Category: unpfii-recommendations-kkf

Item 9: Future Work

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Wednesday 30 April 2008
Speech given by Miss. Sophac Thach on the Future Work agenda item

Madame Chair,

We are particularly encouraged by your response comment on Tuesday towards the statement made by Vietnam representative that, “the purpose of the permanent forum is to have indigenous people to be able to voice their concerns on any issues relating to people in their homeland.”

In Vietnam there is growing evidence that the indigenous Khmer Krom and other indigenous peoples often bear the greatest burden of poverty. There are also social barriers that limit indigenous Khmer Krom and the Montagnard peoples the capacity to take an active role in decision-making through the local community. These include limited access to services, programs and lack of recognition and representation. For example, in Vietnam it is prohibited for people to stand up for their basic rights and/or form any social support organization. The KKF accumulates information from our homeland to present to the global community to protect our fellow Khmer Krom.

Vietnam attends the UNPFII every year and also supported the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We Khmer Krom and Degar peoples are irrefutably indigenous people but yet Vietnam continues to deny our identity and our rights as the indigenous peoples. Vietnam needs to commit more than just rhetoric and repeated statements, we need the dialogue you Madam Chair suggested. We are extended a hand of human rights, reconciliation and peace in our region of Asia to the Vietnam government. Will they accept a historic meeting this week or will we repeat this scenario again next year while more Khmer Krom’s lives worsen?

In light of the forum’s future work, we would like to propose the following recommendations:

  • We seek the Permanent Forum to set a commission for the recognition of Indigenous people which should be invited by the Vietnamese Government.
  • We request that Vietnam to have an open dialogue with our Khmer kampuchea-Krom Federation as a first step.
  • Request the help of the Permanent Forum members and Madame Chair to set up a series of meeting with Khmer Kampuchea-Krom Federation, Montagnard Foundation and the Vietnam government so that we may begin the process of identifying our indigenous peoples in their respective areas. Only through such dialogue can the needs of our indigenous peoples become visible and the achievement of the MDGs become a collaborative aspiration by all.

    Thank you.

KKF Intervention on Vietnam Government Speech

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Wednesday 30 April 2008
Speech given by Mrs. Somalin Thach

Land is our life, when you take our land you take our life. Today, landlessness is becoming a rampant issue, with many being forced to find other means of survivals, majority of which are not traditional methods of survivals. Due to lack of Vietnam government financial support for the Khmer Krom, Montagnard, and other Indigenous Peoples, migration to the cities has increased.

Lack of job opportunities, increase land confiscation, and failed crops have forced hundreds of thousands of Khmer Krom to migrate to Prey Nokor (Ho Chi Minh City) or across the border to Cambodia. As a result many fall into dangerous traps: sex trafficking rings and forced labour.

For the last four years, since we have joined the forum, all we have heard from Vietnam is the denial of our positive contributions to the Permanent Forum. We thank Madame Chair’s immediate intervention and Special Rapporteur’s ongoing efforts to communicate with States-of-Concern on legitimate claims, and agree that it is time for Vietnam to do more than continue to deny our genuine voice of the indigenous peoples of Vietnam at the forum.

We, members of the Khmer Kampuchea-Krom Federation and the Montagnard Foundation are here today because our people are not allowed to represent themselves in our respective homelands. If Vietnam does not want us to be here, then why is there not a single indigenous representative group from Vietnam here today?

The State’s accusation that our information provided to the forum is falsified. Our interventions are facts assembled by recognized reliable and independent sources such as on Human Rights Watch reports, and the US State Department Human Rights annual reports.

The Vietnamese government has wrongfully accused KKF and MFI of being separatists in order to undermine our credibility, discourage the international community from supporting our organizations, and to convince the UN State Members to sit passively by while Vietnam annihilates us, the Khmer Krom people and the Degar people, who are the original occupants and indigenous peoples of these lands. All we have ever wanted is for the Vietnamese government to respect our rights as humans and as indigenous peoples, which their government affirmed in articles 3 and 4 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

You the settlers accuse us of being separatists. How can we separate from our own homeland? We have never left our land. We are still here after all of the abuses. We are the evidence of the colonialism, not the problem. We would love to live in our homeland together with all people and work together for a better future in Kampuchea Krom for all future generations.

