Ninth Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
Joint Statement of Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation and Montagnard Foundation
Speaker: Chantria Tram
Chairman and Distinguished members of the Forum
We are saddened to hear about the common conditions indigenous peoples face regarding boarding schools. Yet, we are pleased to participate in seeking solutions for a new future for our children.
We recommend that Vietnam:
- Ensures that the standards of these specialist boarding schools be equal to those of mainstream public schools.
- Permits arts and literature to be taught in our languages to safeguard and protect our cultures.
- Permits our histories to be taught in both mainstream public schools and boarding schools.
- Increases the number of places in all boarding schools and ensures unbiased geographical dispersion of new schools to ensure education for all is not a dream dependent on ethnic background.
Chairman and Distinguished members of the Forum
It is a great honor for me to speak at the 9th Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and provide suggestions to be incorporated into its future work. We cannot change the past but we can and most definitely should collaborate to work for a better future. We are the youth of the Khmer-Krom people.
We have great recommendations for the UNPFII, but a few key questions that we pose each and every year remain unanswered. We once again request clarification from the UNPFII in the hope that a heavy burden be lifted from our hearts.
Still today the Vietnamese government refuses to recognize us as indigenous people of Vietnam. Are our temples in Preah Trapeang (Tra Vinh), Kleang (Soc Trang) and Moth Chrouk (Chau Doc) which are over 2000 years old, many years older than the existence of Vietnam itself not proof of a longstanding connection to our land? Is there a separate rule for Vietnam which states that our long history and distinct culture and tradition are worthless when designating indigenous status?
Unfortunately, this is the 6th year that we raise these concerns. We therefore recommend:
- That the Permanent Forum set up a half-day discussion on mechanisms for the representation of unrecognised and marginalised peoples who are not respected by their governments.
- That the Permanent Forum set up a Commission on the Definition of Indigenous People which then seeks an invitation from the Vietnamese Government.
- And that Vietnam accept our request to have open and constructive dialogue with the Khmer Kampuchea-Krom Federation and the Montagnard Foundation as proof of their commitment to protecting and promoting the rights of their own peoples..
We thank you Mr Chairman for allowing us to voice our concerns and offer our recommendations. We extend the hand of friendship and respect to those willing to enter into dialogue with us. We hope that 2010 marks the year that fruitful collaboration commences so that we find ourselves in a different position at the historic 10th Session next year.
We come here for the past 6 years to learn and try to understand ways to help our youth at home, where they are silenced and living in fear due to the human rights violations. During this time, NGOs such as Human Rights Watch and governments recognize the human rights violations in international law. I humbly ask again, If we are not here to represent our youth today at the UNPFII, who will? Vietnam has wanted to silence us; however we sincerely will continue speaking the truth. It is sad and awkward that the Vietnamese government keeps on denying our very existence and trying to make us invisible yet we are invincible just like our brothers and sisters attending the UNPFII.
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 Moni Mau
- Environment Issues - by Tran Giap
- Health - by Kha Kiep
- Future Work of the Forum - by Thach Dhammo
The following documents are related to KKF activities at the UN's Human Rights Council's EMRIP
2013 - The Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples