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Thousands of Cambodians leave Thailand fearing government crackdown

Tens of thousands of Cambodian migrants have left Thailand, where there are fears that the military government may crack down on illegal workers, with reports of forced deportations emerging.

Reports indicate that up to 100,000 Cambodians, mainly migrant labourers, have left Thailand since the beginning of this month. The exodus seems to have been triggered by reports that the government, recently taken over by the Thai military, is set to crack down on illegal migrants.

Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sar Kheng also accused the Thai authorities of forcefully deporting migrant workers, saying in a statement,

"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 labourers".

The Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee (CHRAC), a coalition of 21 NGOs, also stated that some have died in the process, calling on the Thai government to respect the migrants rights. See their statement here.

Leul Mekonnen, the International Organisation for Migration’s acting chief of mission in Cambodia also spoke on the events, saying,

“There are usually only about 100 migrants coming through each day… But we are already seeing more than 1,000 a day and we do not know what the coming days hold.”