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PM: Cambodia May Take in Rohingyas — Temporarily

Muny Sithyna / Khmer Times Share:
Myanmar rescued two migrant boats holding more than 200 people on Friday. Photo: Myanmar Ministry of Information

PHNOM PENH (Khmer Times) – Rohingya refugees could take shelter in Cambodia if a deal is to be struck between the government and the United Nations refugee agency.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen told his cabinet on Friday that the country could help the Rohingya muslims with temporary shelter if the UN office will find a third country for them to settle in.

“I have talked with Sar Kheng, interior minister, about the issue of the boat people,” said Prime Minister Hun Sen during his weekly cabinet meeting. “We are just thinking if we can help them by just providing temporary shelters/camps in Cambodia before UN will find third country to receive them.”

“Again, this is just a thought only and yet no decision has made,” he added. 

And so it was too soon for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to comment on the prospect of finding the third country to provide shelter. “Without knowing the details of any offer or proposal, I’d prefer not to speculate on our possible response,” UNHCR spokeswoman Vivian Tan told Khmer Times.

Prime Minister Hun Sen also explained to his cabinet that he has yet to talk with the UN on the issue, but it would be a lengthy procedure if the country were to take in the people stranded in the Andaman Sea. 

It is a long process in the sense if Cambodia was to accept the boat people,” Mr. Hun Sen said.  “Cambodia will then have to sign Memorandum of Understanding with UN on the issue.”

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