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.

 

UNPFII 2009: Item 3(c)

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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

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

Intervention Statement by Vietnam Delegation to UNPFII

My delegation wishes to raise concern in regards to a paragraph page 4 for SR Stavenhagen statement which partially concerns the central highland region in Vietnam.

Madame Chair person, my delegations have been participating in this Permanent Forum with the view to provide the Forum with the actual information of ethnic minorities on the ground, on their needs, the issues as well as the government’s efforts to address them.

By doing so, my delegation hopes that this will facilitate the deliberation and adoption that will be effective in addressing the needs of the people at the ground. Therefore, we have in many occasions rejected groundless information provided by some so called [organizations] with questionable political agenda who is based elsewhere outside the country.

Yet it is most unfortunate and disheartening to see that in the Forum such groundless information is more easily picked up coming to the Forum than information provided by my government including those on the government’s effort benefiting all fifty three ethnic minorities in Vietnam; including those in the Central Highlands of Vietnam as stated in the our previous statements.

Also on the question of information and dissidents information. One statement we heard earlier today asserted that my government
Madam Chair person, the constitution and laws of Vietnam guarantees freedom of religion and belief. They also guarantee the principles of equality of all citizens before the law. And that is the principle that we continue to uphold in building the law of the country.

All those who committed crimes punishable under the pinit code will be according prosecuted regards of their ethnicity and religion.

Thank you Madame Chair person.


UN Special Rapporteur, Mr. Stavenhagen Rodolfo in response to Vietnam intervention

I am not sure that some of the issues I referred there are groundless because they have been provided by peoples who provide serious information about my situation. But as Special Rapporteur, of course, very much appreciate and welcome further information on these issues which is precisely the purpose of dialogues that Madame Chair person has asked us to engage in.

Let me just say that over there years that I have sent some communications to the governments of Vietnam regarding some complaints from various sources and I shall request the government of Vietnam to provide an answer to through the effective means available mechanisms and procedures of the Special Rapporteur.

UNPFII 2009: Item 3(c) Vietnam Intervention part 1

Vietnam representatives attempts to make an intervention following the speech of Miss. Marly Son but launches into a full statement. See how the Chair Madame responded.

Vietnam government representative: Madame Chair,
I would like to say thank you for convening this important section, my delegations high appreciates the effort of the secretariat and the vast majority of participants at this Permanent Forum in protecting and promoting the rights of indigenous peoples. We support the spirit of dialogue and cooperation which most of the participants have been engaged in their consideration.

It is in the spirit that we commit always to working closely with other participants to contribute to the success of this forum. My delegations is however, deeply concerned about the registration procedures of the Forum’s participation. We believe that constructive dialogue and sincere cooperation can only be established if the Forum is attended and addressed by right participants who are well informed and therefore truly capable of representing indigenous peoples and discussing genuine concerns of indigenous peoples.

With this in mind, we are obliged to express our objection to the participation and statement just made by Khmers Krom Federation. This so called Federation cannot represent Vietnamese indigenous peoples as they have been based outside the country for many decades. Without any knowledge or reality on the ground, driven by political motivation, they have carried out separatist activities against Vietnamese government and peoples and provoking disunity amongst the Vietnamese peoples. Having provided the Forum’s participants with groundless and distorted information, the only proof is that they are keeping a blind eye is the fact that the Vietnamese nation has worked very hard to handle the war and emerged peaceful and united and they are enjoying a much better live.

All the 54 ethnic groups are pure brothers and sisters of the Vietnamese family with an equal footing in every field and cooperation. Participating in this forum, with such political fabrication, the so called Khmer Krom Federation are actually discrediting this respected Forum, misrepresenting the indigenous peoples in Vietnam, discrediting our section and wasting our time.

Madame Chair, while maintaining our reservation at maintaining…

Madame Chair: Hits the hammer and tells Vietnam to conclude

VN Representative: Madame Chair, we believe we have the right to respond

Vietnam representative wants to continue but Madame Chair said no. Madame Chair announces that she will move to the next speaker. Unhappy, Vietnam representative uses her sign to tap the front desk for attention. After a few attempts, she is forced to give up as Madame Chair moves to the next speaker.

Participants of the Forum applauds Madame Chair for her final decision.

Vietnam Cancels Khmer Krom Side Event at UNPFII

In true communist style, the Vietnam government representatives have cancelled a side event organized by the Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation to screen Rebecca Sommer’s film entitled, “Eliminated without bleeding” to be held on 23nd May 2007.

Detailing the heart breaking story and struggle of the Khmer Krom people in Kampuchea-Krom, the documentary is the first of its kind to portray the startling reality of indigenous peoples of the Mekong Delta.

Yesterday, the Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation received correspondence from Secretariat of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues stating that Vietnam has issued a formal complaint to cancel the side event on the basis of having two scheduled screening of two films on UN premises on 22 May (“Hunted like Animals”)and on 23 May (Eliminated without Blood”).

Despite such acts to subdue the voices of the Khmer Krom people, KKF will be continue to host the side event speaking about the human rights situation in Vietnam.

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Click here to see film on YouTube presented by Rebecca Sommers

UNPFII 2009: Item 3(c) Vietnam Intervention part 2

UNPFII 2009: Item 3(c) Vietnam Intervention part 2

Just before the closing of the Forum on Tuesday, Vietnam was given time to make it full statement. The Vietnamese government representative once again reaffirms its objection to the participation of the members of the Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation and launches into a detailed reponse on what Vietnam has been doing to help Khmer Krom out.
Full statement audio