Khmer Krom Group Appeals for Government for Security After Murder

Heng Reaksmey, VOA Khmer Original report from Phnom Penh 27/04/2007 The Khmer Kampuchea Krom Human Rights Organization appealed to the government Friday to strengthen security and search for the murderers of at least two people killed recently who supported the ethnic minority group. Police Thursday said they found a newspaper editor who advocated for the ethnic group murdered and stuffed in a trunk. Last month, a Khmer Kampuchea Krom monk was found dead at a pagoda following demonstrations in front of the Vietnamese Embassy in what rights groups said appeared to be murder. The rights organization said Friday the deaths seemed to be the work of professional killers with specific targets. An investigator for the rights group Adhoc said Friday the motives in the murder of newspaper editor Pov Sam Ath, who went missing April 22, were unclear. He was beaten and asphyxiated and left in Kampong Speu province, but authorities said Friday they did not yet know where he was killed, or why. Listen to report in Khmer Source: VOA News

Khmer Krom Call on Cambodia National Assembly to Intervene

25 April 2007 By Sok Serey Radio Free Asia Translated from Khmer by Soheata Nguyen Phu Trong, president the Vietnamese National Assembly and the leader of a high-ranking delegation, has arrived in Cambodia on Wednesday afternoon to perform a 3-day official visit from 25 to 28 April. The goal of the visit is to strengthen the friendship and cooperation between the Cambodian and Vietnamese parliaments. A number of agreements will also be concluded during this visit. During the 3-day visit, Nguon Nhel, first vice-president of the National Assembly, was seen greeting the delegation at the Phnom Penh international airport. Nguon Nhel told RFA at the airpot: “This is an exchange [of visit] in the cooperation in all fields, and there will be signing on … the discussions … we agree to use the Brévié Line as border and the committees from both sides have agreed [on this], on some of the remaining contentious points, we will discuss about them again and we will work to install the border posts for our future. The Kampuchea Krom is an issue which is not just occurring right now, it existed since long ago.” The visit of the Nguyen Phu Trong in Cambodia occurs at a time when Khmer Krom people and Khmer Krom monks are holding demonstrations everywhere in the world, such as in the USA, Australia, France, and in Cambodia, to protest the defrocking of 16 Khmer Krom monks by the communist Vietnamese regime, and the jailing of 5 Khmer Krom monks because they demanded their freedom rights to worship their Buddhism religion according to Khmer custom. Tran Mannrinh, an official of the Khmer Kampuchea-Krom Federation (KKF) in the US, talked to RFA to voice his opinion on Nguyen Phu Trong’s visit: “We are asking Heng Samrin, the president of the Cambodian National Assembly, to raise the Khmer Krom issue with Nguyen Phu Trong, the president of the Vietnamese National Assembly, so that the latter can pay attention to the current plight of Khmer Krom.” On this issue also, Monk Yoeung Sin, President of the Khmer Krom Monks Association in Phnom Penh, said: “Please tell the [Vietnamese] executive branch to stop oppressing Khmer Krom monks.” On 20 April, the Cambodian police force put down a demonstration held by Khmer Krom monks in Cambodia, causing injuries on 6 Khmer Krom monks. According to the visit program of Nguyen Phu Trong, he will meet with Heng Samring, his Cambodian counterpart, with Chea Sim, president of the Senate, and with Hun Sen, during the 3-day visit. Xinhua, the Chinese press agency, reported earlier that Heng Samrin said that border issue and Khmer Krom issue will not be discussed during Nguyen Phu Trong’s visit.

