Gov’t: ‘Immigration Campaign’ To Stop Anti-Ethnic Vietnamese ‘Nationalism’

The Cambodian Interior Ministry said its handling of immigration issues, especially with ethnic Vietnamese minority groups in the country, was an attempt to stifle “nationalistic politics” used by the opposition to target the government.

The Interior Ministry on Friday released a statement highlighting its achievements in addressing long-standing immigration issues from 2014 to June 2019, which had seen residency documentation presented to 89,786 people, 89,741 of whom were ethnic Vietnamese. During the same time, the government had revoked the documentation of 69,957 people, with 69,878 people from the ethnic minority group.

The Ministry of Interior referred to both groups of people – those with and without documentation – as “foreigners,” despite rights groups saying that the ethnic Vietnamese communities had lived in Cambodia for generations and faced persecution on account of their precarious legal status. They were also persecuted by the Khmer Rouge and their persecution resulted in genocide charges and convictions against two senior regime leaders.

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