Rebuttal to the Article "Human rights for the development of the ethnic minorities"
By Hua Son
KKF Secretary General
First and foremost, the Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation (KKF) is a legitimate not-for-profit and the non-governmental organization (NGO). It is the nonviolent civil rights movement which inspires and trains emerging Khmer-Krom leaders. We base our strengths upon the legacy of Khmer-Krom heroes, and the legacy of respected world leaders. The KKF provides the forum and the platform for the Khmer-Krom Youth the skills and the opportunities to speak up, to champion and to win positive changes for their communities.
We are not a “force” hostile to the Government of Vietnam (GVN). The KKF helps to raise awareness of and to speak up for what the voiceless Khmer-Krom people want and hopefully to work with the GVN to stop and eliminate the human rights violations. The GVN should promulgate and recognize the Khmer-Krom people as the Indigenous Peoples and respect their human rights.
The mission of KKF is, through the use of peaceful measures and international laws, to seek freedom, justice, and the right to self-determination as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UNUDHR) and the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) for the Indigenous Khmer-Krom Peoples in Kampuchea-Krom (Mekong Delta region). The Khmer-Krom people are entitled to the equal protections under these international laws. The Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation also seeks to improve the quality of life for Khmer-Krom people and their families.
The article under the title “Nhân quyền vì sự phát triển của các dân tộc thiểu số“ published by the Nhan Dan on 12/12/2013 with respect to the Khmer-Krom was distorted and misinformed in several respects:
The Khmer-Krom people are not ethnic minorities as classified by the Government of Vietnam. They are the Indigenous Peoples as defined and recognized by the United Nations.
The Khmer-Krom people and their descendants have been living, nurturing and cultivating on their ancestral land of Kampuchea-Krom since the first century. Their cultural identity, socio economic well beings and language are established long before the arrival of ethnic settlers, are separate and distinct from all other ethnic minority groups. The practice of colonialism and neo-colonialism is alive and continues to exist. This practice can only strengthen and prove that the people of Khmer-Krom are the Indigenous Peoples.
Contrary to the published policies and announcements, the GVN continues discriminations, intimidations, arbitrary arrests, imprisonments and harassments against the Khmer-Krom people and Khmer-Krom Buddhist monks.
While the GVN claims and promotes the “pilot” bilingual education, and the cultural shows, the educational and cultural contents often distorts the true historical facts of the Khmer-Krom people.
We respectfully request that the Government of Vietnam:
Immediately and unconditionally releases Venerable Lieu Ny, and Venerable Thach Thuol
Immediately and unconditionally releases Mr. Thach Phum Rich, and Mr. Tra Quang Tha.
Immediately and unconditionally releases Mrs. Ly thi Danh, Mrs. Lam thi Loan, Mr. Ly Minh Hai, and Mr. Tang Phola.
- Allow the Khmer-Krom Theravada Buddhist Monks to freely organize as an independent religious association and to freely conduct religious activities in general.
Happy New Year Message from KKF President
First and foremost, on behalf of the Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation (KKF), I would like to wish you and yours a happy and prosperous New Year 2014.
2013 was such the best year for KKF. I would like to thank to KKF’s members and supporters around the world who worked tirelessly to make KKF’s 2013 plan successful. Regardless of difficulties that we faced in 2013, we were still being able to participate in meetings and conferences to bring the Khmer-Krom human rights violations to: Asian Forum, UNPFII, EMRIP, Pre-URP review, EU Parliament, US Department of State on International Religious Freedom, etc. The KKF’s members and supporters organized peaceful protests around the world to demand releasing our Khmer-Krom Buddhist monks who were arrested, defrocked, and imprisoned without fair trials.
The KKF’s works has had significant positive impact on demanding for the fundamental rights of our beloved Khmer-Krom. The Khmer-Krom flag has been continuously raised higher around the world to represent for the voiceless Khmer-Krom seeking for the right to self-determination.
