10 May 2007 By Hassan Radio Free Asia Translated from Khmer by Heng Soy In March of 2007, the US Department of State issued a yearly report on religious freedom in Vietnam. The report indicated that the Viet government tightened religious freedom in an alarming manner, in spite of the fact that the Viet constitution recognizes religious freedom. All Cambodian regimes, from the Sangkum Reastr Niyum era (under then-Prince Sihanouk’s government), and up to the Democratic Kampuchea regime or Khmer Rouge regime, have considered Khmer Krom people as full right Cambodian citizens who have the same rights and freedoms as other Cambodian citizens living in the current Cambodia. Chapter III, Article 32 of the constitution of the current Kingdom of Cambodia, stipulates that “Every Khmer citizen shall have the right to life, personal freedom and security,” and Article 33 states that “Khmer citizens shall not be deprived of their nationality.” Nevertheless, a large number of Khmer Krom monks are suffering from not being recognized, nor receiving any attention from the current Cambodian regime, especially when they flee Vietnam to come to Cambodia. These monks are jailed like any laymen [when they arrive in Cambodia], Monk Lam Yean is one of the monks who suffered such indignity. Monk Yoeung Sin, the abbot of the Samaki Raingsey pagoda, informed with sadness for all Cambodians to know that: “This is what we mean by ‘the inside ghost (collaborators, i.e. the Phnom Penh regime) lending a hand to the outside ghost (foreign oppressors),’ they (Vietnamese) have no fear, we can see this problem very clearly. I am calling and begging to the consciousness of all Cambodians to wake up [to support Khmer Krom plight], whether we want it or not, we are all born as Cambodians, we have the same ancestry.” Monk Ly Ron, the abbot of the Teak Prey pagoda, told RFA by phone that the Vietnamese have free rein in creating problems for Khmer Krom monks: “We have lived under hardship and we demonstrated for several decades already. For [example,] in the celebration of the Kathen festival, under the thousands years old Buddhist custom, it is celebrated for one full season, that is between 29 and 30 days, following the 3-month monk retreat season. But at the end, this convention was ordered scrubbed by the Vietnamese who ordered that the celebration be held on one day only. All Buddhist followers, be they monks or laymen, we suffer [from this oppression]. Our Khmer Krom monks have been fighting [these oppressions] for a long time already.” Abbot Yoeung Sin who was jailed in Takeo for almost 10 years by the Vietnamese experts [during the occupation of Cambodia] in the 80s, told The Phnom Penh Post newspaper that if the current Cambodian government is truly an independent regime, it would not take such [barbaric] actions against Khmer Krom monks.