KKF Urges U.S. DoS for Intervention to Release Khmer-Krom Buddhist Monks

On May 28, 2013, the Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation (KKF), represented by Mr. Hoang Duong, and Degar Foundation, represented by Mr. Kok Ksor, met the Country Officers of the U.S. Department of States (U.S. DoS).

The meeting started from 11a.m. to noon. During the meeting, Mr. Hoang Duong informed the Country Officers of the U.S. DoS regarding to the recent religious oppression that the Vietnamese Authority just committed against the Khmer-Krom Buddhist monks: Venerable Ly Chanh Da of Prey Chop temple; Venerable Lieu Ny and Venerable Thach Thuol of Ta Set temple, in Vinh Chau district, Soc Trang province.

On behalf of KKF, Mr. Mr. Duong urged the U.S. DoS for intervention to urge Vietnam to release Venerable Lieu Ny and Venerable Thach Thuol without any conditions and allow Venerable Ly Chanh Da to re-ordain as Buddhist Monk.

Mr. Duong also conveyed KKF’s support of the statement of Chairman Ed Royce of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Committee calling on the Secretary of State to place the Socialist Republic of Vietnam on the list as a “Country of Particular Concerns” with respect to violation of religious freedom and abuses against Khmer-Krom monks and the Khmer-Krom people in the Mekong Delta (South Vietnam).

UNPFII Fifth Session Item 5: Future Works

Fifth Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
15-26 May 2006 at UN Headquarters, New York City
Delegations: Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation
Item 5: Future Work
Speaker: Thach Samon

Madam chair,

The Vietnamese government continues to highlight the importance of having credible evidence to present to members of the forum during yesterdays intervention. In the hope and good spirit of cooperation, we believe that our Khmer Krom issues can be resolved by encouraging participation and consultation between representatives of indigenous peoples and Vietnam representatives.

We were encouraged when Vietnam said it is committed to working in partnership based on “reliable information with good intentions.” Our work done at the UN PFII is in the same spirit. We receive information from the villages directly from indigenous peoples enduring human harm and persistent & systematic gross rights violations. Our campaign of compassion, peace and justice is based on the spiritual practices our traditional leaders have practiced since time immemorial. Our Buddhist beliefs are rooted in good intentions in a search for the truth.

We applaud the comments by Chair Vicki Tauli Corpuz to have a more direct dialogue between indigenous peoples and governments with UN specialized agencies assisting through resources and rights based policy approaches that can improve the daily living conditions of indigenous peoples. Therefore, we humbly offer a proposal that builds upon the important work this session.

In this regard, we would like to reaffirm our recommendation to have a parallel session next year in which a panel consisting of Khmer Krom and Vietnam representatives engage in a positive and constructive dialogue on Vietnam’s current publication on the MDGs. It is through such exchange and dialogue that we may begin the process of ensuring indigenous peoples participation in all matters that affect them.

This session will provide a positive followup exercise that can build on the important work of Vietnam in relation to MDGs. The UN PFII already recognized the crucial step of Vietnam to author a publication providing information on the MDGs and the initial steps to meet theses goals. We will build upon this act of goodwill to share this document with the indigenous Khmer people in Kampuchea Krom. Together, we can schedule a parallel session at the UN PFII where we can sit at the same table to share the steps taken from publication of a periodical to positive practices to protect and promote the human rights of the indigenous peoples.

We look forward to be a partner throughout the year until we meet again next year at the sixth session. We suggest the panel can be a follow up to the eight MDGs themes of our previous sessions and be a case study for Asia and the world. We aim to have Khmer Krom, Vietnamese government representatives, UN Specialized agencies and PFII members to unite in focusing on realizing the human rights enshrined in UN human rights machinery and the Millennium Development Goals.

Thank you Madam Chair.

UNPFII Fifth Session Item 4: Speech by Khmer Krom Buddhist Association

Fifth Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
15-26 May 2006 at UN Headquarters, New York City
Delegation: Khmer Krom Buddhist Association
Speaker: Thach Samon on behalf of Venerable Liv Pov
Item 4: Human Rights

Madam Chair,

Buddhist monks play crucial roles in the preservation of tradition and culture of our people living in Kampuchea Krom. They are the core of unity for the Khmer Krom people through it spirituality guidance, teaching of indigenous Khmer language and practice of traditional ceremonies.