However, we can’t even get the government to begin the first step to meet. If they would meet we would purchase our airfare to return and begin reconciliation.

Vietnam says that our participation is a distraction to the Permanent Forum and governments around the world. This statement is really insulting and an illustration of the lack of respect we receive in our own homeland where we are despised by the officials.

Today, We ask for the support of our indigenous brothers and sisters of the world, government and UN agencies to show to Vietnam that we are indeed making a positive contribution.

Vietnam needs to commit more than just rhetoric and repeated statements,we need the dialogue you Madam chair suggested. We are extended a hand of human rights, reconciliation and peace in our region of Asia to the Vietnam government. Will they accept a historic meeting this week or will we repeat this scenario again next year while more Khmer Krom’s lives worsen?

Also ask Vietnam to extend an invitation to the UN special rapporteurs that focus on areas covered by the agenda of the UN PFII such as Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Indigenous Peoples, Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, Special Rapporteur on Health etc.

Madame Chair, Forum Members, and the indigenous peoples of the world, I thank you for your support and solidary.

Terriorities, Lands and Natural Resources by Romy Thach

Sixth Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
14-25 May 2007 at UN Headquarters, New York City
Delegation: Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation
Special Theme: Territories, Lands and Natural Resources
Speaker: Romy Thach

Madame Chair,

We would like to congratulate you on your reelection as chair of the UNPFII. We also would like to thank you for visiting our community in exile at the temple in Cambodia in February. Our people that have been forced from our homelands were pleased to meet a member of the international community that cares about our struggle for self-determination.

We will begin with recommendations to ensure our connection to our sacred homelands in the face of dire circumstances denying our identity.

  • KKF seeks the assistance of the United Nations mechanisms for conflict prevention and reconciliation to encourage Vietnam’s recognition of the Khmer Krom people as the indigenous peoples of Mekong Delta of Vietnam. Without doing so, we feel that Vietnam does not fully appreciate the importance of land for the basic survival of the Khmer Krom people.
  • Request the assistance of IOM to work with the Vietnam government to initiate programs to resolve land claims and ensure that the indigenous Khmer Krom people are compensated for their lost of farmlands as well as a return to own land. There are many land claims since 1970. Ask for return of our ancestral lands and properties that were unlawfully taken away by the State and by the Vietnamese newcomers.
  • Ask that Vietnam adopt a national act to recognize the rights of indigenous peoples in Vietnam to their traditional lands and territories specifically the Khmer Krom people as the indigenous peoples linked historically and spiritually to the Mekong Delta. Create and implement non-discriminatory indigenous land laws that respect and protects the lands of the Khmer Krom people and prevent further acts of illegal land grabbing by Vietnamese authorities.
  • Ask that IFAD fund a project to allow Khmer Krom farmers to return to their fields to produce traditional foods for their community. Canal projects that allow salt water into fresh water rice farming area must be stopped immediately to avoid destroying more of Khmer Krom’s land.
  • Request the assistance of UNITAR to provide essential training for the Asia region to enhance conflict resolutions and peace building capabilities between governments and indigenous peoples.
  • Seek the assistance of UNDP to promote and ensure that the indigenous peoples are presented in all decision making for positive programs focusing on reaching the UN Millennium Development Goals for the Khmer people
  • Seek the support of international agencies such as FAO and WHO to provide assistance to examine polluted land to determine its source that has caused thousands of blind farmers and to return the farmers to their traditional land to provide the fundamental nutrition for our peoples. Ask that Vietnam start implementing more effective local systems of monitoring the use of pesticides and their damage to the ecosystem in our homeland.
  • Ask that UNESCO help preserve the sacred sites for all of humanity to share under the UNESCO World Heritage program. One of the first locations that immediately needs protection to preserve Sambua Rangsey temple which was built in 373AD at Tra Khao commune, Hoa An Village, Cau Ke district, Tra Vinh province.
  • Billions of dollars of profit from oil and natural gas extraction in our homeland and our sea at Ocap (renamed Vung Tau) province must cease going to the multinational corporations and corrupt state agencies and develop a program that ensures the collective economic well being of the Khmer communities’ standard of living.
  • Ask that Vietnam start recognize and implement the policy of free, prior and informed consent when implementing programs that encourages participation and consultation with the local Khmer-Krom on all future development projects which take place in their homeland.

