Deprived of citizenship, the Vietnamese of Cambodia live on the edge of society

According to a 2014 report on the living conditions of Vietnamese in Cambodia, it is estimated that nine in ten ethnic Vietnamese in Cambodia are undocumented.

Situated in the center of Cambodia is the Tonlé Sap lake, translated as the “Great Lake.” Its length reaches 250 km, spanning several provinces and cities. Connected to the capital city Phnom Penh by its long river system, the Tonlé Sap lake and river have sustained the development of the country throughout its rich history.

Cambodia shares its eastern border and large parts of its history with Vietnam. Periods of wars and immigration between the two countries have led to a significant population of ethnic Vietnamese living in Cambodia today. The tense history between the two nations has influenced the perceptions of ordinary citizens to this day, with many Khmers continuing to view the Vietnamese with resentment and suspicion.

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