23 May 07 By Savery Sralanh Khmer Translated from Khmer and posted online Although Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government did not care much about the suffering of the Khmer Kampuchea Krom [KKK – ethnic Khmer of ancient Cambodian territory in southern Vietnam] brethren and Buddhist monks and although Heng Samrin, chairman of the National Assembly and honorary president of the Cambodian People’s Party [CPP], regarded the problems of the KKK people as Vietnam’s internal affairs, a CPP MP and Sam Rainsy, president of the opposition party, considered the KKK brethren as people sharing the same Khmer blood as Cambodians in Cambodia. Sam Rainsy told reporters yesterday morning concerning the KKK people, “Since the time of Sangkum Reastr Niyum [Sihanouk’s pre-1970 ruling party] Cambodia has given the KKK the same treatment as other Cambodians in Phnom Penh. The current government, therefore, must help the KKK brethren who have decided to come over to live in present-day Cambodia so that they have means to make a decent living and enjoy the same rights as all other Cambodians.” Asked what the Sam Rainsy Party can do to help the KKK brothers and sisters living scattered all over the country, Sam Rainsy said, “We have People’s Representatives, members of the Senate, former People’s Representatives, and former members of the Senate who are native KKK. They clearly understand the lot of the KKK brethren and they have kept close contact with the KKK communities in all provinces and cities, and there are many KKK brethren living in Kirivong district of Takev province.” Sam Rainsy further stated, “We must organize our KKK brethren into a fully recognized community with equal rights as all other Cambodians in Cambodia.” Asked whether he had heard anyone raise the KKK brethren’s issue, Sam Rainsy said, “This issue has been raised. These people have always complained that in Vietnam they (the KKK brethren) are treated as Khmer but in the country of the Khmer they are considered to be Vietnamese. For this, they do not know where to go… Therefore, we should regard them as Cambodians like the rest of us inside Cambodia. Particularly, we should let them enjoy the right to vote and should issue them the ID cards so that they can go to vote like other Cambodians. Sometimes the illegal aliens (Vietnamese) disguise themselves as Khmer and get the right to vote while the Cambodians with Khmer blood coming from Vietnam are not allowed to do so.” As for the United Nations, it supports the stance that all governments in the world must recognize the civic rights of the people living on their soil, those like the KKK people. Sam Rainsy stated, “I am very happy to see the United Nations have its institution, its special mechanism for protecting the rights of the minority people. In every country, especially as far as our KKK brethren are concerned, the minority people who are indigenous must be accorded more attention regarding the abuses of their rights.” Concerning the lack of attention or outright indifference shown by the current Phnom Penh administration toward the KKK brethren, some of them with children forbidden from going to school, Sam Rainsy said, “I admire our KKK brothers and sisters for one thing: their solidarity. I frequently make overseas visits and find that the KKK associations and communities are very lively, very active. Everywhere, the KKK temples show unity and harmony. This is an example of solidarity for all Cambodians to learn from the KKK.” Sam Rainsy said that the KKK can be very useful, for they can distinguish who are Khmer and who are not because there are many aliens (Vietnamese) who have disguised themselves as Khmer and some of them have been playing roles in the armed forces while others have been serving as government officials. We Cambodians in Phnom Penh sometimes cannot recognize who is a KKK and who is a Vietnamese; but the KKK brethren can differentiate them immediately, he said. For this reason, we need the KKK brethren for them to help us point out who really are Khmer and who really are the foreigners pretending to be Khmer in order to take over the leading roles in the country. These people do not serve the interests of Cambodia; they falsely present themselves as Khmer to serve the interests of the foreigners. On 20 April KKK Buddhist monks and brethren submitted a petition to Heng Samrin, chairman of the National Assembly, in order to demand that the Vietnamese Government stop harassing the KKK monks and people. The petition was submitted to Heng Samrin at the same time as Vietnamese National Assembly Chairman Ngueyn Phu Trong was visiting Cambodia. Heng Samrin then said that he would not interfere in the internal affairs of the Vietnamese Government. This remark shows that the Cambodian National Assembly chairman does not recognize the KKK brethren as fellow Khmer nationals. Cheam Yiep, People’s Representative from Prey Veng constituency and a high-ranking CPP official, told reporters at the National Assembly yesterday morning that the KKK brethren also have Khmer blood. Cheam Yiep said, “In my capacity as a People’s Representative, I deem it necessary to help them (KKK) as part of a People’s Representative’s task.” Responding to the question that whether he had received any information about the KKK brethren having complained that the government did not help them and that they had never received any Red Cross gifts from Mrs. Bun Rani, the wife of PM Hun Sen, Cheam Yiep said, “I would like to inform you that we have not yet been told about that. As Buddhists, it is our obligation to help other people. Moreover, I believe in the Red Cross. If it knows or hears about people in distress, it cannot refuse to help, for Mrs. Bun Rani Hun Sen is a very devout Buddhist with a great belief in Buddhism and she is a very generous person always ready to come to the rescue of any poor and victimized people. If she knows of any victims she will help them.” Asked how he would appeal for help for the KKK brethren who are suffering so badly, especially the children who cannot go to school, Chea Yiep stated, “I would like to inform you that because they have the same blood as mine, no matter where they live so long as they are Khmer I appeal for help to the authorities of the country, as well as the authorities at all levels. If I chance upon them myself, I will not avoid helping those in need. I will do whatever necessary to help all the Khmer brethren sharing the same Khmer blood to have education so that together we can defend and rebuild our country.” This claim by Cheam Yiep shows that not all CPP leaders have refused to recognize the KKK brethren. At least, this is better than Heng Samrin, who did not consider the KKK people as Cambodians and said that their problems were Vietnam’s internal affairs. Because he cannot tell the Khmer apart from the Vietnamese, the Vietnamese troops installed him in power on 7 January 1979 so that it would be easy for Vietnam to use him to kill the KKK people in various ways on behalf of the Vietnamese.