Author: Don Lam

KKF and Khmer-Krom communities participate in Long Beach, Cambodian New Year Parade

On Sunday April 6th 2014, members of the Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation (KKF) participated in the Annual Khmer New Year Celebration in Long Beach, California, USA.

Cladded in the colors of Khmer-Krom flag of red, blue and yellow, the procession was led by a group of Cha Yum performers dancing to the rhythm of the drums.

In front of the beautifully decorated float, stood a proud Oknha Son Kuy, one of the most renowned and recognized Khmer-Krom heroes from Kampuchea-Krom, who was behead by the Vietnamese Court of Hue in 1841 in exchange for the right of the Khmer-Krom people to live according to their culture, tradition and religion customs.

“We are proud and delighted to work in the collaboration with the Khmer Krom Association of Southern California, and the Khmer Krom Buddhist Temple in Long Beach, California to represent our Khmer-Krom,” says Mr. Prak Sereivuth, KKF Vice President.

A KKF Booth was also set up after the parade allowing visitors to come and ask questions about peaceful advocacy of the organization and the people it represents.

“There were American people as well as Cambodians who came and asked us about the Khmer-Krom map and to learn about our human rights issues,” says Mr. Prak Sereivuth.

Thousands of Khmer-Krom Buddhist monks and people in Kampuchea-Krom are also flocking to their local temples to prepare and celebrate the Khmer New Year, a three day event celebrated by Khmer communities around the world from 14-16th of April 2014.

The Echo of Vietnam’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Second Cycle

On February 5, 2014, the Khmer and Khmer-Krom around the world, especially in Europe, under the leadership of KKF Chairman, Mr. Thach Vien and KKF President, Mr. Thach Ngoc Thach, protested in front of the United Nations in Geneva to voice their concerns regarding to the human rights violations committed by the Vietnamese government against the Indigenous Khmer-Krom Peoples.KKF leads demonstration for Khmer Krom rights

Started from 2:30 PM, the same day, the United Nations Human Rights Council examined Vietnam for Second  UPR cycle. Just like in the first cycle from 2009, Vietnam brought the whole team of 23 representatives, led by the Deputy Minister of Foreign affair, Mr. Ha Kim Ngoc, to defend its human rights record.  

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Press Conference on Torture in Vietnam: Congress Smith’s Excerpt

 

Vietnam: Tortue and Abuse of Political and Religious Prisoners, “Campaign to Abolish Torture in Vietnam, January 2014.” — Excerpt From Congressman Chris Smith’s Report

 

 

The Vietnamese government continues to be an egregious violator of a broad array of human rights and is estimated to hold about 600 prisoners of conscience, including prominent faith leaders such as Father Ly and the Most Venerable Thich Quang Do. One of the points that is repeatedly raised in the hearings that I have held on human rights in Vietnam is that the authorities routinely torture people who are arrested for peacefully exercising their rights. The people of courage who should be celebrated for trying to help their country are instead imprisoned and further victimized by being tortured.

 

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KKF Secretary General Rebuttal To Vietnam’s Article, “Human Rights for development of ethnic minorities”

Rebuttal to the Article Human rights for the development of the ethnic minorities

By Hua Son

KKF Secretary General

 

First and foremost, the Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation (KKF) is a legitimate not-for-profit and the non-governmental organization (NGO).  It is the nonviolent civil rights movement which inspires and trains emerging Khmer-Krom leaders.  We base our strengths upon the legacy of Khmer-Krom heroes, and the legacy of respected world leaders.  The KKF provides the forum and the platform for the Khmer-Krom Youth the skills and the opportunities to speak up, to champion and to win positive changes for their communities.  

 

We are not a “force” hostile to the Government of Vietnam (GVN).  The KKF helps to raise awareness of and to speak up for what the voiceless Khmer-Krom people want and hopefully to work with the GVN to stop and eliminate the human rights violations. The GVN should promulgate and recognize the Khmer-Krom people as the Indigenous Peoples and respect their human rights.  

 

The mission of KKF is, through the use of peaceful measures and international laws, to seek freedom, justice, and the right to self-determination as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UNUDHR) and the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) for the Indigenous Khmer-Krom Peoples in Kampuchea-Krom (Mekong Delta region).  The Khmer-Krom people are entitled to the equal protections under these international laws.  The Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation also seeks to improve the quality of life for Khmer-Krom people and their families.

