Cablegate: Ministry of Security Newspaper Accuses Unhcr Of

Published: Thu 30 Dec 2004 09:39 AM
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
E.O. 12958: N/A
REF: A) HANOI 2864, B) HANOI 3392, C) HCMC 1590, D) HANOI
1. (SBU) An Ninh The Gioi (World Security), a newspaper
published by the Ministry of Public Security (MPS), printed
a long article (excerpted below) on December 29 accusing two
UNHCR employees - Westerner Katy Grant and ethnic
Vietnamese Y Xuan - of having links with separatist groups
and attempting to cause instability in Vietnam's Central
Highlands by encouraging refugee outflows. The article
alleges that UNHCR camps contain terrible conditions, and
the two camp employees use threats of violence to keep
residents in line. It claims that thirteen attempted
migrants who returned to Vietnam in October (Ref. A) were
only allowed to leave after they agreed to become "Dega"
revolutionaries. Upon arriving in Vietnam, however, they
revealed the plot to authorities.
2. (SBU) A UNHCR source told poloff that the article was
"very, very bad," but attributed it to the "view of some
people" and not the "strategy of the Government of Vietnam
towards the UNHCR." He confirmed that Grant and Y Xuan were
employees of UNHCR, though not staff members. Speaking to
the press, Thamrongsak Meechubot, UNHCR Representative in
Cambodia, rejected the allegations as "clearly baseless."
Our source posited that the article was triggered by MPS
fears of attempted protests and a mass border crossing from
the Central Highlands on Christmas, which did not in the end
occur (Refs. B and C). This was an attempt by the MPS to
pass the blame for a border crossing onto foreign
instigators, rather than domestic problems, he suggested.
3. (SBU) Comment: While exaggerated propaganda in
Vietnamese newspapers is not unusual, such specific charges
against UNHCR employees are surprising. The allegations
appear to be largely the result of interrogations of the
thirteen Montagnards who returned to Vietnam in October, who
likely prepared a story to excuse their attempted migration.
Unfortunately we cannot dismiss the allegations as only the
views of a conservative faction in the MPS. The claims were
echoed by MFA Americas Department Director General Nguyen
Duc Hung in his December 24 demarche to the Charge (Ref. B),
and may be taken as true by a number of more liberal GVN
officials. If so, we fear that they may derail the budding
dtente between the GVN and UNHCR. (Ref. D) End Comment
//Begin Unofficial Embassy Partial Translation//
An Ninh The Gioi, December 29, 2004
On October 9, 2004, 13 ethnic minority individuals from the
Central Highlands returned to Dak Nong Province from the
"Temporary Residence Camp" set up by the UNHCR in Phnom
Penh. However, in truth it was not "voluntary
repatriation;" they were asked to intrude into Vietnam
illegally to entice and incite others to go, creating
security disorders in the Central Highlands. Surprisingly,
the ones who ordered, forced and organized this trip are
UNHCR staff in Cambodia.
A Ring to Bring People Across the Border
Owing to geographical location and history, the Mo-Nong, Gia
Rai, Ede... ethnic people have had fraternal relations with
those of the same ethnicities in Cambodia, especially in
areas close to the border. Taking advantage of this factor,
reactionary forces, which do not want a stable Central
Highlands, enticed and paid a number of individuals from
Cambodia to join with their relatives in Dak Nong to form
rings to illegally bring people across the border. Dieu
Klo, aka Ma Duyen, is an important part of this attempt.
When the FULRO exiles attempted to build the Dega
Protestantism, and an independent Dega State, Ma Duyen
secretly met with several individuals... in order to incite
them to join him. Since June 2002, these individuals have
had many meetings with a leader named Dieu N'Gai to map out
ways to create disorders in the localities, to collect
information, fabricate it into reports, then send them to Ma
Duyen. Ma Duyen was supposed to send it to the United
Nations, but in fact he sent it to UNHCR in Cambodia. In
March 2004, leader Dieu N'Gai told his men to flee to
Cambodia, then leave for the U.S. from there. As soon as Ma
Duyen arrived in Cambodia, Y Xuan, a UNHCR camp employee,
along with other FULRO leaders, provided Ma Duyen with
"lessons" with fabricated contents to learn by heart....
