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PM calls on US to end deportations

Ven Rathavong / Khmer Times Share:

Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday urged the United States to amend the agreement covering the repatriation of  Cambodians convicted of crimes.
Mr. Hun Sen said Cambodia wanted to amend the agreement based on human rights.  
“This agreement would not be removed but we have asked for an amendment,” he said, adding that once deported, convicted Cambodians would be away from their children, wives and families forever. 
Mr. Hun Sen said Cambodians jailed in the US could be visited by their families at any time but faced permanent separation from their families if deported.
Laws allowing the US to deport foreign-born individuals jailed for more than a year were passed in 1996. Cambodia agreed in 2002 to accept back its former citizens.
Mr. Hun Sen said he hopes the US will agree to allow Cambodians jailed in the US to remain there so they can continue to be visited by their families.
“We have only this requirement. I hope the US administration understands the Cambodia government’s policy on humanity and human rights,” he said. 
“We hope that the father of human rights, the US, respects human rights and accepts our request to amend this agreement.”
On Tuesday after the meeting between Foreign Affairs Minister Prak Sokhonn and US deputy assistant secretary of state Patrick Murphy, ministry spokesman Chum Sounry confirmed that the deportation of Cambodian criminals convicted in the US would be suspended pending the requested revision of the agreement.
This year, Cambodia has agreed to receive 34 deportees, however only eight have been repatriated so far. 
From 2002 until last year, 549 people were forced to return to Cambodia.

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