“A day of action – Khmer Krom Religious Rights Day on 22nd of February, 2008” Vietnam is a communist one party. The human rights situation in Vietnam is a catastrophe: its people, especially its indigenous peoples such as the Khmer Krom continue to be systematically persecuted, detained, tortured and in the worse case killed because they express their political or religious views. This time last year, on 8th February 2007, over two hundred Khmer Krom Buddhist monks organized a peaceful demonstration demanding religious freedom in Khleang (renamed Soc Trang) province. On 22nd February 2008, the Vietnamese authorities responded by detaining and defrocking nine Khmer Krom Buddhist monks.
- Thach Do, aged 27, from Wat Ta Sek, Khleang province.
- Ly Hoang, aged 22, from Wat Sam Rong, Khleang province.
- Ly Tang Thong, aged 23, from Wat Sam Rong, Khleang province.
- Ly Thanh Suoi, aged 28, from Wat Teok Praiy, Khleang province.
- Thach Xuan Hien, aged 21, from Wat Ta Meon, Khleang province.
- Tang Phien, aged 22, from Wat Ta Meon, Khleang province.
- Ly Suong, aged 21, from Wat Teok Praiy, Khleang province.
- Kim Muon, age 22, from Wat Ta Sek, Khleang province.
- Thach Thuong, aged 28, from Wat Teok Praiy, Khleang province.
On 10 May 2007, five defrocked Khmer-Krom Buddhist monks (Venerable Danh Tol, Venerable Kim Muol, Venerable Ly Suong, Venerable Ly Hoang, and Venerable Thach Thuong) were trialed in a Vietnamese court with no lawyers assigned to defend themselves. They are currently serving 2 to 4 years for allegedly organizing the demonstration. Since February 8, 2007 to May 10, 2007, nineteen Khmer-Krom Buddhist monks in Tra Vinh and Soc Trang provinces in the Mekong Delta have been arrested, defrocked and imprisoned for possessing human rights documents and participating in a peaceful demonstration requesting religious freedom. And in Cambodia, Ven. Eang Sok Theon was murdered after the peaceful protest in Phnom Penh and Ven. Tim Sakorn, head monk in Phnom Din, was defrocked and sent to Kampuchea Krom. He was jailed till present. On the February 22, 2008, the Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation(KKF) will launch a one day event entitled, “Khmer-Krom Religious Rights Day” to condemn the injustice actions of the Vietnamese authorities against peaceful monks and more importantly, remember our most respected Buddhist monks who put their lives on lines to demand basic freedoms to express one’s religion and belief .
- Khmer Krom Rights is a nonviolent day of action around the world
- Khmer Krom Rights is a peaceful day to unit for freedom
- Khmer Krom Rights is a pray day for peace Please come together for pray for peace, freedom and an end to the suffering of our people.
Sincerely, Thach N Thach Read in Khmer
Original RFA report in Khmer Translated by KKF 31/12/07 The Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation has just finished their annual end of year conference in Long Beach, California at 3pm Cambodia time this Sunday. They have announced the Road Map to Motherland which was initiated from 2004 to 2008. Over 300 participants attended the entertainment evening, held fund raising for KKF, and heard Mr. Thach Ngoc Thach, KKF President said, “There are three objectives, first is to work international, second in Cambodia and third Kampuchea Krom which is our people want to see in particular to be sucess” The UNPO has 69 members, represented by over 300 million people and has elected Mr. Thach Ngoc Thach as a Presidency Member and will continue greater efforts in the area of human rights at the United Nations. Dr. Joshua Cooper, Professor from the Hawaii Institute for Human Rights and advisor to KKF has said that accomplishment of KKF in 2007 includes recognition from the international community, adoption on the Right of Indigenous Peoples last September and involvement of KKF with other ASEAN human rights groups in Cambodia last February. Another important accomplishment is greater understanding of Mr. Rodolfo Stavenhagen (UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of Indigenous People) and Madame Victoria Tauli-Corpuz who saw first hand the human rights violations victims, Khmer Krom, in Cambodia. KKF President has appealed to those who are born in Kampuchea-Krom to preserve their birth place identity, their colony names such as the last name, Thach and Son etc. No matter what, the KKF President has urged all to preserve the original names of their villages and provinces and to call them by their Khmer name and not use the one changed by Vietnam. Mr. Thach Ngoc Thach also appealed to organization outside of governments, media, members of Funcinpec Party, the Sam Rainsy Party and Human Rights party in attendance to create laws to help Khmer Krom. It has not been done and the Hun Sen government has not responded to the appeal by Mr. Thach Ngoc Thach. Read original report
