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Monday, 4 March, 2002, 17:48 GMT
UN envoy criticises Cambodia
A senior United Nations official says Cambodia violated international law by forcibly deporting 63 Vietnamese refugees over the weekend.

The official, human rights envoy Peter Leuprecht, said he was deeply concerned that Cambodia had denied the members of the Montagnard Vietnamese minority access to UN officials.

He also said there was evidence some of the Montagnards had been maltreated, with five refugees in a Cambodian camp being struck by an electric baton after speaking out against repatriation.

Earlier this year the United Nations and the two governments agreed a voluntary repatration programme for more than 1,000 Vietnamese Montagnards.

They had fled into Cambodia complaining of persecution and repression by Hanoi government officials.

But repatriations were suspended after criticism from the United States and human rights groups. The agreement came under further strain after the two governments set a deadline of 30 April for the return of all the refugees

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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