People & Culture

For the inhabitants, it is estimated that there are about 8,240,000 Khmer Kampuchea Krom, worldwide. Khmer Krom meaning the Khmer who live in the southern part of Cambodia (Kambuja). Approximately eighty percent of them live in the Mekong delta, and a small number is in other provinces through out the southern part of Vietnam (Today the Socialist Republic of Vietnam). The Khmer Krom people have been in existence in this part of the peninsula since the beginning of the first century. They have sacrificed their lives to hold on to the territory since then. The territory was immense compared to the Khmer population at that time, creating opportunities for expansionist neighbours to invade. For this reason, after the Vietnamese exterminated the Kingdom of Champa; they used all kinds of pretexts and tactics to move their people to Kampuchea Krom. Since the French colonial departed Indochina in 1954, after nearly one hundred years (1867-1954) of domination on this land, Kampuchea Krom has been placed under Vietnamese control. The Khmer authority had filed complaints against this criminal act, but the French National Assembly chose to ignore them. Besides the Vietnamese, there are Cham and Chinese living in Kampuchea Krom. The Khmer Krom are out numbered by their “invaders” and “rulers”, who once asked the Khmer Krom for asylum or migration only. About seventy percent of the Vietnamese and ninety-five percent of the Chinese live in the cities and fill most of important jobs in government and business. The Khmer Krom, live through out the country, especially, in the Mekong delta.

Rearhoo (The Dark Age)

Although Cambodia had a rich and powerful past under the Hindu state of Funan and the Kingdom of Angkor, by the mid 19th century the country was on the verge of dissolution. After repeated requests for French assistance, a protectorate was established in 1863. By 1884, Cambodia was a virtual colony; soon after it was made part of the Indochina Union with Annam, Tonkin, Cochin-China, and Laos. France continued to control the country even after the start of World War II through its Vichy government. In 1945, the Japanese dissolved the colonial administration, and King Norodom Sihanouk declared an independent, anti-colonial government under Prime Minister Son Ngoc Thanh in March 1945. This government was deposed by the Allies in October. Many of Son Ngoc Thanh’s supporters escaped and continued to fight for independence as the Khmer Issarak. Although France recognized Cambodia as an autonomous kingdom within the French Union, the drive for total independence continued, resulting in a split between those who supported the political tactics of Sihanouk and those who supported the Khmer Issarak guerilla movement. In January 1953, Sihanouk named his father as regent and went into self-imposed exile, refusing to return until Cambodia gained genuine independence. Full Independence: Sihanouk’s actions hastened the French government’s July 4, 1953 announcement of its readiness to “perfect” the independence and sovereignty of Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. Full independence came on November 9, 1953, but the situation remained unsettled until a 1954 conference was held in Geneva to settle the French-Indochina war. All participants, except the United States and the State of Vietnam, associated themselves (by voice) with the final declaration. The Cambodian delegation agreed to the neutrality of the three Indochinese states but insisted on a provision in the ceasefire agreement that left the Cambodian government free to call for outside military assistance should the Viet Minh or others threaten its territory. Neutral Cambodia: Neutrality was the central element of Cambodian foreign policy during the 1950s and 1960s. Sihanouk announced the policy in 1955 and reaffirmed it in refusing to join the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO). This policy, and Cambodia’s close relations with communist countries, was unwelcome to its neighbors, Thailand and South Vietnam, resulting in a break in diplomatic relations with both nations. By the mid 1960s, parts of Cambodia’s eastern provinces were serving as bases for North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong (NVA/VC) forces operating against South Vietnam, and the port of Sihanoukville was being used to supply them. As NVA/VC activity grew, the United States and South Vietnam became concerned, and in 1969, the United States began a series of air raids against NVA/VC base areas inside Cambodia. Throughout the 1960s, domestic politics polarized. The middle class opposed Sihanouk’s foreign policy and resented his increasingly autocratic rule, as did the leftists including Paris-educated leaders such as Son Sen, Ieng Sary, and Saloth Sar (later known as Pol Pot), who led an insurgency under the clandestine Communist Party of Kampuchea (CPK). Sihanouk called these insurgents the Khmer Rouge, literally the “Red Khmer.” But the 1966 National Assembly elections showed a significant swing to the right, and Gen. Lon Nol formed a new government, which lasted until 1967. During 1968 and 1969, the insurgency worsened, and Prince Sihanouk became increasingly alarmed at the growing NVA/VC presence in eastern Cambodia and growing anti-Vietnamese