We will continue our work and no one could stop us from helping our people. Our KKF members from around the world came to Orlando, Florida for KKF Year-end Meeting from 13-15, December 2013. The meeting was successfully concluded with the following resolutions for the KKF’s works in 2014:
1. INTERNATIONAL BEST PRACTICES
Strengthen Interrelationships among the KKF and other international NGOs including Indigenous NGOs;
Hold conferences in Bangkok and Chiang Mai, Thailand;
Accelerate the Self-Determination Goal through UN Human Rights Charter & Treaty Bodies and UN Indigenous mechanisms;
Work Smartly and Strategically with the international agencies of the United Nations, the European Union and ASEAN; and
Do advocacy work at national parliamentary assembly with elected representatives in own country.
2. KAMPUCHEA-KROM BEST PRACTICES
Build and Maintain the KKF’s Facebook pages by the KKF Youth Committee for informational and educational purposes;
Implement succession planning to the top leaders of the KKF, restructuring and adding additional responsibilities to current members with focus on the Khmer-Krom Youths;
Update Books’ Projects;
Build and Maintain the “Who is Who Khmer-Krom” Project.
3. CAMBODIA AND REGIONAL BEST PRACTICES
Visit three countries: Kampuchea-Krom – Cambodia – Thailand;
United Flower Festival to finish building in Wat Samaki Rangsei in Phnom Penh; and
Meet with Khmer-Krom Communities and Khmer-Krom’s Local Leaders in Cambodia.
May the New Year bring to our beloved Khmer-Krom in our homeland FREEDOM – JUSTICE – DEMOCRACY.
Friends and supporters of Khmer-Krom and religious freedom, help us raise light to the issues of Venerable Thach Thoul, Venerable Nieu Ly and their jailed supporters. Sign the petition for the European Parliament intervention on their behalf.
July 22, 2013 | by USCIRF
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- USCIRF urges President Obama to raise concerns about religious freedom violations in Vietnam when he meets at the White House with Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang on July 25. Raising these concerns as the U.S.-Vietnamese bilateral relationship is improving will underscore America’s support for this fundamental right.
“Because religious freedom conditions remain very poor in Vietnam, we respectfully urge President Obama to raise concerns about religious freedom and related human rights when he meets with President Truong Tan Sang,” said USCIRF Chair Katrina Lantos Swett. “The progress that took place over the past decade was achieved when American and international attention made improvements in religious freedom a core part of the bilateral agenda. These linkages did not, and will not, threaten our relationship: In fact, the Vietnamese government’s support for religious freedom can only strengthen the relationship between our two countries.”
As documented in USCIRF’s 2013 Annual Report, the government of Vietnam continues to expand control over all religious activities, severely restrict independent religious practice, and repress individuals and religious groups it views as challenging its authority. The Vietnamese government uses a specialized religious police force and vague national security laws to suppress independent Buddhist, Protestant, Hoa Hao, and Cao Dai activities, and seeks to stop the growth of ethnic minority Protestantism and Catholicism via discrimination, violence and forced renunciations of their faith. The government also continues to harass, threaten, intimidate, detain, and sentence lawyers and disbar human rights defenders who have assisted religious communities or religious freedom advocates in cases against the state.
“Vietnam must do more to respect religious freedom. The state visit provides a unique opportunity for President Obama to press for change,” continued Dr. Swett. “Opening more space for independent religious activity and freeing jailed lawyers who defend the rights of individuals and communities is a must.”
In December 2012, lawyer and human rights defender Le Quoc Quan, who has assisted Catholics in seeking return of church properties, was again arrested. Mr. Quan currently is detained incommunicado in Hoa Lo Prison with no access to his lawyer and family. Dr. Cu Huy Ha Vu, who in 2010 represented the residents of the village of Con Dau against a government land grab of their village and cemetery, was charged with propaganda against the state. He now is serving a seven-year sentence based on other activism and is in poor health.
Given these systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations, USCIRF continues to recommend that Vietnam be designated as a “country of particular concern (CPC), placing it among the world’s worst violators of religious freedom. The Commission has recommended CPC status for Vietnam since 2001. The State Department did so in 2004 and 2005, but removed the designation in 2006 because of progress toward fulfilling a binding agreement.