Khmer Krom issues will not be discussed during VN National Assembly president visit to Cambodia

Cambodia, Vietnam to sign parliamentary cooperation agreement Cambodian and Vietnamese national assemblies will sign a bilateral cooperation agreement when President of the Vietnamese National Assembly Nguyen Phu Trong visits Cambodia from Wednesday to Saturday. “The bilateral cooperation focuses on the exchange of visits for both sides’ parliamentary members,” Heng Samrin, president of the Cambodian National Assembly, told reporters on Wednesday. Border issues and the dispute about the Khmer Krom people will not be touched during the visit, he added. During the visit, Nguyen Phu Trong will receive an audience granted by King Norodom Sihamoni, according to a government press release. He is also expected to meet with Senate President Chea Sim, Heng Samrin and Prime Minister Hun Sen. He will later visit the National Museum in Phnom Penh and the Angkor Wat in Siem Reap. Source: Xinhua

Rights Groups Censure Vietnam as Assembly Chairman Arrives

Chun Sakada, VOA Khmer Original report from Phnom Penh Vietnamese National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Phu Trong arrived in Cambodia Wednesday for a four-day visit, as rights groups attacked the treatment of minority monks and others in the Mekong Delta region. Twelve separate organizations advocating for the rights of the Khmer Kampuchea Krom ethnic group issued a three-page statement criticizing Vietnam’s treatment of the group ahead of the visit. The organizations accused the Vietnamese government of persecuting the monks, including the defrocking of 16. Three monks recently disappeared in Vietnam, the groups said. The treatment of the ethnic group is a highly politicized, potentially volatile issue in Cambodia. Nguyen Phu Trong was scheduled to meet with his counterpart, Heng Samrin, as well as Senate President Chea Sim, Prime Minister Hun Sen and King Norodom Sihamoni. Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Keo Remy followed the groups’ call for Vietnam to improve its treatment of Khmer Kampuchea Krom monks and others. “When Vietnamese authorities put pressure on the Khmer Kampuchea Krom,” he said, “it will affect the state of mind of central Khmers (in Cambodia) and Khmers living abroad.” National Assembly President Heng Samrin said the treatment of the monks and other minority group members was an internal affair of Vietnam, in which Cambodia cannot interfere.

