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Nearly 600 Repatriated in Nine Months

Mom Kunthear / Khmer Times Share:
A Cambodian woman arrives home from Malaysia. KT/Mai Vireak

In the first nine months of the year, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cambodian embassies abroad have helped nearly 600 Cambodians who went to live and work abroad, legally or illegally, to return home. 
Foreign Ministry spokesman Chum Sounry said yesterday that the ministry and overseas embassies helped repatriate 578 Cambodians from 11 countries from January to September. 
He said the ministry, embassies and consulates abroad have tried to rescue and resolve any problems that happen to Cambodian citizens who go overseas – legally or illegally – to work or marry foreigners. 
“They have suffered many abuses by employers and were helped by embassies, consulates and the ministry by providing legal support such as providing lawyers in court, compensation, helping communicate and collaborate with local authorities to facilitate and provide work permits, visas and repatriation preparation,” Mr. Sounry said. 
The repatriated Cambodians included 174 from Vietnam, 150 from Malaysia, 133 from Thailand, 57 from Indonesia, 47 from China, nine from Japan, three from Singapore, two from Russia and one each from Laos, Saudi Arabia and Australia.
Moeurn Tola, the executive director of the Center for Alliance of Labor and Human Rights, expressed admiration for the activities of the ministry and overseas embassies.
“I admit the improvement in performance of some Cambodian embassies abroad such as in Malaysia. It’s better now if compared with 2013, 2014 and 2015,” he said.
Mr. Tola added that the embassies were lacking funds and had a shortage of human resources, making it difficult for officials to respond on time to Cambodians needing assistance. 
He also asked the embassies and the ministry to collaborate with organizations both inside and outside the country to investigate any accusations to resolve problems for Cambodian citizens residing overseas. 
Besides helping those who have been abused by their employers, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also helped request work permits for Cambodians in Thailand in the framework of a memorandum of understanding between the two countries. 
This includes 14,890 Cambodians who have gone to Thailand and 5,965 who have gone to work in South Korea so far this year.
In a statement Tuesday, ministry spokesman Mr. Sounry said 13 Cambodians who had gone to work in Thailand illegally were released and sent back by Thai authorities after intervention by the Cambodian consul-general.
In a Monday statement, Mr. Sounry said representatives from the Cambodian consulate in China rescued three women who had gone to China as brides, but were cheated by their brokers when their living conditions were starkly different than what was initially offered.

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