31/12/07 RFA Khmer Report by Sam Borin Selected extracts translated by KKF Listen to original report The World Cambodian Congress (WCC) has appealed to all Khmer Americans from the 50 States to contact their local congress representatives so that they can support the HR 3096 law, which can be used to pressure Vietnam to stop violating human rights as soon as possible. Mr. Kal Morn, President of the WCC, located in Oregon has said to RFA that although they have finished sending an appeal to 100 senators in America, he believes that it will only be successful and complete if all the Khmer residents from all the different states send the same letter to the senators in their own states. RFA has reminded its audience of the HR 3096 law that was put forward by Christopher Smith, Congress from New Jersey and received support from 12 other members was passed by US congress. HR 3096 law won support by 14 voices and 3 opposing voices. Currently, the law is in the hands of the international department of US Congress. Mr. Kal Morn has also appealed that the names of the Khmer Krom victims be included as part of the HR 3096 when they submit it to their local Congress. “We want the American Senators to know that human rights violations do not only occur towards its Vietnamese citizens but also against Khmer Krom,” says Mr. Kal Morn. The HR 3096 law states that the US must not give aid to Vietnam in 2008 more than in 2007, if Vietnam does not take actions to release political and religious freedom prisoners. It requires Vietnam to be more open towards religious freedom and the rights of indigenous peoples. It also states that the financial aid be given to organizations outside of the government who support the promotion of human rights. RFA also interviewed Mr. Prak Sereivuth, Vice President of the Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation about the importance of the HR 3096 law in bringing Vietnam to the table and speaking about Khmer Krom by peaceful means. “In order for communist Vietnam to come in, there must be pressure from the US as the economic donor and it needs to initiate the HR 3096 law in the house of regulations so the violations lessen.” “Don’t forget that Vietnamese armies withdrew from Cambodia due to international pressure. Therefore, we want such pressure in resolving the Khmer Krom issue and other races.” “We also want them to release the prisoners such as Venerable Tim Sakhorn and five others from Srok Khleang [renamed Soc Trang],” says Mr. Prak. During the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues earlier in May this year, the Vietnam government representative stated that KKF only attempts to separate its society and has no benefits towards the indigenous peoples. After providing a testimony to the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, Mr. Prak has said that Vietnam must look carefully into it human rights violations that they committed against the Khmer Krom people. “Communist Vietnam government must think whether or not we want our children to fight like the Palestine and kill themselves for the next 100 years or so. We must not continue.” “If communist Vietnam government does not stop oppressing our people, we continue to move forward. The rich fertile land of the Mekong Delta provides enough food for the whole of Vietnam and more. They are currently ranked 2nd in world rice export after Thailand. As for the Khmer Krom, as indigenous peoples, they have no lands to farm or live on and are dying because of lack of food.” “This cannot be continued,” says Mr. Prak Sereivuth.
Thursday, January 03, 2008 Rasmei Kampuchea newspaper Translated from Khmer by Socheata of KI Media Opposition MP Son Chhay plans to send a letter to the Vietnamese embassy in Cambodia to forward to Son Tong Son, the vice-chairman of the Vietnamese southwest party central committee, to remind him about the promise he gave on the release of 5 Khmer Monks jailed in Khleang province (Soc Trang in Vietnamese) and former Venerable Tim Sakhorn. In the afternoon of 02 January 2008, Son Chhay told Rasmei Kampuchea over the phone that he plans to send a letter to the Vietnamese embassy to remind Son Tong Son who promised Son Chhay that he will coordinate for the certain release of Ven. Tim Sakhorn. At the same time, Son Tong Son also promised that during holidays, such as the Vietnamese New Year celebration, for example, there is a reduction of sentences (for people being jailed). Son Chhay added that his letter would only be to remind Son Tong Son to look into the whereabout of the promises he made to Son Chhay, because he is waiting to know about the date of the release of the monks. Son Chhay added that he already drafted the letter and planned to send it out a day earlier, but he had to delay the sending because of his meeting schedule. Venerable Yoeung Sin, President of the Khmer Kampuchea-Krom Monks Associaiton and Abbot of the Samaky Raingsey pagoda, said that it is an honor to see a MP involved to help resolve this case, and that he depends entirely on Son Chhay to resolve and intervene because Son Chhay may be more efficient than him (Ven. Yoeung Sin), because, as a monk, he has more difficulties in the resolution of this case, and he does not play an (important) role in society either. Therefore, Ven. Yoeung Sin will let MP Son Chhay help resolve this issue. Ven. Yoeung Sin said that, in the past, he also sent letters to the Vietnamese embassy in Cambodia, but that they did not go anywhere as they were all prevented (from being delivered to the Vietnamese embassy in Phnom Penh). Ven. Tim Sakhorn was the former abbot of the Phnom Den North pagoda, who was defrocked by the Vietnamese authority, and subsequently jailed after he was accused of undermining the solidarity between Cambodia and Vietnam. The Vietnamese court sentenced him to one-year of jail time. Since the arrest of Ven. Tim Sakhorn, there were several protests from the public, in particular from Khmer Kampuchea-Krom monks.