Deportee Advocacy Group Takes Fight to UN

A U.S.-based organization that advocates against the deportation of Cambodians who went to the U.S. as refugees is taking their fight to the U.N., according to a statement from the group.

The move comes days after U.S. President Donald Trump suspended the admission of all refugees into the U.S. for four months.

Cambodian refugees at the Khao I Dang refugee camp in Thailand flock toward a food distribution station. (Jack Dunford/DC-Cam Archives)

“As we enter into an era of uncertainty fueled by hate, racism and greed, our community has continued our fight both here in the US and in Cambodia to keep families together against deportation,” Sokorn Touch, 1Love Movement board chair, said in the statement.

Members of the 1Love Movement group were scheduled to announce and officially submit their appeal to the U.N. on Tuesday morning in Philadelphia.

The group called on the U.N. to urge the U.S. to review and revise its 2002 repatriation agreement with Cambodia, which allows for the deportation of Cambodian citizens who were convicted of felonies and served sentences in the U.S. Many of those facing deportation have never lived in Cambodia, having been born in Thai refugee camps.

Since 2002, 538 Cambodians who were lawful permanent residents of the U.S. have been deported to Cambodia under the bilateral agreement, according to NGO Returnee Integration Support Center, which helps deportees upon their arrival in Cambodia.

The 1Love Movement asked “the United Nations to acknowledge the international human rights violations inherent in US deportation, beginning with official inquiry into the US record of unjust deportation practices,” the statement said.

surrusco@cambodiadaily.com

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