Agreement reached on repatriation of 1,000 Montagnards
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia, Jan. 22 (UNHCR) - The governments of Viet Nam and Cambodia signed an agreement with the U.N. refugee agency to repatriate some 1,000 Montagnards who fled Viet Nam's Central Highlands almost one year ago.
The agreement, signed in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh Monday, gives the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees access to the area where the Montagnards will be returning. Agency officials will visit the area before the actual repatriation takes place and will monitor their progress once they have returned.
The Vietnamese government assured both Cambodian officials and UNHCR that the returning Montagnards will be well treated and not be the subject of reprisals or discriminatory treatment. The Montagnards claimed they fled to Cambodia to escape persecution by the Vietnamese.
"UNHCR is pleased with the agreement, which will finally enable the Montagnards to go home in a safe and dignified manner," Chris Janowski, a UNHCR spokesman, told a press briefing in Geneva.