Khmer Krom people holding demonstrations against Vietnam worldwide

21 April 2007 By Moeung Tum – Radio Free Asia – Translated from Khmer by Socheata While about 60 Khmer Krom monks held a peaceful sit-in in front of the Vietnamese embassy on Phnom Penh on 20 April, and while these monks were brutally beaten by the Cambodian police which injured some of the monks, in the US, France, Canada and Australia, several hundreds of Khmer Krom natives living in these countries also held demonstrations on Friday to voice the same demands as those of Khmer Krom monks in Cambodia. Almost 400 US representatives of Khmer Krom people, Montagnard people, and other ethnic minorities in Vietnam (Lao and Hmong) from several US states have gathered in Washington DC to peacefully demonstrate in the front of the Vietnamese government. In the US demonstration, Khmer Krom demonstrators raised several banners displaying the photos of the victims who died from human rights violations perpetrated by the Vietnamese authority. The demonstrators held flags representing the ethnic minorities living in Vietnam: Khmer Krom, Montaganard, Lao, and Hmong, some of the demonstrators were also dressed up in their native costumes. Monk Thach Berong, a member of the steering committee of the Khmer Krom Federation (KKF), and deputy director of the Khmer Krom Monks Community, in charge of international religious affairs, told RFA in front of the Vietnamese embassy: “The main goal that led to Khmer Krom Monks and Khmer Krom people gathering in Washington DC, in front of the Vietnamese embassy, is to demand from the Vietnamese to examine and release about 11 Khmer Krom monks who were defrocked in Kampuchea Krom, and 3 other Khmer Krom monks who are currently being jailed at an undisclosed location. The Vietnamese authority is currently issuing threats in all pagodas in the provinces of Khleang, Motr Chrouk, and Preah Trapeang, that they will defrock other monks, this is a violation of Buddhist religious freedom. The communist Vietnamese regime has recently set up a monk movement called “the united love of the nation” in order to create confusion among Buddhist followers, and they defrocked monks and forced them to join the army, forced them to raise animals, forced them to work in the fields, forced them to pay tribute to the pictures of [communist leader] Ho Chi Minh who they said is the representative of Buddhism in Kampuchea Krom for the last few thousand years. In fact, they are setting up a brainwashing movement and they are forming a monk order to serve the communist Hanoi and Vietnamese ideology. Those who are brainwashed are then sent in to destroy our religion, and they are doing whatever they can to make Khmer Krom Buddhists to stop believing in Buddhism in Kampuchea Krom.” The organizers of the demonstration then proceeded to list the states where the demonstrators came from: “Now, I would like to read out the list of States [where Khmer Krom people are represented from:] Massachusetts, Las Vegas (Nevada), Colorado, California, Philadelphia (Pennsylvania), New Jersey, Washington State, Virginia, Washington DC, Florida, Maine, Georgia. We are gathering today to demand freedom from the communist Vietnamese regime which is oppressing our monks….” Kok Ksor, President of the Montagnard Foundation in the USA, added: “…Khmer Krom is also a population of Vietnam, they live under one government [as the Vietnamese people], therefore, the Vietnamese authority must protect Khmer Kampuchea Krom on the same footing as it protects the Vietnamese people. Why does the Vietnamese government consider us differently from the Vietnamese people?” RFA made several attempts to contact the Vietnamese embassy in the US, however, we cannot reach it today. Following the demonstration in front of the Vietnamese embassy, the Khmer Krom, Montagnard, Lao and Hmong demonstrators brought their demonstrations to a location next to the Capitol to demand the US government to help resolve this issue. In Australia, about 200 Khmer Krom people coming from several major states, held a demonstration in Canberra starting from 9:30 AM until late afternoon on Friday also. The demonstration was held in front of the Vietnamese, US, Swedish, Thai, Germany, and Dutch embassies, and also in front of the Australian Parliament building. The demonstrators distributed leaflets to the international community to ask for help to apply pressure on Vietnam so that it would put to an end the violation of Khmer Krom rights in Kampuchea Krom. This report was provided by Thach Chanto, President of KKF Australia. In Canada, about 100 Khmer Krom people coming from major cities and provinces, have gathered in front of the Vietnamese embassy in Ottawa on Friday also, to hold a demonstration from noon to 2:00 PM. Thach Dara, President of the KKF branch in Canada, told RFA by phone that KKF Canada appealed to the international community to help Khmer Krom. In France, Khmer Krom people will hold a demonstration on Sunday 22 April, starting at 2:00 PM at The Trocadero Esplanade, near the Eiffel Tower, Paris. Thach Vien, President of KKF Europe, told RFA by phone that KKF chose Sunday to hold the demonstration because it provides a good opportunity for all Khmer Krom people living in France to gather. According to Thach Vien, 250 demonstrators are planned to participate in the demonstration. Due to lack of space in front of the Vietnamese embassy, the demonstration will be held at the Trocadero Esplanade instead. The lands of Kampuchea Krom consist of 21 provinces which were handed by the colonialist French to Bao Dai, the Vietnamese emperor, on 15 June 1949. The handing over of a large portion of Cambodia by France was never recognized by the King of the Khmer people who are the rightful owners of these lands.

Australian-Cambodian Buddhist Monks Protest Against Vietnam

Over twenty Khmer Krom Buddhist monks and up to two hundred protesters are expected to conduct a demonstration in front of Parliament House on April 20 2007 to appeal for Australia’s help in resolving human rights and religious freedom issues in Vietnam. The government of Australia, through its national organisation, AUSAID has contributed to over $81 million dollars to Vietnam to help establish trade links between the two countries. The human rights situation in Vietnam, however, appears to be an insignificant issue for the Australian government. Vietnam was removed from the Countries of Particular Concern late last year during the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Hanoi, attended by world leaders including Australia’s Prime Minister John Howard. Reports of recent religious oppression, in particular against ethnic minorities such as the Khmer Krom and the Montagnards, displays a sharp contradiction to the situation of religious freedom in Vietnam. The Khmer Krom people are the indigenous peoples residing in the rich fertile lands of the Mekong Delta of Vietnam, but are ranked amongst the poorest people of Vietnam by the World Health Organisation. The protestors claimed, on 8 February 2007 over two hundred Buddhist monks residing in Soc Trang province, Vietnam, were summoned for interrogation after participating in a non-violent demonstration demanding religious freedom. According to the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation and reports from the Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation, military forces were used to remove the Buddhist monks from their temple quarters. Since then, at least nine monks have been forced to disfrock and three have been reported missing after being apprehended by Vietnamese authorities. Protestors from Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne will be appealing to the Australian government to bring human rights and religious freedom issues to the forefront in its future consultation with Vietnam. They also urge the Australian government to exert pressure on Vietnam to adhere to its international obligations, in particular to uphold and respect the International Religious Freedom Act. The protest in Canberra is the first of a series of global demonstrations expected to be held in various cities across Cambodia , Europe, Canada and United States of America on the same day. For more information please contact: Media officer: Miss. Sothy Kien. Mobile 0402 538 465 For quotes/images on the day: Please contact Miss. Sothy Kien. Mobile 0402 538 465, Mr. Chantho Thach. Mobile 0431 082 522 or Head Monk Liv Pov. Mobile 0401 201 009