 

The article under the title “Nhân quyền vì sự phát triển của các dân tộc thiểu số“ published by the Nhan Dan on 12/12/2013 with respect to the Khmer-Krom was distorted and misinformed in several respects:

 

  1. The Khmer-Krom people are not ethnic minorities as classified by the Government of Vietnam.  They are the Indigenous Peoples as defined and recognized by the United Nations.

  2. The Khmer-Krom people and their descendants have been living, nurturing and cultivating on their ancestral land of Kampuchea-Krom since the first century.  Their cultural identity, socio economic well beings and language are established long before the arrival of ethnic settlers, are separate and distinct from all other ethnic minority groups.  The practice of colonialism and neo-colonialism is alive and continues to exist.  This practice can only strengthen and prove that the people of Khmer-Krom are the Indigenous Peoples.    

  3. Contrary to the published policies and announcements, the GVN continues discriminations, intimidations, arbitrary arrests, imprisonments and harassments against the Khmer-Krom people and Khmer-Krom Buddhist monks.

 

While the GVN claims and promotes the “pilot” bilingual education, and the cultural shows, the educational and cultural contents often distorts the true historical facts of the Khmer-Krom people.

We respectfully request that the Government of Vietnam:

  • Immediately and unconditionally releases Venerable Lieu Ny, and Venerable Thach Thuol

  • Immediately and unconditionally releases Mr. Thach Phum Rich, and Mr. Tra Quang Tha.

  • Immediately and unconditionally releases Mrs. Ly thi Danh, Mrs. Lam thi Loan, Mr. Ly Minh Hai, and Mr. Tang Phola.

  • Allow the Khmer-Krom Theravada Buddhist Monks to freely organize as an independent religious association and to freely conduct religious activities in general.

Happy New Year Message from KKF President

Happy New Year Message from KKF President

 

 

ThachNThachFirst and foremost, on behalf of the Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation (KKF), I would like to wish you and yours a happy and prosperous New Year 2014.

 

2013 was such the best year for KKF. I would like to thank to KKF’s members and supporters around the world who worked tirelessly to make KKF’s 2013 plan successful. Regardless of difficulties that we faced in 2013, we were still being able to participate in meetings and conferences to bring the Khmer-Krom human rights violations to: Asian Forum, UNPFII, EMRIP, Pre-URP review, EU Parliament, US Department of State on International Religious Freedom, etc. The KKF’s members and supporters organized peaceful protests around the world to demand releasing our Khmer-Krom Buddhist monks who were arrested, defrocked, and imprisoned without fair trials.

 

 The KKF’s works has had significant positive impact on demanding for the fundamental rights of our beloved Khmer-Krom. The Khmer-Krom flag has been continuously raised higher around the world to represent for the voiceless Khmer-Krom seeking for the right to self-determination.

 

We will continue our work and no one could stop us from helping our people. Our KKF members from around the world came to Orlando, Florida for KKF Year-end Meeting from 13-15, December 2013. The meeting was successfully concluded with the following resolutions for the KKF’s works in 2014:

 

 

1. INTERNATIONAL BEST PRACTICES

 

  • Strengthen Interrelationships among the KKF and other international NGOs including Indigenous NGOs;

  • Hold conferences in Bangkok and Chiang Mai, Thailand;

  • Accelerate the Self-Determination Goal through UN Human Rights Charter & Treaty Bodies and UN Indigenous mechanisms;

  • Work Smartly and Strategically with the international agencies of the United Nations, the European Union and ASEAN; and

  • Do advocacy work at national parliamentary assembly with elected representatives in own country.  

 

2. KAMPUCHEA-KROM BEST PRACTICES

 

  • Build and Maintain the KKF’s Facebook pages by the KKF Youth Committee for informational and educational purposes;

  • Implement succession planning to the top leaders of the KKF, restructuring and adding additional responsibilities to current members with focus on the Khmer-Krom Youths;

  • Update Books’ Projects;

  • Build and Maintain the “Who is Who Khmer-Krom” Project.

