Political & Economic Situation in Southeast Asia: the Case of the Indigenous Khmer-Krom People
The Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation (KKF) together with the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) organise a one-day international conference entitled “Political & Economic Situation in Southeast Asia: the Case of the Indigenous Khmer-Krom People” in Paris on 2 June 2018 from 9am to 5pm to raise awareness of the situation of the the Khmer-Krom. The conference will be hosted by French Senator André Gattolin and will take place in Palais du Luxembourg, 15ter rue Vaugirard, 75006 Paris, France.
Nowadays, the indigenous Khmer-Krom communities suffer under the lack of a fair and uncorrupted judiciary system to deal with land claims but also under the excessive use of force by the authorities particularly towards Theravada Buddhist monks, the poor implementation of their rights to freedom of religion, expression and self-determination, as well as tactics of coercion based on intimidation, imprisonment without a fair trial and torture. Although the Vietnamese government has incorporated key human rights standards in the national Constitution and ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the implementation of these human rights is severely lacking.
The conference will gather members of the Khmer community, scholars, elected officials and members of the civil society. While the morning session will feature panels focusing on contemporary human rights abuses in the Mekong Delta, Kampuchea-Krom, the afternoon session will focus on the international human rights system meant to protect and promote the fundamental rights for the Khmer-Krom. The event will be held in English.
Registration: Send your full name and ID number at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For detailed information, please visit: http://unpo.org/article/20747
2018 Happy New Year Message from KKF Executive President
Friday, December 22, 2017
Dear KKF Members, Supporters, and Friends:
With the holidays upon us and the 2018 fast approaching, on behalf of the Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation (KKF), I would like to wish you and your family a wonderful holiday and wishing the New Year brings tremendous joy and good luck for you that take you to newer heights of success.
Now that we are a few days into the New Year, it’s good to look ahead and think about what this year may bring us. But, we need to reflect what we had done in 2017. First and foremost, I would like to say thank you to our KKF members who have worked tirelessly around the world to ensure that the fundamental rights of our voiceless Khmer-Krom in Kampuchea-Krom are protected and promoted as enshrined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN DRIP).
2017 was quite a year for all of us at KKF. Regardless of the obstacles that KKF faced, the KKF leadership team had managed to conduct activities successfully around the world. Below are links to the summary of KKF activities in 2017:
Even KKF had achieved a successful mission in 2017, but the New Year comes with greater challenges and obstacles. It is important for us to use our time wisely and move forward as decisively and swiftly as we can in 2018. That will only be possible with your continued support, dedication, and teamwork. We will continue operating KKF as a team under the leadership of the members of the KKF Board of Directors and most importantly to ensure that no one is above the law.
Every New Year gives us the perfect chance to start something new and fresh. Working as a team in the KKF family, we will continue to work hard together to ensure our people back home could enjoy the freedom as we are living abroad. Happy New Year 2018!
Open Letter to the President of Vietnam – Mr. Tran Dai Quang
Appeal to Return the Sacred Land to the Temple
Pennsauken, 17 April 2017
Embassy of Vietnam
Att.: Mr. Tran Dai Quang, President of Vietnam
1233 20th St NW, Suite 400
Washington, DC 20036
Dear Mr. President:
Recently, there was disturbing news on the social media regarding a land dispute between a Khmer-Krom temple and local Vietnamese families who built their houses illegally on the Khmer-Krom temple’s lands. The Khmer- Krom Buddhist followers in the Mekong Delta anonymously contacted our Internet Radio, Voice of Kampuchea-Krom, to express their concern and to ask for help in appealing to your government to return the sacred land that has been confiscated from the Khmer-Krom temple.
The confiscated land belongs to the Khmer-Krom temple, named “Me Pang”, located at the 4th commune, Phong Phu village, Cau Ke district, Tra Vinh province (Ấp 4, Xã Phong Phú, Huyện Cầu Kè, Tỉnh Trà Vinh). The temple was built on this land before 1975 and later moved to a new location where currently the temple is located. Even though the temple is not located on this land, the Khmer-Krom Buddhist monks and villagers in this commune have continued to organize Buddhist ceremonies every year on this land.
During 1993 and 1994, there were some Vietnamese families asking the temple if they could temporary build shelters to live on the temple’s land. They promised that they would move out when the temple needed the land back. Since the temple did not need to use the land yet they agreed for them to living there temporarily. One of those families is the family of Mr. Phan Van Cua who later secretly bribed the local government to get the land title without the consent of the temple. The temple has been filing complaints with the court of Cau Ke district for almost a decade, but the court keeps denying justice for the temple. The court keeps using tactics saying that the temple does not have the land title to claim ownership. Using same tactic, the other Vietnamese families living on the temple’s land now refuses to move out as well.
