21 April 2010
by Kim Yuthana and David Boyle
Phnom Penh Post
A GROUP of 22 Khmer Krom asylum seekers, many of whom crossed into Cambodia from Thailand in December, have pleaded with the local UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) for an extension of a financial assistance package that was set to expire on Tuesday.
The group’s unofficial leader, Thach Soong, said Tuesday that he would also travel to the local office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to “push the government” to give the asylum-seekers identity cards, though that agency has repeatedly said that it cannot involve itself in the case.
The group has consistently been denied identity cards – which members say are essential for landing jobs and securing housing, among other things – for reasons such as the fact that they lack a permanent address.
James Heenan, deputy representative of the human rights commission, said in an email that the organisation was committed to “push for an acceptable and durable solution”, but did not say whether the financial assistance would be extended.