Sunday, 27 February 2011

Border spat forces families to live apart

via CAAI

Published: 27/02/2011

SI SA KET : The Thai-Cambodian border dispute has not only shattered relations between the countries but also torn apart families living in the border area.

LEFT ALONE: Cambodian Samniang Yon, pictured with her nephew, has been separated from her Thai husband since early this month.

"It has resulted in our family splitting up. I cannot come home now," said Yon Kimsan, a 36-year-old Cambodian woman whose husband is Thai.

Since the border tensions flared, Thai authorities have banned Cambodians who used to live on the Thai side with their families from spending the night on Thai soil.

They are required to travel back to Cambodia at the end of the day after finishing work.

As a result, many Cambodians, including Yon who is hired by a Thai employer as a vegetable vendor at the Chong Sa-ngam Pass border crossing in Si Sa Ket, can no longer stay with their families in Thailand at night.

Yon used to live with her Thai husband and 10-year-old daughter in a house on the Thai side of the border before the violence erupted on Feb 4.

The border situation has also prompted Yon's husband, Boonphoon On-pheng, 60, and their daughter to take shelter at their other home in Nong Khai.

As a result, Yon has been left alone and is forced to commute between Thailand and Cambodia for her job.

"Since the [first round of] clashes [between Cambodian and Thai troops], I've not seen my husband," said Yon.

"We've talked on the phone sometimes ... but we're so far away from each other," Yon said.

The border dispute might have caused a rift between Thailand and Cambodia but the issue had never caused arguments between herself and her husband _ just an unfortunate separation, she said.

"I wish to see peace restored and business at the border return to normal soon," said Yon, adding that although the border is not closed, business is sluggish these days.

Rasi Yon, a 30-year-old Cambodian woman who is also married to a Thai husband, has a happier story to tell.

Her husband has decided to live with her in Cambodia, after Rasi was banned from living in Thailand due to the border unrest.

"We both wonder why they have to fight over the Preah Vihear temple as they can instead join hands to develop border trade and tourism," she said.

A military source said Cambodian nationals have been prohibited from staying overnight in Thailand to prevent Cambodian spies from sneaking in.

After Cambodia reinforced its troops at border areas near the Chong Sa-ngam Pass border crossing, Thai troops and tanks were deployed to the same area, the source said.

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