sentiment. Sihanouk’s diplomatic efforts to persuade the Vietnamese to leave were unsuccessful. In August 1969, Sihanouk asked General Lon Nol to form a new government, which began to exclude the prince from decision-making. Under increasing pressure from conservatives in the National Assembly, Sihanouk went abroad for medical treatment in January 1970. The Khmer Republic and the War: In March 1970, the National Assembly withdrew its confidence from Sihanouk, declared a state of emergency, and gave full power to Prime Minister Lon Nol. Son Ngoc Thanh announced his support for the new government. On October 9, the Cambodian monarchy was abolished, and the country was renamed the Khmer Republic. Hanoi rejected the new republic’s request for the withdrawal of NVA/VC troops and began to reinfiltrate some of the 2,000-4,000 Cambodians who had gone to North Vietnam in 1954. They became cadre in the insurgency. Prince Sihanouk joined with the insurgents to form the Royal Government of the National Union of Kampuchea (RGNU) in exile in Beijing. The prestige of his name assisted the insurgents in attracting new recruits from the peasantry, but control of the movement rested with the Communist Party under the nominal leadership of Khieu Samphan of the Paris-educated faction of the Communist Party, rather than a Hanoi returnee. The Khmer Republic initially enjoyed broad support from the middle classes in the cities and towns, but much of the peasantry was politically apathetic or loyal to Prince Sihanouk. The United States moved to provide material assistance to the new government’s armed forces, which were engaged against both the Khmer Rouge insurgents and NVA/VC forces. In April 1970, US and South Vietnamese forces entered Cambodia in a campaign aimed at destroying NVA/VC base areas. Although a considerable quantity of equipment was seized or destroyed, NVA/VC forces proved elusive and moved deeper into Cambodia. NVA/VC units overran many Cambodian army positions while the Khmer Rouge expanded their small-scale attacks on lines of communication. The Khmer Republic’s leadership was plagued by disunity among its three principal figures: Lon Nol, Sihanouk’s cousin Sirik Matak, and National Assembly leader In Tam. Lon Nol remained in power in part because none of the others was prepared to take his place. In 1972, a constitution was adopted, a parliament elected, and Lon Nol became president. But disunity, the problems of transforming a 30,000 man army into a national combat force of more than 200,000 men, and spreading corruption weakened the civilian administration and army and drained the enthusiastic urban support so prevalent just after Sihanouk was deposed. The insurgency continued to grow, with supplies and military support provided by North Vietnam. But inside Cambodia, Pol Pot and Ieng Sary asserted their dominance over the Vietnamese-trained communists, many of whom were purged. At the same time, the Khmer Rouge forces became stronger and more independent of their Vietnamese patrons. By 1973, the Khmer Rouge was fighting major battles against government forces on their own, and they controlled nearly 60% of Cambodia’s territory and 25% of its population. At the same time, concern about continued US support began to affect the republic’s morale. The government made three unsuccessful attempts to enter into negotiations with the insurgents, but by 1974, the Khmer Rouge were operating as divisions, and virtually all NVA/VC combat forces had moved into South Vietnam. Lon Nol’s control was reduced to small enclaves around the cities and main transportation routes. More than 2 million refugees from the war lived in Phnom Penh and other cities. On New Year’s Day 1975, communist troops launched an offensive which, in 117 days of the hardest fighting of the war, destroyed the Khmer Republic. Simultaneous attacks around the perimeter of Phnom Penh pinned down republican forces, while other Khmer Rouge units overran firebases controlling the vital lower Mekong resupply route. A US-funded airlift of ammunition and rice ended when Congress refused additional aid for Cambodia. Phnom Penh and other cities were subjected to daily rocket attacks causing thousands of civilian casualties. Phnom Penh surrendered on April 17; five days after the US mission evacuated Cambodia. Democratic Kampuchea: Many Cambodians welcomed the arrival of peace, but the Khmer Rouge soon turned Cambodia – which it called Democratic Kampuchea (DK) – into a land of horror. Immediately after its victory, the new regime ordered the evacuation of all cities and towns, sending the entire urban population out into the countryside to till the land. Thousands starved or died of disease during the evacuation. Many of those forced to evacuate the cities were resettled in “new villages,” which lacked food, agricultural implements, and medical care. Many starved before the first harvest, and hunger and malnutrition – bordering on starvation – were constant during those years. Those who resisted or who questioned orders were immediately executed, as were most military and civilian leaders of the former regime who failed to disguise their pasts. Prince Sihanouk returned from exile with members of the RGNU, but the Communist Party held all significant power. Within the CPK, the