Madame Chair, we are convinced that the above measures will improve the living conditions of the Khmer Krom people living under extreme poverty. Such recommendations will help Vietnam achieve Millennium Development goals.

Lastly, we would like to reaffirm our support for the adoption of the Declaration on Rights of the Indigenous Peoples.

Thank you.

Item 4(a): Economic and social development by Sothy Kien

United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
Item 4(a): Economic and social development
Speaker: Sothy Kien

Joint Statement with Montagnard Foundation and the Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation

Madame Chair,

We would like to propose the following recommendations for the effective implementation of the MDGs:

  • That Vietnam recognizes the Khmer Krom people as the indigenous peoples of the Mekong Delta rather than just another ethnic minority group.
  • Ask that Vietnam provides a detail summary of specific policies or programs targeting indigenous peoples that are currently taking place or proposed in their Five Year Socio-Economic Development Plan.
  • The creation of education campaign in Khmer language about the MDGs as well as international human rights instruments such as CEDAW so IPs can be aware of their fundamental freedoms.
  • That the consultation and implementation of such national plans are conducted with indigenous groups and local people to ensure that such programs does not erode their ancestral lands and tradition.
  • Request the aid of the World Bank and IMF to allocate specific funds donated to Vietnam to create vocational programs in the local areas where million of the indigenous Khmer Krom people of the Mekong Delta and the Montagnard of the Central Highlands live.
  • Ask that Vietnam work in close collaboration in genuine partnership with specialized agencies and KKF and other recognized indigenous organization to start identifying who are the indigenous peoples.
  • Ask that victims of the State’s failed or disastrous projects including ones result in contaminating land with salt be immediately compensated to provide the basic living essentials and to halt the influx of Khmer Krom people being forced to move to other cities to find employment.
  • Ask the assistance of United Nations and other governments to encourage Vietnam to adopt the ILO 169 Convention.
  • Request the aid of FOA, ILO and Vietnam to help provide other employment opportunities for the many local Khmer Krom people who are landless or are faced with salt contaminated land.
  • Ask that all special inter-agencies to open workshops during the UNPFII to allow for more effective input and feedback from indigenous organizations about policies and programs in their area of particular concern.
  • Ask that Vietnam allows independent organizations to be formed to enable further social and cultural development of indigenous peoples.
  • Ask that projects to integrate the indigenous peoples into mainstream society be culturally appropriate and sensitive to their distinctive culture without eroding their sense of identity.

    While Vietnam has been recognized for its impressive economic growth in recent years, making 138.6 Billion USD in 2005, the rural areas where Khmer Krom people live does have a not proportional share of Vietnam’s social and economic progress.

    We are particular concern that the MDGs for indigenous peoples will not be met if Vietnam continues to undermine the positive contribution of our work at the Permanent Forum.

Item 7: Future work by Chantria Tram

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Ninth Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
Item 7: Future Work
Joint Statement of Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation and Montagnard Foundation
Speaker: Chantria Tram

Chairman and Distinguished members of the Forum

We are saddened to hear about the common conditions indigenous peoples face regarding boarding schools. Yet, we are pleased to participate in seeking solutions for a new future for our children.

We recommend that Vietnam:

  1. Ensures that the standards of these specialist boarding schools be equal to those of mainstream public schools.
  2. Permits arts and literature to be taught in our languages to safeguard and protect our cultures.
  3. Permits our histories to be taught in both mainstream public schools and boarding schools.
  4. Increases the number of places in all boarding schools and ensures unbiased geographical dispersion of new schools to ensure education for all is not a dream dependent on ethnic background.

Chairman and Distinguished members of the Forum

It is a great honor for me to speak at the 9th Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and provide suggestions to be incorporated into its future work. We cannot change the past but we can and most definitely should collaborate to work for a better future. We are the youth of the Khmer-Krom people.

We have great recommendations for the UNPFII, but a few key questions that we pose each and every year remain unanswered. We once again request clarification from the UNPFII in the hope that a heavy burden be lifted from our hearts.

Still today the Vietnamese government refuses to recognize us as indigenous people of Vietnam. Are our temples in Preah Trapeang (Tra Vinh), Kleang (Soc Trang) and Moth Chrouk (Chau Doc) which are over 2000 years old, many years older than the existence of Vietnam itself not proof of a longstanding connection to our land? Is there a separate rule for Vietnam which states that our long history and distinct culture and tradition are worthless when designating indigenous status?

