Every Person Has the Right to Live In Freedom A unity letter from the President of the Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation, Mr. Thach Ngoc Thach. Our efforts are guided by a clear vision for we are determined to see our people live free like the other peoples of the international community. We have our ROAD MAP that continues to be carried from our past ancestors until today. Together we can plan and fulfil year by year this vision, that is to let our people have access to the right and privileges of self-determination. Since the day the Vietnamese people colonized our home land, countless struggles have been fought against the invaders. Many people were killed by these invaders and yet, the struggle continues even to this day. This determination proves that we can once again set history on a hopeful course, away from poverty and despair and start heading towards development whilst maintaining dignity of self-determination. We have to stop the sacrifice strategies, the oppression and all kind of violence initiated by the Vietnamese communist government. In the past, we have frustrated the plans of the invaders and have revitalized the Khmer-Krom’s spirit by encouraging ideas of a non-violent struggle. We have elevated Khmer-Krom’s flag around the world within our own communities and the international community. As the time goes by, we must never forget our suffering and continue to acknowledge our combined efforts of achievement. Seizing this moment requires idealism: We, Khmer-Krom, must “Work Together” in order to achieve our vision and to fulfill the need of our people inland. “Work Together” means to work with one principle and one vision. Our immediate goal is help our people inland gain their basic fundamental human rights and freedoms. We have seen many false starts and hopes dashed. Lives have and continue to be lost in our home land. We must take steps to stop them! As Khmer-Krom individuals and as organizations, we have a responsibility to fulfill the vision of our ancestors. We must end public campaigns for individual benefits or visions which allow the VN communist government to break our struggle. KKF as an indigenous organization is fulfilling the dreams of our ancestor and has created a ROAD MAP on how to achieve that dream. Only through a genuine democratic process can we fulfill the hopes of our Khmer-Krom and raise the Khmer-Krom flag. KKF has achieved many milestones since it creation and not just with its activities. There is nothing wrong with the concept of unity, to be under the umbrella of KKF, an organization known to the world. Do we want to start from scratch or move forward to freedom? What we have to do now is to united and exercise our rights; the rights that we have waited for so long. These crucial steps of unity are difficult steps, because united requires new trust and the VN will do all they can to destroy that trust. Yet, we, KKF, have to move forward in practical ways. We must not let our differences stop us from being involved with KKF or support KKF. The fight is about helping our people, not about who is better or smarter. The fact that we serve our people does not mean we like politics, it simply because we are Khmer-Krom and we care about our people whose human rights are long overdue. We know there are many obstacles and that the road is long. We have to be ready for the long race to freedom – and there is a reason to be optimistic. Self-determination is the direction of new world, because it is the permanent hope of all humanity. “Buddha is the universal teacher of all humans and Angels, and we are his follower, his student; so there is no reason to believe that YUON are smarter than us” Use his knowledge to light the way for our struggle. Thach N. Thach
An inspiring letter by KKF Pesident, Thach Ngoc Thach I am delighted to be part of the KKF and to meet the fresh faces of our youths with their incredible ability and power to move our struggle forward. We all have a story about our own experiences. For some of our young men and women, they may be wondering what on earth they can do to help our people back home? They wonder if they are ready for the responsibilities that lie ahead. Would they get a job? Get married? Raise a family? I just want to tell you that I ask the same questions to myself. We all know that your careers are just as important to you as it was to me. We would like to tell you that your future will exceed your greatest expectations if you put your heart and mind into any job you undertake. Use your talents. You will succeed if you have confidence in your abilities and remember that you are given your own special talents to benefit others as well as yourselves. This is definitely true in my case. Before joining KKF, I wondered what we can do to help our people back home. Was it possible for the VN government to respect the Human Rights? I did not even know that the VN signed the Human Rights treaties either. As you can see in the past few years, everyone has given their best. Putting time, effort and money into making it happen. This has meant that we never stop running and continue to keeping going forward. The “Best is” constantly moving. We all want better result and greater benefits for our people, and so we all must strive to look for better ways to do things, to continuous improve and to achieve more than has been achieved in the past. This century has brought technological changes that are unimaginable our ancestor. Imagine how long it would take them to contact each other and how impossible it was for the messages to reaching the media. Today, the computers allow us to work at amazing speed and exceed what was once thought was the only way. Nowadays, we can use the internet or World Wide Web to email and share information with people around the world in less than a minute. Our KKF Chairman, Mr. To Kim Thong have constantly reminded us that in order to succeed in this fight, our people and leaders must have the right qualities. There are seven qualities and they are the characteristics at the heart of any successful team. They are CORE and FTD. C = Care and Concern O = Be Optimistic R = Take responsibility Risks E = Be Efficient and keep your eye on Results F = Flexibility T = Team Oriented D = Value diversity I believe that the KKF will continue to excel and with all of our combined talents and determination, the Khmer-Krom will become an international issue. We must cultivate all of our talents and we must never limit ourselves or our society by excluding anyone. Finally, I would ask everyone that to recognize the differences between yourselves and others; but never let those differences stop you in your tracks or in supporting KKF. – Keep going – Keep learning – Keep caring Thanks Thach N Thach
