16 May 2007 By Kim Pov Sottan – Radio Free Asia Translated from Khmer by Heng Soy The chairman of Committee No. 5 of the National Assembly plans to send a letter, this Thursday, demanding that the secretary-general of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) and the Cambodian authority re-examine the problems faced by Khmer Krom monks. Son Chhay, chairman of Committee No. 5 in charge of foreign affairs at the National Assembly, declared that the actions taken by the Vietnamese authority constitute a serious violation on the religious rights of native people (of Kampuchea Krom). Son Chhay said: “If we compare the actions taken by Vietnam to protect the Vietnamese people who come to live in Cambodia, Vietnam is following and defending (its people) on a daily basis. But for us, Cambodians who are the native people, the owners of the lands of Kampuchea Krom, and who are the victims, we (the Cambodian government) are ignoring them (Khmer Krom), this is something that (my) committee must keep on reminding. Secondly, we will send a letter to the secretary-general of the CPV asking him to examine this issue.” The plan for the demand by opposition MP Son Chhay took shape after a report indicated that 5 Khmer Krom monks were sentenced to 2 to 5-year jail last Saturday. The sentence was handed down because the monks have demonstrated to demand for religious freedom and religious worship (rights). Up to now, the Cambodian government has not reacted to this problem. Monk Bou Kry, the Buddhist patriarch of the Thammayut sect, said that he recognized that religious violations (took place), however, he said that there is nothing else that he can do besides praying for the Khmer Krom monks so they may find peace. Samdech Bou Kry said: “It (religious violation) did take place, this is not the first time that it is seen in Vietnam. I can only recite prayers, send the blessings to ask for peace, so that there is no clash between each others (Vietnamese authority, and Khmer Krom monks and people), so that they love each other, irrespective of whether one follow a religion or not, but in our name as human beings.” The incidents in Kampuchea Krom come at a time when the US commission issues its yearly report on international religious freedom. A copy of the report that RFA received in May indicated that Vietnam is still oppressing and threatening ethnic minorities [in Vietnam], and Vietnam still jails monks. In this report, in addition to showing the various violations perpetrated by Vietnam on numerous religions, detailed information was provided about the defrocking of Khmer Krom monks in Soc Trang province (Khleang province in Khmer). The US commission provides several recommendations to the US government which include among others: the demand to revisit aid package provided to Vietnam, and the increase of budget to support religions in Vietnam. US human rights activists plan to visit Khleang province next month, following the (jail) sentence handed down to Khmer Krom monks.