Thursday, January 27, 2005

Three Montagnards sentenced, refugee pact signed

Two ethnic minority highlanders received sentences of 10 years and another 11 years for their alleged anti-government activities at the conclusion of a trial held in a Central Highlands court on Wednesday (Jan. 25). Convicted were Ksor Vung, 36, Ksor Thup, 53, and Hlun, 37. They were accused of "undermining national unity" and receiving direct instructions from the exile FULRO group to "foment the establishment of a Dega state, led by Kok Ksor, beat Kinh majority people, hold demonstrations and instigate people to flee to Cambodia." (Agence France Presse Jan. 26, Associated Press, International Herald Tribune Jan. 27, Deutsche Presse-Agentur Jan. 26).

On Tuesday (Jan. 25) a pact was signed between Vietnam, Cambodia and the UNHCR on the repatriation or resettlement of approximately 700 Montagnard asylum seekers in Cambodia, after a day and a half of talks in Hanoi. Under the agreement some will be allowed to resettle abroad and others will be sent back, either voluntarily or by force. Cambodian officials have said all the Montagnards will have to leave within a month. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur Jan. 25; Agence France Presse Jan. 24, U.N. News Centre Jan. 27; see also Human Rights Watch report, Jan. 10.


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