As indigenous peoples practicing Theravada Buddhism and living on their homeland in the Mekong Delta for thousands of years, our people believe that our temple’s land is the sacred land and that no one can take away their temple’s land. The Khmer-Krom temples’ lands in Mekong Delta have never had a land title. The court of Cau Ke district has been using the tactic to demand the temple land title in order to resolve the dispute. This clearly shows that the court is against the belief of the Khmer-Krom and violates Article 24.2 of Vietnam Constitution: “The State respects and protects freedom of belief and of religion”.
In this regard, we would like to urge you to help to investigate this issue to find justice for our Khmer-Krom temple. Hopefully, the temple will be able to get back the confiscated lands to organize the ceremony peacefully without disturbing the people living on the temple’s land.
Venerable TT Dhammo
KKF Director of Religious Affairs
The Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation hosted its Annual Meeting for the year of 2016 in Las Vegas from 13 January to 15 January 2017. More than one hundred members from around the world, including Italy, Cambodia, Canada and the United States attended this important meeting because it was not just the annual meeting, but this also marked the 20th years that the organization adopted its name as the Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation.
On Friday, 13 January 2017, the KKF Board of Directors and Advisors had a closed door meeting at the Rio Hotel to frankly discuss how to strengthen the organization to lead the movement to seek justice for the voiceless Khmer-Krom in Kampuchea-Krom effectively. Moreover, the members of the BoD and advisors also seriously reviewed all the issues that the organization is facing, especially the issues that Mr. Thach Ngoc Thach has repeatedly violated the By-Laws and the Code of Conduct of the organization. The members of the BoD decided to unanimously vote to withdraw the confidence in Mr. Thach Ngoc Thach as Executive President of the organization.
On Saturday, 14 January 2017, the second day of the annual meeting took place at the Elegante Banquet Hall. The members had a chance to listen to the history of the KKF’s name and activities of the KKF in 2016 from the KKF BoD members, advisors, Khmer-Krom Buddhist monks, and the core members of the KKF Youth Committee (KKFYC). KKF presented the Human Rights Awards to honor the Khmer-Krom Human Rights Activists who used to be imprisoned in Kampuchea-Krom. During the Q&A session, the KKF BoD members clearly answered all the accusations and questions that the members concerned.
On Sunday, 15 January 2017, the last day of the meeting took place at Buddhica Khmer Temple. The members had another chance to ask questions to KKF leaders. The KKF regional and local presidents updated their 2016 activities and gave suggestion to the KKF BoD to build into the 2017 plan. Right before the closing, Mr. Son Hua represented for the KKF BoD to read a Press Release regarding removing Mr. Thach Ngoc Thach from the office of the executive committee.
Mr. Thach Xe represented for KKF thank members of KKF chapter in Las Vegas, especially the committee members of the Buddhica Khmer temple for hosting this historical event.
During this holiday season and with the New Year fast approaching, on behalf of the Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation (KKF), I would like to wish you and your family a joyous holiday season and a new year filled with health, happiness and prosperity. One that is filled with hope for a world to be truly at peace.
The best part of the holiday season is remembering those who make the holidays meaningful. We would like to say a special thank you to our KKF members who have worked tirelessly around the clock and the world to ensure that the Khmer-Krom voice is heard. From San Francisco, New York, Washington DC (United States), Toronto, Montreal (Canada), Paris, Lyon, Toulouse (France), The Hague (Netherland), Geneva (Switzerland), Brussels (Belgium) Canberra (Australia), Bangkok (Thailand) to Dili (Timor Leste), Gyeongju (Republic of Korea), our voice for the voiceless Khmer-Krom in Kampuchea-Krom was loud and clear.
In May 2016, the members of KKF around the world came to San Jose, California, to elect the Board of Directors (BoD) for the 2016-2020 term. The Code of Conduct was signed by the newly elected BoD, thereby upholding their professional commitment to serve the interest of KKF, first and foremost.
As we close the final chapter on 2016, this upcoming new year will kick start with a celebration of our collective work for the last twenty years. From January 13-15th, the KKF BoD and supporters will meet at the heart of Las Vegas to plan for 2017. The BoD members will summarize the activities of 2016, answer all the questions from the members and present the plan for 2017. I look forward to meeting our KKF members at this important event.
Let’s working hard together to “Make KKF Great Again”. Let’s start making the “New Year 2017 legendary!”
Due to miscommunication and confusion lately regarding to where the KKF will host the Annual (Year-End) Meeting for 2016, on behalf of the KKF BoD, the Chairman of KKF, officially announced and wrote an invitation letter to the KKF members around the world to attend the Annual Meeting from 13-15 January 2017, in Las Vegas. Please see attached invitation letter for detail information:
Invitation letter in Khmer
Invitation letter in English