According to a report by RFA on Wednesday 8th November 2006, His Venerable Thach Kong Phuong has been unexpectedly released yesterday by Vietnamese authorities in Preah Trapeang. Venerable Thach was making his way from Phnom Penh, Cambodia to the province of Preah Trapeang to celebrate the Bun Ka Tin festival when he was captured. Accused of being involved with the Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation organisation, he was placed under immediate house arrest with no access or contact to outside world. His release yesterday comes as a surprise as news of his capture was brought to international light with the help of news medium such as the Radio Free Asia in Khmer. Its programs and online news have played a pivotal role in broadcasting vital news and informing Khmer and Khmer-Krom people of the latest events. “I am very happy,” says Venerable Thach in his RFA interview as he celebrates his release. In spite of his release, Venerable Thach has expressed his concern over the continued close monitoring of his whereabouts and activities. His immediate capture on the suspicion of being involved in KKF is just one of many examples of human rights violation that continue to be imposed by Vietnamese authorities. The Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation is an indigenous organisation formed to use peaceful means as a way of advocating for the human rights of millions of Khmer-Krom people living in the Mekong Delta region. It has played a vital role in appealing and enlightening the global community of the gross violations committed by the Vietnamese government. A separate source has also indicated to RFA that the Khmer-Krom people continues to be subjected to greater scrutiny during the Khmer festivals even more so than the past years. The Khmer-Krom people and Buddhist monks have been heavily pursued and monitored by Vietnamese authorities during such festivals. The gathering of the Khmer-Krom people during festivals in temples creates a traditional environment for them to celebrate their culture and identity. However, such gatherings have been severely discouraged and to some extent forbidden as Vietnamese authorities crack down on those seeking human rights and basic fundamental freedoms. The constant monitoring and scrutiny by the local Vietnamese authorities has created an air of mistrust amongst the Khmer-Krom community, subjecting the people to an unhealthy state of mind and fear. Their restricted and monitored right to freely express their unique culture in their traditional form has contributed to the slow but eventual disintegration their identity and social fabric from their motherland Cambodia. In light of his release, KKF have told RFA of their plan to inform US President George Bush in the upcoming month of the human rights violations imposed by Vietnamese authorities that continues against the indigenous peoples of the lower Mekong Delta region. Click here to listen to RFA interview (15 minutes into program)
The support and recognition for the Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation as an indigenous organization representing millions of Khmer-Krom people living in the lower Mekong Delta is certainly on the increase as an overwhelming three hundred Long Beach residents have flocked to listen to KKF speak about their activities. Organized by the KKF President from Chapter of Southern California, Mr. Thach Hung, the local Khmer-Krom community leaders including Mr. Danh Kut, KK President, Mr. Kim Phisamuth and Mr. Thach Reksmey also came out to show their appreciation and support for KKF. Held the following day after their campaign in Tacoma city, Mr. Thach Ngoc Thach, KKF President and Mr. Giap Tran were once again warmly welcomed by the Khmer and Khmer-Krom communities. Outstanding and dedicated individuals, Mr. Thach and Mr. Tran have traveled extensively all over the world in their role to advocate human rights on behalf of the voiceless Khmer-Krom people living in Kampuchea-Krom. Following a similar agenda as in the Tacoma city, the community members were informed about KKF’s most recent achievements including their recent trip to Taiwan during the Eighth General Assembly of the UNPO. Mr. Thach Ngoc Thach spoke about KKF’s new working relationship with the government of Taiwan and the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy. The participants were then enlightened about their recent conference in The Hague, Netherlands, the concept of self-determination and the future path that the Khmer-Krom people as the indigenous peoples of the Mekong Delta of today’s Vietnam could pursue. The delegates also touched on the reception and support they had surprising received in Paris, Philadelphia and Tacoma city following their successful conference in the Netherlands. In their concluding remarks for the campaign, their appeal for support have been acknowledged and approved from an overwhelming majority of the people present. KKF would like to express their thanks and appreciation to the many who attended and especially the support that local leaders have in organizing the successful events.
