Government and US discuss repatriation of Cambodian inmates

Ven Rathavong / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Ambassador Heidt with Mr Kheng. Supplied

Cambodia has asked the United States to delay the deportation of some of its citizens convicted of crimes in the US due to serious sicknesses and to wait until they get treatment.

The discussion took place in a meeting between Interior Minister Sar Kheng and US Ambassador to Cambodia William Heidt at the ministry yesterday.

After the meeting, the ministry’s spokesman said that Cambodia and the US intended to enhance cooperation in the fight against human trafficking.

Mr Heidt also asked about the process and results of interviewing Cambodians convicted of crimes who will be deported back to the kingdom, as well as raising the issue of Cambodians who arrived in the US after 1994.

“Cambodia asked to consider delaying the deportation of Cambodians who are seriously sick, and wait for them to get treatment,” Mr Kheng said in the meeting, according to the ministry spokesman.

In August, the US imposed visa restrictions on Foreign Affairs Ministry officials over the government’s lackluster cooperation in repatriating Cambodian nationals convicted of crimes.

Between 2002 and 2016, 549 people were forced to return to Cambodia.

The Interior Ministry sent its officials to interview the last 26 Cambodians waiting to be deported from the US before the visa sanctions were enforced.

Last week, senior director for Asian Affairs Matt Pottinger asked Cambodia to increase its cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security to show its willingness to find a solution on repatriation.

Mr Heidt also highlighted and thanked Cambodia’s actions in regards to fighting paedophilia and human trafficking.

“The US will continue its cooperation with Cambodian authorities to prevent the activities of paedophiles,” Mr Heidt said. “The US has received information that some US paedophiles are staying in Cambodia.”

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