Unfortunately, this is the 6th year that we raise these concerns. We therefore recommend:

  1. That the Permanent Forum set up a half-day discussion on mechanisms for the representation of unrecognised and marginalised peoples who are not respected by their governments.
  2. That the Permanent Forum set up a Commission on the Definition of Indigenous People which then seeks an invitation from the Vietnamese Government.
  3. And that Vietnam accept our request to have open and constructive dialogue with the Khmer Kampuchea-Krom Federation and the Montagnard Foundation as proof of their commitment to protecting and promoting the rights of their own peoples..

We thank you Mr Chairman for allowing us to voice our concerns and offer our recommendations. We extend the hand of friendship and respect to those willing to enter into dialogue with us. We hope that 2010 marks the year that fruitful collaboration commences so that we find ourselves in a different position at the historic 10th Session next year.

We come here for the past 6 years to learn and try to understand ways to help our youth at home, where they are silenced and living in fear due to the human rights violations. During this time, NGOs such as Human Rights Watch and governments recognize the human rights violations in international law. I humbly ask again, If we are not here to represent our youth today at the UNPFII, who will? Vietnam has wanted to silence us; however we sincerely will continue speaking the truth. It is sad and awkward that the Vietnamese government keeps on denying our very existence and trying to make us invisible yet we are invincible just like our brothers and sisters attending the UNPFII.

Response statement by Vietnam Government, Mr. Nguyen Tat Thanh, Deputy Permanent Representative,

Statement by
Mr. Nguyen Tat Thanh, Deputy Permanent Representative,
Permanent Mission of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam to the United Nations at the Sixth Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

New York, 18 May 2007

Agenda item 4:
Implementation of recommendations on the six mandated areas of the Forum and on the Millennium Development Goals:
(a) Economic and social development;
(b) Environment;
(c) Health;
(d) Education;
(e) Culture;
(f) Human rights;

Madam Chairperson,

My Delegation wishes to congratulate you on your re-election as Chairperson of this Forum. Our equally warm congratulations go to the other members of the Bureau.

With a view to ensuring that the current economic growth benefits all groups of the population, in formulating and implementing socio-economic development policies and programmes, the Government of Viet Nam always takes steps so that they address the particular needs of disadvantaged groups of the population, including the 53 ethnic minorities who live in mountainous and remote areas and make up 12 % of the country’s population.

To achieve sustainable development for mountainous environment it is necessary to ensure harmony and balance between economic growth, social justice and environmental sustainability, and to preserve the cultural identity of all ethnicities. Therefore current priority areas are as follows:

    • To improve the livelihood and progressively meet material and spiritual needs of ethnic minorities, first and foremost, through poverty reduction and job generation programmes, especially for the most poverty-stricken areas. To improve access to basic services such as transportation and road system, irrigation, electricity, water, schools and clinics with a view to ensuring the balanced and realistic development among regions and ethnicities towards harmonious development contributing to the narrowing of development gaps among regions and groups of population. Pursue economic development as the focal task and the means to enhance the quality of life for ethnic minorities while observing the principle of social harmony, sustainable exploitation of natural resources and environment protection.
    • o maintain close linkage between socio-economic development and environment protection. Protect and improve the environment as an indispensable element of development and a must in all socio-economic development strategies, policies and programmes through measures of reasonable exploitation and preservation of resources such as forest, land, water, fauna, flora and genetic resources.
    • To ensure that socio-economic development is not detrimental to the particular and distinguished identity of traditional culture of mountainous ethnicities, by preserving and enriching cultural life of people through, inter alia, studies and preservation of the traditional culture of villages and communes, assisting the organization of various individual or joint cultural events, increasing the radio and television coverage in minority areas with increasing components in ethnic languages.
    • To undertake measures to encourage the participation of the people in identifying their needs, developing and implementing plans and monitoring and assessing their progress, especially the participation of women, local mass organizations and traditional communal organizations in all activities affecting the life of the people concerned.
    • To improve access to healthcare for ethnic minorities through providing free health insurance and some healthcare services, through conducting expanded vaccination programmes with a view to preventing diseases, and through minimizing the number of communes without clinics. As of present 96% of communes have their own clinics and vaccination coverage has reached over 90% and efforts are currently undertaken to ensure less accessible, remote mountainous areas also benefit from these programmes.
    • To develop human resources and pay greater attention to education and training through providing incentives in the enrollment of and support for ethnic students. Currently 8 ethnic writing systems are taught in schools nationwide including HMong, Cham, Bahnar, Jrai, Khmer.