Vietnam has taken the first step in recognising the importance of Buddhists in indigenous communities and the general communities by signing the treaty on religious freedom last year. However, much needs to be done to ensure that our Buddhist monks at the local level are aware of such treaty and that such acts coincides with local laws.

In this regards, we would like to recommend the following on behalf of thousands of Buddhist monks in Kampuchea Krom:

• The Vietnamese government needs to respect the rights of Buddhist monks to practise their religion and community events in accordance to their traditional time frame rather than at the convenient of the State.

• All decisions or changes to ceremony dates should be done in full consultation with Buddhist monks with respect to our theme of free, prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples.

• We encourage the Vietnamese government to have an open door policy which allows for invitation of Special Rapporteurs on Situation of Fundamental Freedom and Human Rights and other related UN Special Rapporteurs to verify and investigate reported human right violations and allow for effective and constructive follow up.

• Sufficient and long term funding needs to be allocated to Khmer Krom Buddhist monks and temple to aid and promote the teaching of the Khmer language, preservation of the temples and cultural events.

Madam Chair, Vietnam has committed itself to the improving the lives of its people including its indigenous peoples by signing 7 of the 12 treaties available. These treaties need to be translated in the indigenous peoples language, consulted with indigenous Buddhist monks and their people through creation of forums to increase their awareness and participation.

Lastly, we would like to have a parallel session in which the Khmer Krom Buddhist monks and the Vietnamese government work together on a panel to discuss the treaties and its implication for practises of Buddhist monks and other cultural related activities. Policies have and continue to be written without prior consent of Buddhist monks. Now is the time to change this. The interests of indigenous Buddhists will only be represented when there is a recognition and respect for their spirituals role in the community unity and cultural identity preservation.

Thank you Madam Chair.


UNPFII Fifth Session Item 4: Intervention by KKF

Fifth Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
15-26 May 2006 at UN Headquarters, New York City
Delegation: Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation
Speaker: Sothy Kien
Item 4: Human Rights

Madam Chair,

We are pleased with the development of the UN PFII over its five years of existence. Already in its short history, we the Khmer Krom peoples have been able to do more in our diplomacy efforts in a two week period than in our attempts over two centuries to deal in a constructive manner that transforms the culture of conflict to a culture of compassion, peace and justice.

It is evident why this is the case when listening to the tone and attitude of the Vietnamese government on Wednesday. Instead of engaging in a positive, constructive process, the government maintains its position of “resolutely rejects all groundless information” that perpetuates its policies of exclusion of our people in decision-making, elimination of our distinct culture and cosmology, and ultimately extermination.

We are here in the United Nations exercising our right of self-determination. In Vietnam it is prohibited and even punished with stories of torture and turmoil. We continue to self-identity as indigenous people and while Vietnam bans us from realizing our basic human rights in our homeland of Kampuchea Krom since time immemorial, the global community knows at the United Nations that self-identification is one of the first steps of the realization of self-determination.

We also acknowledge Mr Pasharam’s comment and repeat his quote, “How can we hope to achieve the MDGs if they refused to recognize that we are the indigenous people of Vietnam?” Identifying and accepting who are the indigenous people is the responsibility of Vietnam government. The Vietnamese government continues to use the term ethnic minorities instead of indigenous peoples even after our exchange last year where we believed we set the record straight.

We thank Willie Littlechild for his intervention relating to Vietnam and its aggressive nature towards our organizations. This type of aggression was seen by our forum members from last year in which they also accused us of proving false information and said that we had no right whatsoever to talk about Vietnam.

He also brought an important point about self identification. The Khmer Krom people have the right exercise our self-determination. We want to engage in a positive dialogue to protect and promote human rights for all cultures to live together in harmony and hope not hatred and hurtful tones.

Madam Chair we recommend the Vietnamese government have an open door policy which allows for invitation of Special Rapporteurs on Situation of Fundamental Freedom and Human Rights and other related UN Special Rapporteurs to verify and investigate reported human right violations and allow for easy, effective and constructive follow up.

