160 Montagnards.

At the end of 2003, some 16,000 Cambodian refugees remained in Vietnam. Most are ethnic Vietnamese who fled Cambodia between 1990 and 1995.

Two Afghans voluntarily returned home from Cambodia in 2003.

New Developments An unknown number of Montagnards were in hiding in Cambodia in danger of forced return. Of this group, 39 approached UNHCR for asylum. UNHCR received reports that hundreds of Montagnards fleeing ethnic and religious persecution attempted to enter or entered Cambodia from Vietnam, but were stopped by Cambodian border officials who declared them illegal immigrants. Those who were able to enter discreetly have no access to humanitarian assistance.

In November, Cambodian officials forcibly deported 11 Montagnards back to Vietnam who had been hiding in the forest since July. During the year, officials forcibly deported at least 100 more. Vietnam continued to press Cambodia to force back refugees and Vietnamese security forces sometimes joined Cambodian military and police in hunting them down. Montagnards who are deported face lengthy imprisonment upon return to Vietnam. Unconfirmed reports indicate some are tortured or killed. (See Vietnam Country Update.)

No refugees recognized by UNHCR were forcibly returned during the year but UNHCR is only allowed to assist those who reach Phnom Penh and is unable to protect those in border areas where refoulement takes place. It is difficult for Montagnards to reach the capital from the remote border areas.

In April, the Cambodian government said it would close the refugee transit center run by UNHCR in Phnom Penh following the resettlement of the 42 refugees currently residing there. Closing this center undermines UNHCR's ability to screen and protect Montagnard asylum seekers.

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