To further implement land, housing and water policies (such as Decisions132 and 134 of 2002 of the Prime Minister for the Central Highland ethinic population) to ensure that every family has their own land for living and farming, adequate, durable and safe housing and individual or shared water supply.

Along this line, the Programme on Socio-Economic Development of communes with special difficulties in mountainous and ethnic minority areas (Programme 135) launched in 1998 has been extended until 2010 on the basis on its success stories and lessons learned. The current phase of Programme135 aims at considerably improving the production and income generation, infrastructure including transportation and irrigation systems, building schools and clinics at all communes, providing electricity and clean water, increasing enrollment rate at schools, providing free legal assistance and capacity building with a view to facilitating monitoring of investments and other activities by communities in their areas.

Madam Chairperson,

Before concluding, my Delegation feels compelled again to state our objection to the participation in this august body by entities, such as Khmer Kampuchea Krom Federation and the Montagnard Foundation, who have been engaging in separatist activities against the State of Viet Nam, including through, inter alia, spreading false information that my Delegation has always rejected. Such actions by these entities and individuals would only negate the effect of efforts by this Forum and my Government toward the betterment of all people on the ground.

Thank you for your attention.

UNPFII: Human Rights

Sixth Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues 14-25 May 2007 at UN Headquarters, New York City

Speaker: Venerable Pin Diep
Item 4f: Human Rights

Joint Statement of United Association Khmer Kampuchea-Krom Buddhist Monks, Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation, Montagnard Foundation

Madame Chair,

Viet Nam comes here to boast its material growth yet its maniacal genocide on indigenous peoples is all the world knows about as more and more human rights violations are being recorded in the media of the world. Like a broken record, the government comes for its fourth year rejecting our participation as you just heard this morning. We will continue to speak truth to power in the streets of our homeland but also the sessions of human rights instruments at the UN.

The intervention this morning labeled our homeland as a marginal area. It is the essence of our existence. It is the core of our cultural survival. While the government speaks of preservation, we are not jam or jelly. We are an indigenous peoples. Our culture must be allowed to be perpetuated through the exercise of our human rights.

Unfortunately, there are many parts of the statement that aren’t true. However, we will focus on just one aspect – the right to health under the ICESCR. The government talks about clinics. However, for four years we have raised the issue of blind farmers and asked the government for a dialogue for positive solutions. Instead, there is a diatribe labeling us as separatists. We have always lived in the Mekong Delta. We aren’t going anywhere. We desire to exercise our right of self-determination. We recommend the government invite the Special Rapporteur on Health to Mekong Delta. This could begin a dialogue we have been requesting for years.

Last year, Vietnam was removed from the list of Countries of Particular Concern by the US prior to entering WTO. Recent events in Kampuchea-Krom, however displays a stark reality of increased human rights violations and religious prosecution of Khmer Krom Buddhist monks and civilians and Degar people.

The use of human rights instruments such as peaceful demonstrations and accessing human rights materials published by our organization have been met with unnecessary military action against our monks. At least nine monks were defrocked and imprisoned after participating in a peaceful protest in the Soc Trang on 22nd February 2007. Five of the defrocked monks have recently been sentenced to 2-5 years imprisonment by Vietnam government for the alleged crime of organizing a non violent protest.

Two Buddhist monks aged 17 were arrested and defrocked for capturing the unfolding events of monks being defrocked by Vietnamese authorities. This is a violation of the CRC and Vietnam is a party to the most widely ratified international human rights instrument.

Madame Chair, such actions by the Vietnam are unnecessarily against our Buddhist. As practitioner of Theravada Buddhism, it is our nature to promote peace and harmony, not conflict against the greater Vietnamese community.