The Vietnam government should create laws and regulations that are translated into positive changes in the lives of people in indigenous communities. It should also bear in mind legislation in other countries that have resulted an implementation gap witnessed in other countries by the SR .

We applaud the effort of Vietnam to create a publication focusing on the MDGs and also echo the praise from the chair Vicki Tauli Corpuz on the creation of such a tool to meet the MDGs. We would like to propose a parallel session next year as a follow up on this years theme between the Khmer Krom and the Vietnamese government together on a panel to discuss what can happen when indigenous peoples engage their governments in a spirit of cooperation to secure social justice for all peoples. Next year, we can build upon the publication to make a difference in the peoples lives in Kampuchea Krom. We hope the government will also put out their hand in peace to show how the Asia region can be a leader in the promotion and protection of human rights. We look forward to bringing the words alive off the paper with positive actions under the theme of the Second Decade in partnership. The panel will be a great follow up to the UN PFII fifth session, something that doesn’t always take place enough. Let’s be leaders together for indigenous peoples of Asia.

Our actions aren’t frivolous and vexatious. They are based on fundamental freedoms and our values as the true indigenous peoples. It is our hope that one day we may begin to work together for the common goal to meet the Millennium indigenous peoples of Kampuchea Krom. Our voice must be heard here and in our homeland.

Madam chair, we seek your help in opening a dialogue so we may begin the process of discussing the MDGs through indigenous participation to ensure effective implementation of projects tailor specific to indigenous needs whilst preserving and protecting their interests and culture.

Thank you Madam Chair.


Vietnam Authority Arrests Venerable Lieu Ny and Venerable Thach Thuol

Urgent Appeal to Release Khmer-Krom Buddhist Monks and Two Civilians

The latest news from Kampuchea-Krom have revealed that Venerable Thach Thuol and Lieu Ny from Tra Set temple, Vinh Hai Commune,  Vinh Chau District, Soc Trang and two others, Thach Phum Rich and Thach Tha have been apprehended by Vietnamese Authorities on the evening of May 20th 2013.

Their location and condition are unknown at this point.

KKF is concerned about the safety of these individuals and would like to seek the help of the foreign embassies in Vietnam and Human Rights organizations around the world to urge Vietnam to:

  • Release Venerable Lieu Ny, Venerable Thach Thuol, Thach Phum Rich and Thach Tha without any conditions.
  • Do not torture Venerable Lieu Ny and Venerable Thach Thoul to force them confess their allege crimes that Vietnam accuses them just like Vietnam did to Ven. Ly Chanh Da of Prey Chop temple.

UNPFII 2009: Item 3(c)


Miss Maly Son speaks at the Eighth Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues on item 3(c) on Second International Decade of the Worlds Indigenous Peoples.

Eighth Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
The Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation
Speaker: Marly Son
Item 3(c): Second International Decade of the Worlds Indigenous Peoples

Madame Chair

Vietnam has claimed that it has achieved the MDGs and yet our people continue to live in poverty, many are losing what is left of their ancestral homes because of the current economic recession which has meant that they are unable to sell their crops.

Very few Khmer-Krom people know about the existence of the MDGs in Vietnam. Thus we are very concerned that the MDGs will not be met if Vietnam continues to deny the existence of the Khmer Krom people as the indigenous peoples of the Mekong Delta.

We are encouraged that Vietnam has supported the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous peoples. We believe it is time that we move forward and start the process of recognising the indigenous peoples of the Mekong Delta.

