Montagnards Nearing Resettlement in the US

The first of more than 900 Montagnard refugees waiting to be resettled in the US are expected to be cleared to leave Cambo­dia by the end of the month, a source close to the resettlement process said Tuesday.

The Montagnards, who fled Vietnam’s Central Highlands and have spent much of the last year in UN camps in Ratanakkiri and Mondolkiri provinces, are currently being interviewed by US immigration officials.

“Up to now, 726 of the refugees have been given passports and visas,” Interior Ministry official Mok Chito told Reuters Monday. “We expect them to begin leaving for America before the end of the month.”

They will be moved to the US state of North Carolina, home to  the largest community of Mon­tagnards in the US.

But while local authorities view the resettlement as the end to a one year-long refugee situation that often strained relations between Cambodia and Vietnam, the source said Montagnard asylum seekers continue to cross the border into Cambo­dia.

A group of 70 was reportedly hiding in the jungles of Mondol­kiri earlier this month and more than twice that number are now said to be making their way into Cambodia, the source said.

Provincial police have so far not confirmed the existence of any other Montagnards, and the government continues to maintain that any caught inside Cam­bodia will be deported as illegal immigrants.

Related Stories

Latest News