We would like to propose the following recommendations:

  • Reaffirm the recommendation by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom to place Vietnam back on CPC List
  • Ask that United Nations and world governments encourage Vietnam to uphold the international human rights treaties by immediately releasing all fifteen defrocked Buddhist monks.
  • Ask that Vietnam allow our Buddhist monks to create an independent religious organization to promote our rich history, religion and culture and not one that only promotes the one policy propaganda of the Vietnamese government.
  • Ask that Vietnam recognize and respect the rights of Khmer Krom Buddhist monks and civilians to practice their religion as defined by their culture rather by the convenient of the State.
  • Urge the help of the Permanent Forum and UN to send a Special Rapporteur on Religious Freedom to oppressed areas of Tra Vinh and Soc Trang province.
  • Ask Vietnam to acknowledge and allow the right of individuals and religious practitioners to take part in nonviolent demonstrations as a means to express their concerns and opinions by creating and adopting national laws to allow indigenous peoples to use mechanisms of human right.
  • Request the help of UNESCO to translate UN documents including into Khmer and create workshops to allow for greater awareness and protect for our monks.

 

Madame Chair, the intervention by the Vietnam government shows the lack of recognition our rights to be here at the forum. Our objectives like that of our indigenous brothers and sisters are to provide a resounding voice on behalf of our indigenous peoples.

The fact that Buddhist monks are protesting suggest that the work of our indigenous organization is finally reaching our people back home and that they are finally grasping the hungry knowledge of their rights and fundamental freedoms. However, such knowledge remains dangerous especially with the renew oppression by Vietnam to halt all human rights movement.

Lastly, we would like to appeal to all peoples who love peace and harmony to help our Buddhist monks find justice in world dominated by fear tactics and one way policies.

UNPFII Fifth Session: Item 3

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: Jeffrey Kim
Item 3

Madame Chair,

One of the biggest concerns for the Khmer Krom people is the lack of consultation of the Vietnamese government with our people including the Khmers Kampuchea Krom Federation (KKF), an organization representing the Khmer Krom people in South Vietnam. The denial that the Khmer Krom people are not indigenous peoples by the Vietnamese government remains an obstacle in our self determination. KKF’s work continues to be undermined and ineffective, our people disadvantaged and poorly represented with limited access to the vast resources and financial assistance that Vietnam has received from International Financial Institutions and UN specialized agencies. The KKF demands the aid pouring into Vietnam reaches the people in need and a global partnership for development is established.

• To ensure effective implementation of these goals, a two-way communication system should be installed or created between the Vietnamese government and the Indigenous Khmer Krom people in which the UN or a nominated independent organization shall act as a mediator to create a climate of conflict transformation.

• The Vietnamese government needs to work with UNESCO with the full participation of the indigenous Khmer Krom people including the KKF to create initiatives and indigenous specific programs.

• Programs that educate people about their rights and culture should be created, translated in their native language, promoted and implemented immediately to ensure indigenous people have equal access to these facilities.

• Sufficient funding needs to be allocated to combat the high child morality rates and empowering indigenous women through UNFPA and UNIFEM.

• Programs initiated needs to be tailor specific and practical to indigenous peoples

• To ensure reports and claims are correct as reported by the Vietnamese government, the Special Rapporteur must pay a compulsory visit to Vietnam to verify the situation of Khmer Krom people on the ground in South Vietnam.

• Creditable evidence of abuse of indigenous peoples by the responsible government should be reviewed by the UN and prompt action should be taken to allow for the realization of the MDGs by the Khmer Krom.

• A detailed annual report focusing on the human rights situation on the ground should be provided to members of the forum and the indigenous peoples by the Vietnamese government so new ideas may be recommended.

I am aware there are many more speakers sharing their story of struggle in their homelands that are similar. Therefore, I will provide only one example of how the MDGs are currently not being taken seriously by the government and if we do not redefine based on indigenous indicators will result in harm to our people. The Vietnam government admits in its ethnic minorities report, which doesn’t recognize us as indigenous peoples, claims Khmer have a high rate of illiteracy with poor information accessibility. This is true. However, forcing us to learn Vietnamese and only providing information not in our indigenous language will perpetuate the problem not promote a positive solution for our peoples daily enduring the harmful policies at the hands of the government.

Madam Chair, projects needs to feasible and practical to ensure effective implementation. Specifically in our case, we implore the UN to help set up a system which allows for direct consultation with the Vietnamese government so that we as an indigenous organisations may have a more active role in our self determination.

Thank you Madam Chair

 

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.