June 4th, 2013
An organized global action is under way today as the Khmer-Krom community and their supporters have gathered in front of Vietnamese Embassies around the world to protest against a downward spiraling trend of human rights conditions and abuses against their indigenous culture in South Vietnam.
Events precipitating to this on scale global protest arises first from the arrest of a Khmer-Krom buddhist monk, Venerable Ly Chanda of Prey Chop temple from Soc Trang (Kleang) province in Vietnam on May 16th, 2013. The Vietnamese government had accused the Venerable of listening to and providing false interview to an oversea human rights NGO.
Despite the fact that the Vietnamese constitution guarantees the right to freedom of speech, press, and opinion, it did not stop the government from exercising it’s communist state power to discriminate against and prosecute Venerable Ly Chanda on charges which amounts to no more than listening to the radio and giving an interview.
In this flagrant disregard for the Venerable’s rights as declared in country’s constitution and in violation of the International Declarations of Human Rights, authorities ordered armed police to desecrate the temple, breaking windows, and forcing down the pagoda door to forcibly remove the Venerable where he was then taken for interrogation and tortured; injected with unknown substance, and beaten until unconscious.
Following the humiliating treatment of Venerable Ly Chanda and his subsequent televised public defrocking and coerced confession, authorities expanded their crackdown and arrested two more Buddhist monks, the abbot of Ta Set pagoda, Venerable Lieu Ny and Venerable Thach Thuol. Along with the religious leaders, two laypersons, Tra Tha, and Thach Phum Rich were also arrested on charges of supporting the monks. Their whereabouts and safety today, remains unknown.
The protests, which is being undertaken around the world, including Paris-France, Australia, Canada, Cambodia, and the U.S.A condemns these arrests, and the infringement upon Khmer-Krom communities by the state, to exercise and practice their culture without fear and intimidation.
In addition to the demands on Vietnam for immediate and unconditional release of the religious leaders, the Khmer-Krom communities appeal to the U.S to re-list Vietnam under the CPC (countries of particular concern) when it comes to religious freedom.
A U.S based protest will be staged today in front of the Vietnamese embassy at Washington D.C from 11:00 A.M to 12:30 PM at the address below:
1233 20th Street., Washington, DC 20036
National & international media are invited to join the Khmer-Krom communities as they continue their global action to call for respect of their human rights in Vietnam.
Photos from protests from around the world: