On behalf of Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation, I would like to express deep appreciation to our monks, fellow compatriots, and foreign friends that joined us - this past June 8th at Pothivongsa Buddhist temple - in the 65th year commeration on the transfer of Kampuchea-Krom to be under the painful colonialism of Vietnam.
This successful event have greatly encouraged us. As a fighter in this non-violent struggle, I am especially encouraged to recieve the active support of international institutions and organizations, including the European Union.
The numerous contribution and recommendations from your Venerable Monks, community members, and foreign friends during this assembly will serve as a example of unity and cooperation that will help to awaken consciousness of Khmers to this painful history of colonialism, to remind Khmers of our painful struggle, and not be neligent so that history do not repeat itself anew.
In closing, I want to share with you all these pictures as memories and pray that all the sacred object of this world, follow and protect all of you. May you be met with happiness and prosperity always.
Chairman, Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation
[Read Khmer Version]
The Khmers Kampuchea Krom-Krom Federation extends cordial invitation to all community members to join us in our end-of-year conference for 2013 at Orlando Florida.
The conference will take place on December 14th to December 15th.
For more information and specific details on accommodation, please contact organizers at the following:
Dok Thach 407-591-0439 407-591-0439
Bot Thach 407-234-2320 407-234-2320
Kosol Chan 407-288-3367 407-288-3367
Giap Tran 856-655-3838 856-655-3838
June 4, 2013
[Video Source: Subcommittee Hearing: U.S. Relations with Vietnam ]
In a recent U.S subcommittee hearing on the continuing repression by the Vietnamese Government, Ven. Danh Tol testified before the committee that the government of Vietnam continues to violate religious freedom and make every action to control and put the Khmer-Krom Theravada Buddhism under state control.
The committee chair, Rep. Chris Smith, shows great awareness and sympathy towards the testimony of Ven. Danh Tol and several other victims of repression by government of Vietnam. Rep. Smith asserts that Vietnam continues "to violate a wide range of fundamental human rights” and urged his government to take more measure to address the issue with Vietnam.
Among those concrete measures, Smith wants Vietnam to be re-listed by the US State Department as a country of concern because the persecution of ethnic or religious group and other violations including forcible land confiscations from its own citizens.
Venerable was a direct victim of the Vietnamese government's religious persecution, he was imprisoned in 2007 for participating in religious demonstration which demanded end to oppression on Khmer-Krom Buddhism.
“Khmer Krom monks do not have freedom of expression, cannot access information, because access to information is considered a revolution by the monks,” he said. “That’s why communist Vietnam always prevents monks’ rights.” Said the Venerable.
The Venerable also stresses the need for Khmer-Krom Buddhist institution exist without political control by Vietnam as it does today.
The act of the Vietnam shows that it does not wish to see the "continue progress of the Theravada Buddhism, but to end it."
Khmer-Krom Buddhist monks are of particular favorite for the government's target of torture, humiliation, and persecution when it comes to religious repression.
Along with this note, Venerable Danh Tol pointed out that there are just as many Vietnamese Buddhist monks and religious leaders who are also vocal about the religious freedom issue, but only Khmer-Krom monks are targeted for forced defrocking.
2012 KKF Year-End Meeting
The members of KKF around the world went to Charlotte, North Carolina, to attend the KKF year-end meeting from 14-16 December 2012. The KKF Chapter in North Carolina had done a wonderful job to host the meeting with more than hundred participants successfully.
Pre-meeting – Friday, December 14, 2012
In the morning, the KKF Board of Directors and its advisors met for a retrospective meeting to evaluate the results of 2012 and set forward the plan for 2013. Dr. Joshua Cooper, KKF Advisor, talked about his works to advocate for the Khmer-Krom’s rights in 2012 and briefed about his trip to Cambodia during the ASEAN meeting.
In the afternoon, the special guest, Dr. Scott Flipse, Deputy Director for Policy and Research of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, arrived and talked briefly to the KKF Board of Directors about how to help KKF leaders to advocate for the religious freedom of the Khmer-Krom in Vietnam more effectively.
In the late afternoon, Mr. To Kim Thong and Mr. Tran Mannrinh talked about their trip to Cambodia on November during the ASEAN Meeting.
In the early Evening, the members started arriving. The pre-meeting opens up for the members to express their concerns and suggestions to the KKF leaders.
