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Indonesia urged to protect Thai boat migrants

Ven Rathavong / Khmer Times Share:
Ambassador Pitono Purnomo with Hun Sen. Supplied

Prime Minister Hun Sen has urged Indonesia to help Cambodian migrant workers on Thai fishing boats.

He made the call in a meeting yesterday with the outgoing Indonesian Ambassador Pitono Purnomo.

Mr Hun Sen also urged more cooperation on trade and defence matters, said Kao Kim Huon, minister attached to the Prime Minister.

The Cambodian embassy in Jakarta has rescued many Cambodian workers who were trafficked in Thailand and later arrested for illegally fishing in Indonesian waters.

Mr Hun Sen told the ambassador that Cambodian migrant workers were often forced to work on Thai fishing boats, since they were victims of human trafficking.

He requested Indonesia’s help to stop victims becoming criminalised.

Mr Kim Huon said the closed-door meeting with the ambassador lasted more than one hour. Both sides agreed to boost annual trade between the countries, which currently stands at $450 million.

“Mr Hun Sen would like to see expanded cooperation on defence sector training courses and exchanges,” he said, adding that Indonesia has already cooperated with Cambodia to provide many training courses to military officers.

The Prime Minister said that in the past, the foreign ministries of both countries held annual meetings to share experience and information, but these had been suspended since 2012.

Mr Kim Huon said the Prime Minister asked the ambassador to re-establish the meetings.

“The ambassador supported the call and will report back to his government with the request,” the minister said.

Mr Kim Huon said Indonesian military officers and a naval ship would visit Cambodia this month.

“The ambassador is happy that cooperation on national defence is moving forward,” he said.

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