Only days after their conference in Taipei, Taiwan entitled, “Eighth General Assembly of Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation (UNPO)”, in which the Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation (KKF) is a member, the KKF delegates have continued their campaign to Tacoma, Washington State last weekend. Later joined by Mr. Chau Reap, Mr. Son Sophan, Mr. Chau Serey, Vice President of Western Coast of USA and Mr. Thach Sami, KKF President of the Tacoma Chapter, Mr. Thach Ngoc Thach, KKF President and Mr. Giap Tran, Treasure were greeted by over two hundred and fifty Khmer and Khmer-Krom community members from the local area. True to the words of Mr. Marco Perduca, who praised KKF as the fastest growing non-governmental organisation, members of the Federation had much to talk about during their campaign in Tacoma city. The KKF delegates took the opportunity to inform the participants of their most recent accomplishments and to thank the people who generously donated their time and finances towards The Hague conference held previously in September and October. They also extended their thanks and congratulations to the dragon boat racing teams for their outstanding effort and achievement during the Dragon Boat Racing Championships held in Toronto, Canada and the third Annual Asian American Water Festival, held just a week after the international races. Many of the community members continued to be enlightened about KKF’s success during the conference on Self Determination in International Law held at The Hague, Netherlands. Mr. Thach Ngoc Thach and other KKF delegates presented at that particular conference took this opportunity to share their knowledge and experiences amongst the many that could not be there. Furthermore, the participants were informed about the warm reception that KKF had received from the Khmer and Khmer-Krom people in Paris, France and the overwhelming support from Philadelphia, USA a week after. Their latest accomplishments in Taiwan was also highlighted in the conference, giving the audience a brief insight into one of the many activities initiated by KKF to help the millions of Khmer-Krom people worldwide and especially in Kampuchea-Krom to decide a future of their own choosing without fear or discrimination from the Vietnamese government. In their parting words, the KKF has appealed to all members of the Tacoma community to pledge their support and to extend a helping hand in fulfilling KKF’s mission and vision of initiating self determination on behalf of the Khmer-Krom people. For the many faces that turned up to listen have expressed their joys at hearing such astonishing accomplishments and have indicated their willingness to support KKF in the near future.
The Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation is proud to release a series of short videos online on the conference in The Hague, Netherlands, entitled, Self Determination in International Law, held from 29th September to 1st October 2006. The first of its kind, this introductory video shows the faces of self-determination, the Khmer-Krom people and also the experts who shared their working knowledge in self-determination, international law and the United Nations instruments. For the many experts and guest speakers present, this conference provided a unique opportunity for them to interact with the Khmer-Krom people, gaining a greater awareness of their suffering and appreciation of yet another indigenous people trying to determine their very own future without fear or discrimination. KKF would like to acknowledge and thank the Khmer Krom Production for releasing this preview.
The Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation (KKF) is appealing to the Cambodian government to demand the immediate release of a Khmer-Krom monk recognized as a Cambodian citizen currently under house arrest by the Vietnamese authorities in Preah Trapeang (Tra Vinh) province in Kampuchea-Krom (South Vietnam) for making contact with the KKF. Venerable Thach Cong Huong, about 30 years old is placed under house arrest at Kompong Lev Temple, Preah Trapeang province since the 30th of October. He is prohibited from leaving his room and from making contact with people outside. Constant surveillance of the monk is also enforced by the Vietnamese authority. KKF representatives in Phnom Penh, Cambodia have reported that the monk have been living in Cambodia for the past three to four years before deciding to return home to visit his family during Bun Ka-Tin Festival. The monk has been under Viet Nam monitor since leaving Phnom Penh and was detained upon arrival at his hometown on the 30th October. Prior to traveling, Ven. Thach was issued with valid Cambodian citizen travel documents. KKF spokesman Mr. Tran Mannrinh, told in an interview with Radio Free Asia (RFA), “we appeal to the government of Cambodia to take a clear stand regarding Khmer-Krom people, whether they accept all Khmer-Kroms as natural Cambodian citizen or not. If they accept, they must take the proper cause of actions to help their citizen”. A Cambodian government spokesperson said if Viet Nam arrested a Cambodian citizen, it must notify the Cambodian government in due course. According to other sources, the Vietnamese authority has denied the arrested of the monk. The same source states that the authority is restricting the monk’s mobility and denying him all basic human rights. Tep Vung, a highly respected Khmer monk in Phnom Penh, born Kampuchea-Krom told RFA that this is a complex case and he has no right to take any course of action. “This is very complicated, leave this to the law, they can work it out. If I make any sort of appeal, they accuse me that when ever Khmer-Krom breaks the law, I accuse Vietnamese of breaking the law. Who is wrong … it’s complicated,” says Venerable Vung. The Khmer-Krom people are too fearful of the Vietnamese authorities take any action to assist the monk citing Ven. Thach parents’ home have been visited by Vietnamese authority at least there times a day. The case of Venerable Thach is just one of many known cases of human rights abuses against the indigenous peoples of the Mekong Delta region. Several people have been beaten and arrested this year for reading, watching, or listening to KKF promotional materials including patriotic music, DVD of their activities at the United Nations, and the newsletter. Source: Khmer Krom Network
Complete transcript from RFA news report. Read and Listen in Khmer. Please also note the correction at the end of the article. A group of Khmer-Krom monks in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and Preah Tra Peng (Tra Vinh) province in Kampuchea-Krom (South Vietnam) report that at the end of October, Vietnamese district authority put a Khmer-Krom monk under house arrest. Venerable Thach Kong Huong, about 30 years old is under arrest for associating with the Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation (KKF), the organization seeking independent1 from Vietnam. According sources, the Venerable have been living in Cambodia for the past 3 to 4 years returned home to visit his parents and to celebrate Bun Ka-Tin festival. The Vietnamese authorities put him under house arrest upon arrival while an investigation on the monk is under way. The monk has the proper travel paper as a Cambodian citizen, but he was born in Kampuchea Krom. Ven. Thach Van Dinh, 47 years old from Samaki Ransi Temple in Phnom Penh, and a member of the KKF said “on the 30th October, the monk arrived with proper travel document as a Cambodian citizen. The Preah Tra Peng district authority prohibits him from leaving his room since he arrived at the temple.” Another monk, name Young Sin, a member of the Khmer-Krom association in Cambodia said “what they are doing is barbaric and vicious; they seek every opportunity to destroy our identity and culture”. A monk in Preah Tra Peng, Kampuchea Krom which is currently under Vietnamese occupation, told RFA by telephone that the Vietnamese authority accused the monk for associating with KKF “he is constantly under surveillance, he is afraid to speak to or make any kind of contact with temple patrons or other monks”. RFA is unable to contact the Vietnamese embassy in Phnom Penh for comment. A spokesperson from the ministry of interior said if Vietnam arrested a Cambodian citizen, they have to inform the Cambodian authority. He said that if the monk only made contact with KKF, then it is not a crime. Please note, KKF is headed by Mr. Thach Ngoc Thach, who lobbied intensively to the international community to seek recognition for the Khmer-Kroms people and culture. As the rightful owner of the land of Kampuchea Krom, they seek independent1 from Vietnam. Note & Correction 1. KKF seek self-determination for the Khmer-Krom people. Whether it is independent or otherwise, it is for the people to decide through a democratic process. Translated by KKN
In a report by Voice of America on 1st November, six Khmer people, three of which are of Khmer-Krom descendants have been accused of trying to topple the Cambodian government. The six Khmer individuals were arrested in their respective provinces on 29th October 2006 and are expected to face jail sentences of up to twenty years. Human right activists have expressed their concern for the detained individuals, encouraging the courts to investigate the root of the cause and be transparent in their dealings with the accused. Listen to RFA report
Just two days after the conclusion of the Eighth General Assembly of Unrepresented Nation and Peoples Organization in Taipei, Mr. Thach Ngoc Thach has spoke to RFA about Taiwan’s promise to help out Khmer-Krom student in their studies. According to the report, Mr. Thach spoke about the outcome of the three-day conference including his election as one of the nine Presidency Members of UNPO. The KKF President also spoke about Taiwan’s promise to reach a helping hand towards the indigenous Khmer-Krom peoples living in the Mekong Delta region of Vietnam by providing food, shelter and education. Listen to RFA report