Saturday, December 15, 2012
In the morning, after a formal meeting opening by KKF Chairman, Mr. Thach Vien from France, Venerable TT Dhammo, KKF Director of Religious Affair, led the Buddhist chanting to pray for the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting. The Buddhist monks attended the meeting also shared and blessed for the victims’ families to overcome the tragedy.
Mr. Thach Ngoc Thach, KKF President from Canada, presented a presentation “March to Freedom” to talk about the activities of KKF in 2012. The KKF Director, KKF Regional Presidents also presented the reports of their 2012 activities to the members.
In the afternoon, there was a panel presented by the special guest speakers:
Mr. Kok Ksor, President of the Degar Foundation, expressed his appreciation for inviting him to talk at the meeting. He was really happy with the cooperation between KKF and his organization because we all share the common issue: the human rights violations against our people. He looks forward to work with KKF leaders to raise the issues more effectively to the International spotlight.
Former United States Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of East Timor, Grover Joseph Rees, talked about the institutional culture of the foreign ministry and relationship among governments. Ambassador Rees discussed about how to present the Khmer-Krom issues effectively. He also reminded the KKF members to use their power as the US citizen to bring the Khmer-Krom human rights violations to the US politicians.
Dr. Scott Flipse talked about how his organization has helped defending the religious freedom for the people in Vietnam. He mentioned that he already had two trips to Khleang (Soc Trang) to talk with the Vietnamese officials regarding to the religious freedom violations against the Khmer-Krom. He expressed emotionally about why he wants to help the Khmer-Krom Buddhist monks who were arrested, defrocked, and imprisoned in Khleang in 2007. When he heard those Buddhist monks told him how they were tortured in prison, he could not stand it. He said that the Vietnamese religious leaders who had been arrested and imprisoned in Vietnam, none of them were tortured.
To help brining the Khmer-Krom issues effectively to the US government, Dr. Flipse suggested KKF members should contact and write letter to their congressman/congresswoman urging them to help raising the religious freedom violations against Khmer-Krom in Vietnam. He also suggested that KKF should send representatives once a month to Washington DC to meet other religious freedom advocacy groups to join them raising the religious freedom violations around the world which is also included the issues of the Khmer-Krom.
Ms. Sara Colm, former Human Rights Watch researcher, talked about the fundamental rights that the Peoples must have and relate them to the human rights violations against the Khmer-Krom.
Ms. Colm brought up a very important point that the Khmer-Krom in Mekong Delta will be facing is the affected of the Global Warming. She pointed out that if the sea level keeps raising, the Mekong Delta will be flooded and the Khmer-Krom people have to move away from their homeland. Vietnam has been receiving funds to preventing the affected of global warming. She suggested that KKF needs to make sure that the Khmer-Krom people are included in whatever policies that Vietnam put into action.
Dr. Cooper gave an excellent talk about how he and KKF had worked together to bring the Khmer-Krom human rights violations at the United Nations meetings (CERD, CRC, UNPFII, EMRIP) and lobbied the governments around the world. He also talked about his trip to Cambodia in November to teach human rights for the Khmer-Krom youths and Khmer-Krom Buddhist monk students. He showed the picture of his class using the candle light to learn Human Rights because the Cambodian government turned off power to preventing him from teaching the human rights class to the Khmer-Krom.
After the special guests spoke, there was an open discussion for the members to ask questions to the speakers.
At night, the North Carolina KKF local chapter hosted a Party to welcome all the participants coming to the meeting.
Sunday, December 16, 2012
In the morning, the KKF regional and local presidents who did not present their reports in Saturday continued to present their reports. The KKF Women team, led by Mrs. Son Thi Nit, KKF Director of Women, presented their activities report.
The KKFYC team, led by Serey Chau, KKF Director of Youth, presented a presentation about the KKFYC activities in 2012 and plan for 2013. Sothy Kien and Lenny Thach gave the impressive talk about why the Khmer-Krom youths should join the KKFYC to seek for the freedom for the voiceless people in Kampuchea-Krom. They urged the KKF local leaders to send the youths in their local community to join the KKFYC team and support the youths to attend the UNPFII and the Khmer-Krom Youth Conference.
Dr. Cooper gave a quick talk about the meetings in 2013 at the UN and around the world that KKF should attend to effectively raise the issues of the Khmer-Krom.
