The Embassy of Vietnam in Cambodia has told the Vietnamese-Cambodian community there not to worry, following a recent announcement that Cambodian authorities will revoke their personal documents.
A high-ranking official from the embassy has confirmed to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that only documents considered ‘improper’ would be revoked.
This does not mean that the Vietnamese Cambodians living in Cambodia will have their citizenship denied, he stated.
During a meeting on October 4, Cambodian Minister of Interior Sar Kheng said that the ministry was moving forward with a plan to revoke official documents from 70,000 individuals living in Cambodia, many of whom are people of Vietnamese origin born in the country, the Phnom Penh Post reported.
Such paperwork was “improperly” issued and mistakenly confers Cambodian citizenship on “immigrants,” according to Minister Sar Kheng.
The decision is the result of a sub-decree passed in August and will be carried out over the coming months, the Phnom Penh Post quoted Sok Phal, head of the Immigration Department, as saying.
“We don’t remove their citizenship, they are Vietnamese. We just take the Cambodian documents,” Phal stated.
Those who have lived in Cambodia for a long time can file an application with authorities to check whether they can get the status as an immigrant, he added.
|A representative lists the names of Vietnamese Cambodians in Pursat Province. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
Chau Van Chi, chairman of the Vietnamese-Cambodian general association, told Tuoi Tre on Friday that the ethnic Vietnamese community in Cambodia has been worried by the announcement.
Vietnam’s diplomatic representatives will invite representatives of the Vietnamese-Cambodian association to discuss the regulations with the Cambodian Ministry of Interior in Phnom Penh, Chi continued.
Currently, there are about 160,000 people of Vietnamese origin living in all 25 Cambodian provinces and cities.
People who have their documents revoked will face inconvenience in traveling, property ownership, bank transactions, and education for their children, he elaborated.
“Cambodian authorities will not force those who have their documents revoked to get out of the country. They have been naturally recognized as Cambodians but now they will need to register themselves as aliens,” Chi elaborated.
In accordance with Cambodian law, a person can only be granted Cambodian citizenship when the King has approved it, Chi said.
Those who have not obtained such approval can complete an alien registration in order to stay in the country.
“After seven years, immigrants are eligible for Cambodian citizenship, as long as they understand Cambodian culture, know how to write and read the native language, and have not broken the law,” he added.