We would like to suggest the following recommendations:

  • Ask that Vietnam develop a National plan of Action for the Second International Decade in collaboration with the indigenous Khmer Krom people and the Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation. We propose an initial meeting during this 8th session making it truly historic and also an honest and genuine shift for solidarity and social justice in Vietnam that could serve as a model for the ASEAN region
  • Ask that Vietnam incorporate a legal framework for the recognition of Khmer-Krom as the Indigenous Peoples into the National Plan of Action.
  • Ensure that the National Plan of Action addresses the current conflicts that exit between Vietnam and Khmer-Krom through traditional and modern conflict resolution mechanisms.
  • Request the help of the Permanent Forum to set up a parallel session in which Vietnam and KKF can have a dialogue to speak about Khmer-Krom issues and how we can work together to resolve them.
  • Seek the help of UN specialized agencies that are currently working in Vietnam such as CEDAW and UNESCO help monitor the current programs created by the government to ensure that it is culturally appropriate for the Khmer Krom people. For example, instead of creating more schools, we propose that UNESCO uses the existing educational institution that exists in Khmer Krom temples and offer bilingual classes so that Khmer Krom children can keep their identity.
  • Ask that Vietnam work in collaboration with our indigenous organization and UN specialized agencies such as UNESCO and CEDAW to create a series of workshops to educate about their basic rights and fundamental freedoms including women’s rights.
  • Ask that CEDAW help create an indigenous Khmer Krom women center in the regional areas of the Mekong Delta so that they can access to support in health care, education and employment.

In true Partnership for action and dignity, we reaffirm that the MDGs will only be successful in this second decade when unrecognised peoples such as our Khmer Krom are included in all decision making processes that affect them.

For six years, we have asked Vietnam to work with us and consult our Khmer Krom people back home. Let us stay true to the goal of the Second International Decade of the World’s Indigenous Peoples and work together in a genuine partnership so that the Khmer Krom people can fully enjoy their basic rights without fear or discrimination.

Speech by Indigenous Youths


KKFYC Youth stands behind speaker in support of the statement. They were active in suggesting recommendations to the Indigenous Youth Caucus.

Vietnamese Authority Defrocked and Tortured Venerable Ly Chanh Da

Venerable Ly Chanh Da

On May 16, 2013, Vietnamese Authority sent Police to arrest Venerable Ly Chanh Da at Prey Chop temple, Prey Chop commune, Lai Hoa village, Vinh Chau district, Soc Trang province. The police took him to local police station in Lai Hoa village, defrocked him.

According to a Khmer-Krom woman in Prey Chop commune, she told VOKK Internet Radio (vokk.net) that the villagers went to the local police station in Prey Chop commune and saw Ven. Ly Chanh Da was thrown outside of the Police station unconscious. He was wearing a T-shirt and a short pant. The villagers took him back to one of the villagers’ house, helped to make him to become conscious, and dressed him up with the Buddhist rope. When he was awake, he could barely talk and told the villagers that he was tortured and injected two shots under his arms, then he felt unconscious.

There are many polices are now in the Prey Chop temple. The Vietnamese Authority does not allow Ven. Ly Chanh Da to go back to his temple. He is staying at the villager’s house now. He is in a very bad health condition. Sometime he cannot even remember his own name.

On May 13, 2013, at 4pm local time, the Vietnamese polices of Soc Trang province arrested three Khmer-Krom women at Prey Chop commune, Lai Hoa village, Vinh Chau district, Soc Trang province. These women are:

  1. Mrs Lam Thi Xang Lan, born 1957
  2. Mrs. Ly Thi Danh, born 1970
  3. Mrs. Ly Thi Sa Bon, born 1965

Mrs. Lam Thi Xang Lan and Mrs. Ly Thi Danh were arrested at their home and taken to imprison in Soc Trang province. Mrs. Ly Thi Sa Bon was summoned, arrested, and imprisoned at the prison of Vinh Chau district, Soc Trang province. The Vietnamese authority arrested the above three Khmer-Krom women because they supported Venerable Ly Chanh Da. They do not want Vietnamese authority to defrock Ven. Ly Chanh Da because he does not violate any Buddhist rules.

On behalf of the voiceless Khmer-Krom in Prey Chop commune, we would like to urge the foreign embassies in Vietnam and civil societies around the world to urgently request Vietnam to:

  • Provide medical treatment for Venerable Ly Chanh Da. If something happens to Venerable Ly Chanh Da, the Vietnamese authority must be responsible for it.
  • Allow Venerable Ly Chanh Da to go back to his temple.
  • Release Mrs Lam Thi Xang Lan, Mrs. Ly Thi Danh, and Mrs. Ly Thi Sa Bon immediately without any condition.