In the afternoon, a special guest, Venerable Loun Sovath, Receiver of the 2012 Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders, gave an excellent talk about the role of the Buddhist monks in defending the fundamental rights. He expressed his support to KKF for using non-violent as the Principles of Buddhism to seek for the right to self-determination for the Khmer-Krom.
Mr. Sarey Chau, KKF treasure, and Mr. Giap Tran, KKF Chief of Administration, presented the financial plan urging members to help raising money to help KKF sustain its work and activities.
The meeting is concluded with the adopted resolution as the guideline for KKF to implement its plan for 2013.
The KKF leaders around the world expressed their appreciation to thank to all the members of the North Carolina KKF local chapter who worked so hard to host the KKF year-end meeting successful.
The Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation has been relentlessly working around the clock to advocate for the rights of its indigenous peoples in Kampuchea-Krom (the Mekong Delta and its surrounding areas).
In May 2004, KKF made their first historic appearance at the United Nations headquarters, in New York City during its Fourth Session on the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.
The first Khmer-Krom organization to be present, their initial participation created waves of shock and disbelief as thousands of indigenous peoples, governments and non-governmental organization were enlightened about the human rights reality in Vietnam. In particular the issues relating to health, education, women, human rights and culture of the Khmer-Krom people were raised and recommendations presented to the Permanent Forum members.
Three years on, the KKF are fast gaining respect and recognition as an indigenous organization, making constructive contribution and recommendations concerning the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to the Permanent Forum Members, the Vietnamese government, and the NGOs.
Through their human rights work, KKF is actively monitoring the situation in Kampuchea-Krom and works at international levels including forums to ensure that Vietnam is adhering to its promises made at the United Nations and that it is genuinely reflected back at the grass roots level.
The following documents are related to KKF activities at the United Nations.
2010: Ninth Session on Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
- Item 7: Future work by Chantria Tram
- Speech by Indigenous Youths
- Vietnam Sings Old Tune, Accuses KKF of Separatist Activities Again...
2009: Eighth Session on Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
- UNPFII 2009: Item 3(c)
- UNPFII 2009: Item 3(c) Vietnam Intervention part 1
- UNPFII 2009: Item 3(c) Vietnam Intervention part 2
- UNPFII 2009: Item 7 Future work
2008: Seventh Session on Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
- Item 3: Climate Change, bio-cultural diversity and livelihoods: the stewardship role of indigenous peoples and new challenges
- Item 4: Economic and Social Development
- Item 4 (f) Human rights
- “KKF a distraction to Permanent Forum” Says Vietnam
- KKF Intervention on Vietnam Government Speech
- Item 9: Future Work
2007: Sixth Session on Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
- Terriorities, Lands and Natural Resources by Romy Thach
- Item 4(a): Economic and social development by Sothy Kien
- Response statement by Vietnam Government, Mr. Nguyen Tat Thanh, Deputy Permanent Representative,
- UNPFII: Human Rights
- Intervention Statement by Vietnam Delegation to UNPFII
- Vietnam Cancels Khmer Krom Side Event at UNPFII
- Item 7: Urbanization and Migration of indigenous peoples
- Item 4g: Second International Decade of the World’s Indigenous Peoples - English
- UNPFII: Future Works
2006: Fifth Session on Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
- UNPFII Fifth Session: Item 3
- UNPFII Fifth Session Item 3: Intervention by Permanent Members
- UNPFII Fifth Session Item 4: Intervention by KKF
- UNPFII Fifth Session Item 4: Speech by Khmer Krom Buddhist Association
- UNPFII Fifth Session Item 5: Future Works
- KKF recommendations to the UNPFII and Commission on Human Rights- 2006 (PDF)
2005: Fourth Session on Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
- Collective Statement by Hmong and KKF Delegations
- Vietnam Statement
- KKF Response Statement
- Poverty and hunger by Hoang
- Education by Charlie Thach
- Buddhist Education by Venerable Kan Sophal
- Human rights
- Women rights by Sothy Kien
2004: Third Session on Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
- KKF recommendations to the UNPFII and Commission on Human Rights- 2004 (PDF)
- Indigenous Women - by Polly Luu
- Education - by Sophan Son
- Culture - by Rong Be
- Human Rights - by Sereivuth Prak
- Economic and Social Development - by Serey Chau
- Environment Issues - by Tran Giap
- Health - by Kha Kiep
- Future Work of the Forum - by Thach Dhammo