June 4th, 2013
An organized global action is under way today as the Khmer-Krom community and their supporters have gathered in front of Vietnamese Embassies around the world to protest against a downward spiraling trend of human rights conditions and abuses against their indigenous culture in South Vietnam.
Events precipitating to this on scale global protest arises first from the arrest of a Khmer-Krom buddhist monk, Venerable Ly Chanda of Prey Chop temple from Soc Trang (Kleang) province in Vietnam on May 16th, 2013. The Vietnamese government had accused the Venerable of listening to and providing false interview to an oversea human rights NGO.
Despite the fact that the Vietnamese constitution guarantees the right to freedom of speech, press, and opinion, it did not stop the government from exercising it's communist state power to discriminate against and prosecute Venerable Ly Chanda on charges which amounts to no more than listening to the radio and giving an interview.
In this flagrant disregard for the Venerable's rights as declared in country’s constitution and in violation of the International Declarations of Human Rights, authorities ordered armed police to desecrate the temple, breaking windows, and forcing down the pagoda door to forcibly remove the Venerable where he was then taken for interrogation and tortured; injected with unknown substance, and beaten until unconscious.
Following the humiliating treatment of Venerable Ly Chanda and his subsequent televised public defrocking and coerced confession, authorities expanded their crackdown and arrested two more Buddhist monks, the abbot of Ta Set pagoda, Venerable Lieu Ny and Venerable Thach Thuol. Along with the religious leaders, two laypersons, Tra Tha, and Thach Phum Rich were also arrested on charges of supporting the monks. Their whereabouts and safety today, remains unknown.
The protests, which is being undertaken around the world, including Paris-France, Australia, Canada, Cambodia, and the U.S.A condemns these arrests, and the infringement upon Khmer-Krom communities by the state, to exercise and practice their culture without fear and intimidation.
In addition to the demands on Vietnam for immediate and unconditional release of the religious leaders, the Khmer-Krom communities appeal to the U.S to re-list Vietnam under the CPC (countries of particular concern) when it comes to religious freedom.
A U.S based protest will be staged today in front of the Vietnamese embassy at Washington D.C from 11:00 A.M to 12:30 PM at the address below:
1233 20th Street., Washington, DC 20036
National & international media are invited to join the Khmer-Krom communities as they continue their global action to call for respect of their human rights in Vietnam.
Photos from protests from around the world:
The Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation (KKF) would like to wish you and your family a Happy Khmer New Year!
March 10, 2013-- On a Sunday sunshine afternoon, it was a perfect weather in the “Lone Star State” of Texas, Khmer-Krom community of Metropolitan of Dallas-Fort Worth organized a special event to extend a warm welcome to the Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation (KKF) delegation on their campaign for the long struggle on religious rights and the freedom of the Khmer-Krom people in Mekong Delta (Kampuchea Krom).
Two senior members of the KKF Board of Directors, Mr. Tran Manh Rinh and Mr. Tran Giap traveled from Philadelphia, and with special guests Mr. Trieu Chiem from New Jersey and Mr. Huynh Sang from San Jose, CA.
Vietnamese Authority Threatens to Defrock Venerable Ly Chanda
According to VOKK broadcasted on March 7, the Vietnamese government threatens to defrock Venerable Ly Chanda at Prey Chop Temple, Lai Hoa commune, Vinh Chau district, Soc Trang province.
Venerable Ly Chanda is one of the Buddhist monks who is helping to organizing teach Cambodian language and Buddhism for the Buddhist monks in his temple. Unfortunately, the Abbot of Prey Chop temple, Venerable Thach Houl does not like it. The reason is Venerable Thach Houl is now the member of the Vietnamese Communist Party and also a member of the Vietnamese Congress. He does not want the Buddhist monks to study anything in his temple because he scared that the Khmer-Krom Buddhist monks would stand up to demand for their religious rights.
On March 2, about fifty Khmer-Krom Buddhist monks and the committee member of the temple demanded Venerable Thach Houl to resign from the Abbot of the temple because he does not fulfill his responsibility as the Abbot to conduct the Chanting or Dharma talks for the Buddhist followers. He is too busy with going to the meetings with the authorities. Because he is a Congressman, he refused to resign and asked the Vietnamese polices came to the temple on March 4 to threaten the Buddhist monks who stood up demanding him to resign. Since March 4, the Vietnamese polices has been surrounding the temple without wearing the police uniform and make the Buddhist monks living in Fear now.
The Buddhist monks and Buddhist followers of Prey Chop temple are very respecting and supporting Venerable Ly Chanda because he has done many good things for the temple. Hundred of elderly Khmer-Krom Buddhist followers have come to the temple every day to show their support that Ven. Ly Chanda does not violate any Buddhist rules, so the Vietnamese authority should not defrock him.
The Vietnamese authority have threatened the Buddhist followers for not coming to the temple by summoning them individually for interrogating. The authority even threatened to take back the "Ho Ngheo" which is a proof document for the poor Khmer-Krom to receive financial assistant from the government.
On March 26, 2013, the Vietnamese authority summoned representatives of ninety two Khmer-Krom Buddhist temples in Soc Trang province to attend a meeting at the “Political School of Soc Trang”. Mr. Son Song Son, the Vietnamese authority representative, asked Ven Ly Chanda and Venerable Lieu Ny and Venerable Thach Thoul of Ta Set temple to defrock. If not, they would face imprisonment.
Venerable Ly Chanda and the Buddhist followers at Prey Chop temple have urged the world community, especially the countries that help promoting the freedom of religion to help saving Ven. Ly Chanda from threatening to be defrocked. The Vietnamese authority should not use the Buddhist organization that is controlled by the government, Patriotic United Buddhist Association (Hội Đoàn Kết Sư Sải Yêu Nước), to force the Khmer-Krom Buddhist monks to practice their Theravada Buddhism as what the government wants.
International Women’s Day
On March 8,2013, the Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation (KKF) joins the international women to celebrate and honor the great achievements around the world, and at the same time we wish to bring awareness of the ongoing sufferings of the Khmer-Krom women in their homeland, Kampuchea-Krom (the Mekong Delta of South Vietnam), and those stateless Khmer-Krom women living in Cambodia and Thailand.
In Kampuchea-Krom, Khmer-Krom women, Mrs. Tran Thi Chau in Tra Vinh province, had been arrested and imprisoned for her stand on land claim against the Vietnamese authorities’ extortion policy. Khmer-Krom women continue facing Vietnam’s discriminatory policies such as barriers to higher education, to employment, and health, and continue to live in sub-standard and marginalized condition.
Across Cambodia and Thailand, many Khmer-Krom women continue to live in fear and in dire poverty due their stateless status, who are being rejected in Cambodia as Khmer citizen and being denied refugee status by the United Nations’ Office in Bangkok, Thailand, even though these Khmer-Krom women and their family members had faced persecutions and arrests in their homeland in Kampuchea-Krom. Many simply demanded for the return of their ancestral lands formerly confiscated by the Vietnamese authorities.
In a free society whereby the rights of women are being protected and honored, but the rights of the Khmer-Krom women in Kampuchea-Krom are still being violated. They live in fear and poverty.
Thach Ngoc Thach