 

3. CAMBODIA AND REGIONAL BEST PRACTICES

 

  • Visit three countries: Kampuchea-Krom – Cambodia – Thailand;

  • United Flower Festival to finish building in Wat Samaki Rangsei in Phnom Penh; and

  • Meet with Khmer-Krom Communities and Khmer-Krom’s Local Leaders in Cambodia.

 

 

May the New Year bring to our beloved Khmer-Krom in our homeland FREEDOM – JUSTICE – DEMOCRACY.

 

Sincerely,

 

T.Thach

 

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KKF prepares for next generation of leaders

Florida-USA – On December 13 in the U.S., members of the Khmer Krom Federation in the states in the U.S. territory And some countries in the world such as Italy, France and Canada met in Thomicaram temple, (Orlando) Florida to join in the KKF end of year meeting.

វត្តធម្មិការាមខ្មែរក្រោម ថ្ងៃទី ១៣ ខែធ្នូ ឆ្នាំ ២០១៣៖លោក ថាច់ ង៉ុក ថាច់ ថ្លែងទៅកាន់អ្នកចូលរួមនៅក្នុងកិច្ចជួបជុំថ្នាក់ដឹកនាំសហព័ន្ធខ្មែរកម្ពុជាក្រោមថ្ងៃដំបូង ។

The Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation stresses the importance of youth participation and had set 2014 to be the year of youth empowerment. KKF believes that the young generation of Khmer-Krom are the leaders and the hopes for building better future for the people of Kampuchea Krom. 

In this meeting, Mr. Thach Ngoc Thach, president of Khmer Krom Federation had announced the appointment of Chau Serey, former youth president,  as second vice pr6esident of KKF.

Mr. Samon Thach, a Khmer Krom youth human rights advocate from Washington State was elected as vice treasurer for the Federation, and Ms. Sothy Kien, was elected as youth president in place of Chau Serey.

This year has seen a large increase in interests and participation of youths. The 2014 year sees a call from KKF to connect with youths around the world and in Kampuchea-Krom to stand up and take their advocacy for human rights of Khmer-Krom people to another level and let the world know what Khmer-Krom people and young leaders of tomorrow want to see in their homeland.

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2012 KKF Year-End Meeting

2012 KKF Year-End Meeting

The members of KKF around the world went to Charlotte, North Carolina, to attend the KKF year-end meeting from 14-16 December 2012. The KKF Chapter in North Carolina had done a wonderful job to host the meeting with more than hundred participants successfully.

Pre-meeting – Friday, December 14, 2012

In the morning, the KKF Board of Directors and its advisors met for a retrospective meeting to evaluate the results of 2012 and set forward the plan for 2013. Dr. Joshua Cooper, KKF Advisor, talked about his works to advocate for the Khmer-Krom’s rights in 2012 and briefed about his trip to Cambodia during the ASEAN meeting.

 
In the afternoon, the special guest, Dr. Scott Flipse, Deputy Director for Policy and Research of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, arrived and talked briefly to the KKF Board of Directors about how to help KKF leaders to advocate for the religious freedom of the Khmer-Krom in Vietnam more effectively.

In the late afternoon, Mr. To Kim Thong and Mr. Tran Mannrinh talked about their trip to Cambodia on November during the ASEAN Meeting. 

In the early Evening, the members started arriving. The pre-meeting opens up for the members to express their concerns and suggestions to the KKF leaders.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

In the morning, after a formal meeting opening by KKF Chairman, Mr. Thach Vien from France, Venerable TT Dhammo, KKF Director of Religious Affair, led the Buddhist chanting to pray for the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting. The Buddhist monks attended the meeting also shared and blessed for the victims’ families to overcome the tragedy.

Mr. Thach Ngoc Thach, KKF President from Canada, presented a presentation “March to Freedom” to talk about the activities of KKF in 2012. The KKF Director, KKF Regional Presidents also presented the reports of their 2012 activities to the members.
In the afternoon, there was a panel presented by the special guest speakers:


Mr. Kok Ksor, President of the Degar Foundation, expressed his appreciation for inviting him to talk at the meeting. He was really happy with the cooperation between KKF and his organization because we all share the common issue: the human rights violations against our people. He looks forward to work with KKF leaders to raise the issues more effectively to the International spotlight.

