Over 100,000 Cambodian migrant workers repatriated from Thailand

Phnom Penh – Thai authorities have repatriated more than 100,000 Cambodian migrant laborers back to Cambodia since early this month and the deportation is still going on, a senior official said Saturday night.

“As of Saturday, more than 100,000 Cambodian migrant workers, mostly illegal migrant workers, have been expelled from Thailand,” Ngor Mengchruon, governor of Poipet City, where the Cambodia- Thailand International Border Checkpoint is located, told Xinhua via telephone. “It is the largest-ever that Cambodian migrant workers have been deported from Thailand.”

He said about 40,000 workers were sent back to Cambodia on Friday and around 35,000 on Saturday.

“At the behest of Prime Minister Hun Sen, about 500 military trucks and passenger buses have been used to bring those workers from the border to their home provinces,” he said.

Local authorities, the Cambodian Red Cross and the International Organization for Migration are standing by to help those returnees and have provided them with food, water, and medical treatment, he said.

“Thai authorities have arrested and deported Cambodian migrant workers in a rush and have not paid attention to safety and well- being of Cambodian migrant laborers,” Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sar Kheng said in a statement.

He called on Thai authorities to think about safety, humanity, and human rights when transporting Cambodian migrant workers back to Cambodia.

Minister of Labor Ith Samheng said Friday that more than 200, 000 Cambodian laborers, including 80,000 legal migrant workers, have been working in Thailand.

On Wednesday, Koy Kuong, spokesman for the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the massive deportation was due to the Thai military coup, which forced factories and enterprises to stop using illegal migrant workers.

The business establishments had to allow illegal workers to return to their home countries.

The deportation came just weeks after Thailand’s army declared martial law and seized control of the government in a coup late last month. Source: Xinhua