How You Can Help Khmer Krom

On behalf of the Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation, we would like to appeal for your support for the upcoming global demonstration. You can contribute to improving the lives of the Khmer Krom people and allowing them to gain greater access to human rights as well as international awareness by donating: Your valuable time to partake in the demonstration on the day at the your local city. OR Your finances to make the demonstration possible by helping to contribute to paying for buses and food for the protesters. OR Becoming an active member of the KKF and pay a small annual fee. BE ACTIVE AND CONTRIBUTE! Contact Details for each region: Austalia Miss. Sothy Kien: 0402538465 U.S.A Mr. Tran Giap: 856-655-3838 Canada Venerable Thach Truong: (905) 664-5547, cell (905) 920-3320 France Mr. Thach Vien 33(1) 4383-5187, cell: 06-3561-1961

Khmer Krom Prepares for Global Demonstration on April 20, 2007

According to a Radio Free Asia report in the Khmer program on 11 April 2007, Mr. Thach Ngoc Thach has appealed to all Khmers to take part in a global demonstration on next Friday, 20 April 2007. The global non violent demonstration will be conducted in Australia, Canada, USA, France and Cambodia to demand Vietnam respect the basic fundamental freedoms and human rights of the Khmer Krom people. In particular, it seeks to obtain greater international attention on the recent issue of religious prosecution against Khmer Krom Buddhist monks for taking part in a similar peaceful protest demanding religious freedom. Since the fateful demonstration in February, three of the nine disrobed monks residing in various temples across Soc Trang remain imprisoned in an undisclosed location. Mr. Thach Setha, President of the Khmer Kampuchea-Krom Community has also urged all people to take part in the demonstration and to find justice for the Khmer Krom people. Click here to read RFA report/ Listen to RFA report

An Appeal for a Peaceful Demonstration to Demand Religious Freedom for Khmer-Krom in Kampuchea Krom on April 20, 2007

Read Appeal in Khmer Belief in a religion is a foundation of the human beings and also a human being heritage. The United Nations has recognized the freedom of belief as a fundamental right of human beings and none of the authorities are allowed to use force to oppress and violate that right. The Khmer-Krom people have been living in a suffered condition because of the Vietnamese government has intentionally planned to abolish The Theravada Buddhism that Khmer-Krom is practicing in Kampuchea Krom. The peaceful demonstration on February 8th, 2007 in Kleang (Soc Trang) province by the Khmer-Krom Buddhist monks from the Pali language school to demand for religious freedom was cracked down by the Vietnamese Communist (VC) government. The Khmer-Krom Buddhist monks who were involved with that peaceful demonstration were arrested, defrocked, and imprisoned by the VC government. Currently, three of them are still imprisoned. The Khmer-Krom people around the world have protested to demand the VC government to stop persecuting Khmer-Krom Buddhist monks and release them without any conditions. Unfortunately, the VC government has no attempted to stop persecuting and releasing the three Khmer-Krom Buddhist monks. We would like to appeal the world community to help solving this urgent issue because the victims are living in the endangered situation. The Human Rights violations toward Khmer-Krom and Khmer-Krom Buddhist monk and other religions by the VC government is an inhumanity, disrespected, and totally violated the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that Vietnam signed with the United Nations. The VC government must stop and be responsible for its evil acts for violating the Khmer-Krom’s Human Rights. We would like to appeal the Asian Nations and World community to find a proper solution to stop the Human Rights violations committed by the VC government and pressure on the VC government to respect the fundamental Human Rights of the Khmer-Krom in Kampuchea Krom as follows:

