Viewing cable 04HANOI1224
Title: VIETNAM AND UNHCR -- STORM CLOUDS REMAIN

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
04HANOI12242004-04-28 09:46:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Hanoi
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS HANOI 001224 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
 
STATE FOR PRM AND EAP/BCLTV 
 
GENEVA AND BANGKOK FOR REFCOORD 
 
E.O. 12958:  N/A 
TAGS: PREF PREL PHUM VM ETMIN HUMANR
SUBJECT:  VIETNAM AND UNHCR -- STORM CLOUDS REMAIN 
 
REF:  HANOI 1076 
 
¶1.  (SBU)  Summary.  The GVN continues to blame UNHCR for a 
role at least in encouraging flights by Montagnards from the 
Central Highland and insists that the UNHCR staff in 
Cambodia is "anti-Vietnam."  The MFA has yet to agree to an 
expected visit next week by senior UNHCR officials.  While 
the meeting likely will take place, Embassy is skeptical 
that it will be productive.  End Summary. 
 
¶2.  (SBU) In a conversation with Pol/C at a reception on 
April 27, MFA Consular Department Director General Bui Dinh 
Dinh (who has taken the lead on Montagnard and UNHCR issues 
over the past several years, given this Department's 
responsibility for the "protection" of Vietnamese nationals) 
was quite direct in discussing what he claimed was the role 
of the UNHCR staff in Cambodia in encouraging the flight of 
Montagnards into Cambodia.  (Reftel reports on similar 
charges cited by AFM Nguyen Duc Hung to Ambassador shortly 
after the April 10-11 demonstrations.)  Dinh claimed that 
the GVN had "proof" that UNHCR officials in Cambodia had 
been active along the border offering payments of 500,000 
VND (USD 35) to those who tried to cross and another US$300 
payment to those who succeeded.  He claimed that the "proof" 
was detailed as to places, persons, and exact times, and 
included many instances.  He cited these alleged actions as 
further "proof" of anti-Vietnam policy by UNHCR. 
 
¶3.  (SBU)  Pol/C maintained his belief that there was not 
now nor had ever been any UNHCR policy to USG knowledge to 
encourage border crossings or to offer payments to 
Montagnards who tried or succeeded in entering Cambodia.  He 
noted that, even if there may have been private individuals 
offering assistance or encouragement, the GVN needed to be 
very cautious in distinguishing between such private acts 
and UNHCR policy and actions.  He stressed that UNHCR had an 
explicit mandate to examine asylum requests and to aid those 
determined to have a valid claim to refugee status, and that 
UNHCR's international reputation for fulfilling its mandate 
was outstanding.   He urged the GVN to be very careful 
before making such accusations and to refrain from lashing 
out publicly against such a respected institution.  Dinh, 
noting that he was a trained international lawyer, asserted 
that UNHCR actions in Cambodia vis-a-vis the Montagnards 
were in no way consistent with international law. 
 
¶4.  (SBU)  Dinh, citing a "lack of goodwill" from UNHCR, 
added that the MFA had yet to agree to a planned May 3-4 
visit to Hanoi by UNHCR Asia Director Fakhouri and Bangkok- 
based regional director Uktan.  (Note:  They are scheduled 
to meet with Ambassador and Pol/C on May 3.  End note) 
Pol/C emphasized that UNHCR's willingness to send such 
senior officials to Vietnam was itself an act of goodwill, 
and urged the MFA to proceed with the meetings and re- 
institute formal dialogue with the UNHCR, as well as to seek 
ways in which UNHCR could be a part of the solution to the 
long-standing Montagnard issue.  He also urged the GVN to 
take further steps to improve the situation in the Central 
Highlands so that the impetus for leaving Vietnam would 
diminish, and to make local residents less susceptible to 
any blandishments or encouragement from what the GVN 
believes are "hostile forces." 
 
¶5.  (SBU)  Ambassadors from New Zealand, Australia, Norway, 
and Switzerland, as well as a group representing UN agencies 
in Vietnam, are tentatively scheduled to visit the Central 
Highlands on a GVN-arranged trip during the week of May 10. 
One expressed concern to Pol/C about the utility of such a 
trip at this time, and asked for a full read-out after the 
ongoing trip by US missionoffs. 
 
¶6.  (SBU)  Comment:  Not for the first time, the GVN prefers 
to blame outside scapegoats for troubles here.  GVN 
officials have clearly not yet gotten our message to work 
with UNHCR as part of the solution, and unfortunately still 
seem bent on proceeding in exactly the opposite direction. 
We believe that the MFA will in the end agree to see the 
UNHCR delegation, but predict a stormy session that is 
likely to be counterproductive. 
BURGHARDT