Temporary Residence Camp No. 1 -- The Hell
The camp has two sections. Newcomers stay in one room on
the second floor of a three-story building. Each floor has
three rooms. Ninety-one people including ten Ede, 26 Mo
Nong, and the rest Gia Rai crowd in one narrow, stinking
room. The camp is surrounded by four-meter high walls, and
well guarded by four Cambodian police officers taking turns.
These 91 individuals share one water tank and two WCs, on
the average each person takes a bath once a week, sometimes
once every two weeks. One camp member can have only three
kilograms of rice, 100 grams of meat, two eggs, some salt
and vegetables for a week. Recalling the days in the camp,
Dieu Maih bitterly said "in the camp, you are considered as
pigs. Pigs even have more to eat to grow. They don't need
us to grow, so we were hungry all the time...."
Unable to wait to go to a third or fourth country by sitting
like caged animals, the group of 26 Mo Nong people staged a
protest. The UNHCR representatives at the camp has showed
their "humanitarian mission" and "human rights values" by
inciting the other 75 individuals to suppress and
threatening, even beating the 26 Mo Nong. In this case, the
Cambodian police had to intervene. Also by encouraging camp
members to entice and bring more people there from Vietnam,
some people representing the UNHCR are apparently turning
the task for collecting refugees into business
Temporary Residence Camp or Training School for Violence?
--------------------------------------------- ------------
Four days after receiving a request to leave the camp by a
group of 13 people, on May 30, 2004, Y Xuan and Dieu Day
convened all camp members and declared that the UNHCR would
not allow anyone to return. The season Y Xuan stated was
that the trip back to Vietnam would reveal the ring to
illegally bring people here from Vietnam, and FULRO
Unable to wait any longer, this group of 13 individuals
began to agitate. Their moments lifted the disguise of the
UNHCR. Katy Grant, camp deputy head, along with Y Xuan had
private talks with each of the individuals: "Once back in
Vietnam, you should try to work for Dega. When the Dega
revolution succeeds, you'll get big rewards, and hold
certain positions. If you don't follow us, you'll be
punished". Katy even trained those men how to deal with
police by making a disguise or cover. She said "once in
Vietnam, you need to immediately report to the local
authorities. Tell them that it was too difficult in the
camp, you were left hungry and even beaten so that the
authorities would not suspect you. In any case, don't
mention any contact with UNHCR and your tasks." Katy showed
that she is far-sighted by saying that "to avoid attention,
you should be back to normal when you are in the village.
Don't work for us until after two months have passed." "If
you work effectively, UNHCR will provide you with equipment
and money."
Accepting to work for Katy Grant and other extremists in the
camp was the only way to escape from their plight;
therefore, the 13 individuals agreed. On October 5 they
left for Vietnam. But they were aware that they were doing
the wrong thing, so they confessed the truth as soon as they
arrived home....
It is surprising and shameful that Katy Grant and Y Xuan, as
representatives of (the UNHCR) are on purpose turning this
camp into a place for enticing people and training them how
to create disorders. Katy Grant and Y Xuan know clearly
that Vietnam does not have religious or ethnic conflicts;
the State of Vietnam has always been striving to bring about
a more stable, developed and richer life for all ethnic
groups nationwide including those in the Central Highlands.
Therefore, no one in the temporary residence camp is
eligible to be considered refugees. By accepting and
supporting it, they contribute to greatly interfering in
Vietnam's internal affairs, independence and sovereignty....
The final point is that we don't understand if UNHCR knows
or does not know about these illegal and ill-intentioned
activities by its staff such as Katy Grant and Y Xuan. If
it does, we can never understand why this organization has
not taken any measures to prevent or correct its staff. In
the meantime, it always says that its mission is
By Nguyen Hong Lam
//End Unofficial Embassy Partial Translation//
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