  • Release Khmer-Krom Buddhist monks without any conditions
  • Stop confiscating Khmer-Krom’s lands
  • Freedom of speech
  • Freedom of religion and belief of their own culture
  • Freedom of assembly

To demand for the requests above, we would like to appeal to all Venerable, Khmer-Krom, and Khmer, to come and join the universal peaceful demonstration on April 20th, 2007 in front of Vietnamese Embassy in your country. For more information, please contact our local KKF representatives in your country. Respectfully Yours, Thach N. Thach KKF President Contact Details for each region: Austalia Miss. Sothy Kien: 0402538465 U.S.A Mr. Tran Giap: 856-655-3838 Canada Venerable Thach Truong: (905) 664-5547, cell (905) 920-3320 France Mr. Thach Vien 33(1) 4383-5187, cell: 06-3561-1961

We Wish You a Happy Khmer New Year!

By Mr. Thach Ngoc Thach “The Year of PIG”(2551BE) The New Year is a time of reflection, joy and happiness! As we look back in 2006, we should count our many blessings and celebrate our solidarity; friendships and relationships with love ones, with peace loving people around the globe. It has been a year for building a great foundation that Khmer-Krom people have hoped and dreamed of. 2006 was a year of action, a year of communication and a step forward and also the beginning of our nonviolence struggle within the international law. The Hague 29/09/06 to 01/10/06 Symposium – International law and Self-determination was our utmost challenge with great pride and we did it with success from our heart. During the New Year celebration, it is a time of great hope, a time to look forward to the future and follow new dreams. In the upcoming year, the year of PIG, we, KKF, will continue our duty with a great progressive plan to fight for the right of our people. We know that the Vietnamese government has failed in its duty as a member of UN. We know that the Vietnamese communist government has failed and never respected the Human Rights treaties that they have signed. What they do is only lip policies, services and a rainbow color of propaganda. The KKF will continue to travel across the globe and meet many more Khmer-Krom and Khmer people and will be there to listen to their concerns and share their hopes and dreams for the future. We hope to share with our people the KKF vision for our people; a vision that makes Human Rights a top priority; a vision for non-violent struggle. One that will allow united we stand and a universal support for the 21st century; visions for a society where human being can live with a peaceful and prosperity so that all Khmer-Krom can live up to their full potential, hopes and dreams of achieving self-determination. There is much work to be done in the coming year, but by working together we can build the organization, KKF, to represent our suffering Khmer-Krom back home and raise their voice sand issues to international standard. 2007 is the year of our KKF main priority focusing inside Kampuchea Krom. We will invest more time in communication, support and especially education to educate our people of their right as a people to access fundamental freedoms and rights as defined in the international law. We would like to thank to our human rights activists and supporter for their times, financial support and for their initiatives in organizing countless activities. Thank you to those who advised ideal strategies on how to run KKF with great pride and much hope. We would like to thank our friends who never give up on their support including the UNPO, TRP, Hawaii Human Rights Institution and especially our true and dedicated friends, Dr. Cooper, Ms. Rebecca and Mr. Kok. We would like to thank to our people around the globe Khmer-Krom, Khmer alike who have truth us on the international conference in The Hague last year. Finally, we would like to thank our monks, people inland who have sacrificed their lives, their loved one and never once lost their faith on us. We will continue to work for them, to represent them with all of our hearts. In light of the Khmer New Year, on behalf of the Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation, we would like to extend the following wishes: May the year of PIG bring hope! May our lord Buddha bless us with hope and health. May our ancestor remain our angel of our roadmap. May our good heart remain one and our minds remain pure. May our lord Buddha guides our wisdom. “Our hope, our dream will never change while our life is suffering” Thach N Thach