Cambodian refugees return from Thailand
A total of 601 refugees from two refugee camps in Thailand, Phu Noi and Huay Cherng, repatriated voluntarily today to destinations of their choice in Cambodia. The departure of 322 people from Phu Noi effectively emptied and closed the camp which had opened 9 months ago in May 1998.
The camp had housed some 15,000 refugees. Starting on January 12, 1999, UNHCR assisted approximately 4,100 persons to return home. The rest of the camp population went back by themselves, spontaneously, to Anlong Veng, Cambodia.
With the closure of Phu Noi there remain 2 UNHCR-assisted camps for Cambodians in Thailand: Chong Khao Phlu in Trat Province, with a population of 14,818 persons and Huay Cherng in Surin Province where the population total is now 4,696.
UNHCR-assisted voluntary repatriation from Huay Cherng Camp is continuing, while the first movement from Chong Khao Phlu to Samlot District in Battambang Province is expected to take place very soon. Negotiations are underway with the Cambodian authorities to ensure.that principal repatriation routes and arrival points in Samlot district are cleared of mines. Demining agencies have been requested to identify emergency mine clearance and demarcation requirements critical to the safety of the returnee communities.