KKF Denounces Use of Military Forces, Urges Unity Amongst All Khmers

KKF Press Release 23/07/2008 On behalf of the Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation and Khmer Krom people around the world, we would like to acknowledge and announce our support towards the recognition of Cambodia’s Keo-Sikha-Kiri-Svarak (or also known as Wat Prasath Preah Vihear) as a World Heritage site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). We would like to denounce the use of military forces by the Thai militants in an attempt to take over the pagoda which located in the Cambodian territory. We urge the Cambodian and Thailand governments and all political parties to resolve this escalating crisis by remaining calm and to use the instruments of peaceful negotiations. We strongly urge all people of Khmer descendent, inside of Cambodia, in Kampuchea-Krom and abroad to remain calm and united in defending the sovereignty of Cambodia. We believe that unity is a must for all Khmers and that the Preah Vihear is an issue that affects all Khmer, not one government or organization or for any political interest. We ask for people to remember and maintain respectful to the friendship between Khmer and Thai peoples. We ask that all Khmer people help support our Khmer people, soldiers and Buddhist monks living within the crisis zone by donating money and food as well as providing moral support. We ask all Khmer citizens to write a letter of support to His Majesty King Father, King Sihamoni as well as all political parties in Cambodia to unite in this matter and propose a day of unity. While the main issue is about Preah Vihear, we believe that it is a great opportunity for all Khmer people to show the world our unity, our love for our history and heritage and the willingness to defend what has been and will always remains part of Cambodia.

A Peaceful March in San Francisco

By Serey Chau When people visit San Francisco, they usually just want to visit China Town, the Golden Gate Bridge, Bay Bridge or Peer 39. What most people do not realize that it is a historical place that in which United Nations Charter Signing Ceremony was conducted. This significant event happened in a place called “Herbst Theatre” which forms part of the War Memorial Performing Arts Center and across the street from San Francisco City Hall on Van Ness Avenue. (Left image: Venerable Ratana Son and Joshua Cooper holds up sign seeking the release of Venerable Tim Sakhorn) The United Nations Charter is a treaty that established the United Nations. It was signed at the United Nations Conference on International Organization at the Herbst Theatre in San Francisco on June 26, 1945 by the 50 of the 51 original member countries (Poland was not at the conference but signed it later). It entered into force on October 24, 1945. All the members of the UN are bound by its Articles. As stated in the Article 1 of the UN Charter, one of the purposes of the United Nations is: “To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace;” Equal rights and self-determination are the main keywords which were first mentioned at the international level and which formed an important foundation to develop the Universal Declaration for Human Rights.

Khmer Krom people and monks march to voice out their concerns on behalf of their voiceless people
In September 20, 1977 Vietnam became a member of the United Nations. As member of the UN, Vietnam must obligate the UN charter as stated in Article 4: “Membership in the United Nations is open to all other peace-loving states which accept the obligations contained in the present Charter and in the judgment of the Organization, are able and willing to carry out these obligations.”
Khmer Krom marches for human rights and religious freedom in their homeland of Kampuchea-Krom
Unfortunately, it appears that Vietnam does not fully appreciate or adheres to the obligation of the UN Charter. Vietnam attempts to justify its human rights violations and oppression towards the Khmer Krom people and other indigenous groups by stating it is an internal affair and the world should leave it as. The Khmers Kampuchea-Federation (KKF) Chapter in Northern California and the Hawaii Institute for Human Rights has organized a Peace March in San Francisco to commemorate the UN Charter on June 26 for the last three years. This event was also very important for the members of KKF to learn how to exercise their rights to demand for the fundamental freedom on behalf of their voiceless Khmer Krom people in Kampuchea Krom. Such an event acts to remind Vietnam of its obligation and duty as a member of the UN to respect the rights to self-determination of all its peoples. In 2006, only the Khmers Kampuchea-Federation (KKF) Chapter in Northern California and the Hawaii Institute for Human Rights (HIHR) sponsored this event. In 2007, the United Nations Association USA and Amnesty International USA joined and sponsored the march. In 2008, just two days before the march, the International Forum on Globalization decided to sponsor the March. This year, the Honorable Gavin Newsom, Mayor City and County of San Francisco issued an important Proclamation on June 26 2008 to recognize United Nations Chapter Day in San Francisco. The Proclamation recognized the important of having KKF, HIHR, United Nations Association USA, and Amnesty International USA to sponsor an annual march and conference on human rights.
Proclamation by Gavin Newsom, Mayor City and County of San Francisco issued an important Proclamation on June 26 2008 to recognize United Nations Chapter Day in San Francisco

KKF Seeks Release and Return of Tim Sakhorn to Cambodia

KKF Press Release The Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation, an indigenous organization representing millions of Khmer Krom people in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam, as well as Human Rights Watch, a human rights organization are calling for the release and return of Tim Sakhorn to Cambodia without conditions or “probationary detention”. According a report by Human Rights Watch dated 3 July 2008; Tim Sakhorn was last seen leaving with Vietnamese officials after serving prison on 28 June 2008 and has not been seen since. Tim Sakhorn, Cambodian citizen and a Buddhist of Khmer Krom descendent was defrocked on 30 June 2007, deported by Cambodian authorities and later imprisoned in Vietnam for helping Khmer Krom people fleeing Vietnam and for advocating human rights. “Tim Sakhorn’s arrest and deportation were totally unjustified,” Brad Adams said. “He should not have been imprisoned for simply promoting people’s rights or being in contact with an international advocacy organization. Now, ensuring that he is completely free is the priority.” – Extract from Human Rights Watch. It is feared that Tim Sakhorn may be placed under further house arrest and police surveillance, forced to live a life without basic rights or freedom if no action is done to secure his safe return. KKF is appealing to all governments and human rights group, including the government of Cambodia to help investigate the whereabouts of Tim Sakhorn and seek his safe return his family and relatives in Cambodia without any restrictions or conditions imposed by Vietnamese authorities. Yours sincerely, Thach Ngoc Thach KKF President Sources: http://hrw.org/english/docs/2008/07/02/vietna19244_txt.htm