UNHCR to help out Montagnards

PHNOM PENH: The UN refugee agency said yesterday that its officials were departing for Cambodia's remote border with Vietnam to help Montagnards who fled the April unrest in the neighbouring country. 

Hundreds of the Christian Montagnards are reportedly hiding in the area but the government has until now refused access to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other groups, fearful of their fate in the malaria-infested jungle. 

“We will go and see the situation first and if the asylum-seekers need help, we will provide emergency help to them,” UNHCR's country representative Thamrongsak Meechubot said. 

“We need to see the situation first because we haven't been there for a long time,” he said, adding that two UNHCR officers along with a ministry of foreign affairs team were travelling to north-eastern Ratanakiri province yesterday. 

Thamrongsak said the government gave the thumbs up to the trip at a meeting on Wednesday with UNHCR and ministry officials. He said he would travel there personally later. – AFP  

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