The exodus of thousand of refugees from Cambodia into neighbouring Vietnam and Thailand continues in a steady stream.
The exodus of thousand of refugees from Cambodia into neighbouring Vietnam and Thailand continues in a steady stream. Some twenty thousand refugees are living temporarily in Ben-Shahn village in the Tay Ninh province of Vietnam, according to Soviet Television, which recently had a film team in the village.
SYNOPSIS: The Soviet correspondent reported that eighty percent of Cambodian refugees in the village were women and children, and their relatives had been killed, arrested or lost. Vietnamese authorities are providing them with materials to build homes, as well as giving food and monthly grants. One anguished refugee told her story. She in Nuon Sayun, a member of a poor rice-growing family from the village of Prey Top in Svay Rieng province.
She was speaking of a policy of terror by the communist Cambodian government, with many members of her village slaughtered, either shot or battered to death. A British government report, released in September, said many hundreds of thousands of people had perished in Cambodia directly or indirectly through the policies of the regime, which came to power three years ago. The report mentioned wide-scale executions, forcible evacuation of cities, and complete suppression of the Buddhist religion.
Life in Ben-Shahn village is quiet after the turmoil, blood-shed and harassment these refugees have claimed that they and their relatives had suffered. They told the visiting television team that, in Cambodia, women and children were being used for tough physical labour; that schools were closing leaving children without means of education; that wages were not being paid, and a lot of money had simply gone out of circulation
Another refugee, Nuon Varin, told how her life had collapsed. Before the ??? took over in Phnom-Penh, the Cambodian capital, she had taught at a primary school; her husband was a hospital doctor. Sent from the city to toil in the country-side, she had become separated side, she had become separated from her husband, about whom she had not since heard a single word.
Nuon Varin described her work conditions, and life, after resettlement as unbearable. Each morning at three o'clock, they were awaken to labour in the fields until darkness, pausing briefly for a lunch consisting of a single bowl of salted rice.