Former United States Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of East Timor, Grover Joseph Rees, talked about the institutional culture of the foreign ministry and relationship among governments. Ambassador Rees discussed about how to present the Khmer-Krom issues effectively. He also reminded the KKF members to use their power as the US citizen to bring the Khmer-Krom human rights violations to the US politicians.

Dr. Scott Flipse talked about how his organization has helped defending the religious freedom for the people in Vietnam. He mentioned that he already had two trips to Khleang (Soc Trang) to talk with the Vietnamese officials regarding to the religious freedom violations against the Khmer-Krom. He expressed emotionally about why he wants to help the Khmer-Krom Buddhist monks who were arrested, defrocked, and imprisoned in Khleang in 2007. When he heard those Buddhist monks told him how they were tortured in prison, he could not stand it. He said that the Vietnamese religious leaders who had been arrested and imprisoned in Vietnam, none of them were tortured.

To help brining the Khmer-Krom issues effectively to the US government, Dr. Flipse suggested KKF members should contact and write letter to their congressman/congresswoman urging them to help raising the religious freedom violations against Khmer-Krom in Vietnam. He also suggested that KKF should send representatives once a month to Washington DC to meet other religious freedom advocacy groups to join them raising the religious freedom violations around the world which is also included the issues of the Khmer-Krom.

Ms. Sara Colm, former Human Rights Watch researcher, talked about the fundamental rights that the Peoples must have and relate them to the human rights violations against the Khmer-Krom.

Ms. Colm brought up a very important point that the Khmer-Krom in Mekong Delta will be facing is the affected of the Global Warming. She pointed out that if the sea level keeps raising, the Mekong Delta will be flooded and the Khmer-Krom people have to move away from their homeland. Vietnam has been receiving funds to preventing the affected of global warming. She suggested that KKF needs to make sure that the Khmer-Krom people are included in whatever policies that Vietnam put into action.

Dr. Cooper gave an excellent talk about how he and KKF had worked together to bring the Khmer-Krom human rights violations at the United Nations meetings (CERD, CRC, UNPFII, EMRIP) and lobbied the governments around the world. He also talked about his trip to Cambodia in November to teach human rights for the Khmer-Krom youths and Khmer-Krom Buddhist monk students. He showed the picture of his class using the candle light to learn Human Rights because the Cambodian government turned off power to preventing him from teaching the human rights class to the Khmer-Krom.

After the special guests spoke, there was an open discussion for the members to ask questions to the speakers.  
At night, the North Carolina KKF local chapter hosted a Party to welcome all the participants coming to the meeting.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

In the morning, the KKF regional and local presidents who did not present their reports in Saturday continued to present their reports. The KKF Women team, led by Mrs. Son Thi Nit, KKF Director of Women, presented their activities report.

The KKFYC team, led by Serey Chau, KKF Director of Youth, presented a presentation about the KKFYC activities in 2012 and plan for 2013. Sothy Kien and Lenny Thach gave the impressive talk about why the Khmer-Krom youths should join the KKFYC to seek for the freedom for the voiceless people in Kampuchea-Krom. They urged the KKF local leaders to send the youths in their local community to join the KKFYC team and support the youths to attend the UNPFII and the Khmer-Krom Youth Conference.

Dr. Cooper gave a quick talk about the meetings in 2013 at the UN and around the world that KKF should attend to effectively raise the issues of the Khmer-Krom.

In the afternoon, a special guest, Venerable Loun Sovath, Receiver of the 2012 Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders, gave an excellent talk about the role of the Buddhist monks in defending the fundamental rights. He expressed his support to KKF for using non-violent as the Principles of Buddhism to seek for the right to self-determination for the Khmer-Krom.

Mr. Sarey Chau, KKF treasure, and Mr. Giap Tran, KKF Chief of Administration, presented the financial plan urging members to help raising money to help KKF sustain its work and activities.

The meeting is concluded with the adopted resolution as the guideline for KKF to implement its plan for 2013.


The KKF leaders around the world expressed their appreciation to thank to all the members of the North Carolina KKF local chapter who worked so hard to host the KKF year-end meeting successful.