Paris-educated leadership – Pol Pot, Ieng Sary, Nuon Chea, and Son Sen – was in control. A new constitution in January 1976 established Democratic Kampuchea as a communist “people’s republic”, and a 250-member “Assembly of the Representatives of the People of Kampuchea” (PRA) was selected in March to choose the collective leadership of a State Presidium, the chairman of which became the head of state. Sihanouk resigned as head of state on April 4, and RGNU Prime Minister Penn Nouth announced the resignation of the RGNU cabinet April 6. On April 14, after its first session, the PRA announced that Khieu Samphan would chair the State Presidium for a 5 years term. It also picked a 15-member cabinet headed by Pol Pot as prime minister. Prince Sihanouk was put under virtual house arrest. The new government sought to restructure Cambodian society completely. Remnants of the old society were abolished and Buddhism suppressed. Agriculture was collectivized, and the surviving part of the industrial base was abandoned or placed under state control. Cambodia had neither a currency nor a banking system. The regime controlled every aspect of life and reduced everyone to the level of abject obedience through terror. Torture centers were established, and detailed records were kept of the thousands murdered there. Public executions of those considered unreliable or with links to the previous government were common. Few succeeded in escaping the military patrols and fleeing the country. Solid estimates of the numbers who died between 1975 and 1979 are not available, but it is likely that hundreds of thousands were brutally executed by the regime. Hundreds of thousands more died of starvation and disease (both under the Khmer Rouge and during the Vietnamese invasion in 1978). Estimates of the dead range from 1 to 3 million, out of a 1975 population estimated at 7.3 million. Democratic Kampuchea’s relations with Vietnam and Thailand worsened rapidly as a result of border clashes and ideological differences. While communist, the CPK was fiercely anti-Vietnamese, and most of its members who had lived in Vietnam were purged. Democratic Kampuchea established close ties with China, and the Cambodian-Vietnamese conflict became part of the Sino-Soviet rivalry, with Moscow backing Vietnam. Border clashes worsened when Democratic Kampuchea’s military attacked villages in Vietnam. The regime broke relations with Hanoi in December 1977, protesting Vietnam’s attempt to create an “Indochina Federation.” In mid-1978, Vietnamese forces invaded Cambodia, advancing about 30 miles before the arrival of the rainy season brought a halt to the Vietnamese advance. In December 1978, Vietnam announced formation of the Kampuchean United Front for National Salvation (KUFNS) under Heng Samrin, a former DK division commander. It was composed of Khmer communists who had remained in Vietnam after 1975 and Khmer Rouge officials from the eastern sector-like Heng Samrin and Hun Sen-who had fled to Vietnam from Cambodia in 1978. In late December 1978, Vietnamese forces launched a full invasion of Cambodia, capturing Phnom Penh on January 7 and driving the remnants of Democratic Kampuchea’s army westward toward Thailand. The Vietnamese Occupation: On January 10, 1979, the Vietnamese installed Heng Samrin as head of state in the new People’s Republic of Kampuchea (PRK). The Vietnamese army continued its pursuit of Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge forces. At least 600,000 Cambodians displaced during the Pol Pot era and the Vietnamese invasion began streaming to the Thai border in search of refuge. The international community responded with a massive relief effort coordinated by the United States through UNICEF and the World Food Program. More than $400 million was provided between 1979 and 1982, of which the United States contributed nearly $100 million. At one point, more than 500,000 Cambodians were living along the Thai-Cambodian border and more than 100,000 in holding centers inside Thailand. Currently, there are approximately 300,000 Cambodian displaced persons and refugees residing in camps in Thailand. Vietnam’s occupation army of as many as 200,000 troops controlled the major population centers and most of the countryside from 1979 to September 1989. The Heng Samrin regime’s 30,000 troops were plagued by poor morale and widespread desertion. Resistance to Vietnam’s occupation continued, and there was some evidence that Heng Samrin’s PRK forces provided logistic and moral support to the guerrillas. A large portion of the Khmer Rouge’s military forces eluded Vietnamese troops and established themselves in remote regions. The non-communist resistance, consisting of a number of groups which had been fighting the Khmer Rouge after 1975 – including Lon Nol-era soldiers – coalesced in 1979-80 to form the Khmer People’s National Liberation Armed Forces (KPNLAF), which pledged loyalty to former Prime Minister Son Sann, and Moulinaka (Movement pour la Liberation Nationale de Kampuchea), loyal to Prince Sihanouk. In 1979, Son Sann formed the Khmer People’s National Liberation Front (KPNLF) to lead the political struggle for Cambodia’s independence. Prince Sihanouk formed his own organization, FUNCINPEC, and its military arm, the Armee Nationale Sihanoukienne (ANS) in 1981. Warfare followed a wet season/dry season rhythm after 1980. The heavily armed Vietnamese forces conducted offensive operations during the dry seasons, and the resistance forces held the initiative during the rainy seasons. In 1982, Vietnam launched a major offensive against the main Khmer Rouge base at Phnom Melai in the Cardamom Mountains. Vietnam switched its target to civilian camps near the Thai border in 1983, launching a series of massive assaults, backed by armour and heavy artillery, against camps belonging to all three resistance groups. Hundreds of civilians were injured in these attacks, and more than 80,000 were forced to flee to Thailand. Resistance military forces, however, were largely undamaged. In the 1984-85 dry season offensive, the Vietnamese attacked base camps of all three resistance groups. Despite stiff resistance from the guerrillas, the Vietnamese succeeded in eliminating the camps in Cambodia and drove both the guerrillas and civilian refugees into neighboring Thailand. The Vietnamese concentrated on consolidating their gains during the 1985-86 dry seasons, including an attempt to seal guerrilla infiltration routes into the country by forcing Cambodian laborers to construct trench and wire fence obstacles and minefields along virtually the entire Thai-Cambodian border. Within Cambodia, Vietnam had only limited success in establishing its client Heng Samrin regime, which was dependent on Vietnamese advisors at all levels. Security in some rural areas was tenuous, and major transportation routes were subject to interdiction by resistance forces. The presence of Vietnamese throughout the country and their intrusion into nearly all aspects of Cambodian life alienated much of the populace. The settlement of Vietnamese nationals, both former residents and new immigrants, further exacerbated anti-Vietnamese sentiment. Reports of the numbers involved vary widely with some estimates as high as 1 million. By the end of this decade, Khmer nationalism began to reassert itself against the traditional Vietnamese enemy. In 1986, Hanoi claimed to have begun withdrawing part of its occupation forces. At the same time, Vietnam continued efforts to strengthen its client regime, the PRK, and its military arm, the Kampuchean People’s Revolutionary Armed Forces (KPRAF). These withdrawals continued over the next two years, although actual numbers were difficult to verify. Vietnam’s proposal to withdraw its remaining occupation forces in 1989-90-the result of ongoing international pressure-forced the PRK to begin economic and constitutional reforms in an attempt to ensure future political dominance. In April 1989, Hanoi and Phnom Penh announced that final withdrawal would take place by the end of September 1989. The military organizations of Prince Sihanouk (ANS) and of former Prime Minister Son Sann (KPNLAF) underwent significant military improvement during the 1988-89 period and both expanded their presence in Cambodia’s interior. These organizations provided a political alternative to the Vietnamese-supported People’s Republic of Kampuchea [PRK] and the murderous Khmer Rouge. After two regional peace efforts, Prince Sihanouk, Son Sann, and Hun Sen (Prime Minister of the Phnom Penh regime) met in Jakarta in May 1989 to try to find a formula for national reconciliation. Hun Sen proposed including key leaders of the resistance groups under the PRK mantle, through their participation in mostly cosmetic National Reconciliation Council to oversee eventual elections. Prince Sihanouk and the other resistance leaders rejected this proposal as legitimising the Phnom Penh regime and allowing the continuation of its unilateral control, which they felt was not likely to result in a free and fair election process. From July 30 to August 30, 1989, representatives of 18 countries, the four Cambodian parties, and the UN Secretary General met in Paris in an effort to negotiate a comprehensive settlement. They hoped to achieve those objectives seen as crucial to the future of post-occupation Cambodia: a verified withdrawal of the remaining Vietnamese occupation troops, the prevention of the return to power of the Khmer Rouge, and genuine self-determination for the Cambodian people. The Paris Conference on Cambodia was able to make some progress in such areas as the workings of an international control mechanism, the definition of international guarantees for Cambodia’s independence and neutrality, plans for the repatriation of refugees and displaced persons, the eventual reconstruction of the Cambodian economy, and ceasefire procedures. However, complete agreement among all parties on a comprehensive settlement remained elusive. In early 1990, the negotiating process continued through consultations with a view toward finalizing a comprehensive solution by reconvening the Paris Conference in the future. By late September 1989, the Vietnamese announced that they had withdrawn the last 50,000 of their troops from Cambodia. However, this withdrawal was not verified by a credible monitoring force. Nonetheless, with the Vietnamese occupation no longer a primary concern, the crucial issue for the future is the ability of the four principal Cambodian political factions-the non-communists (consisting of Prince Sihanouk’s FUNCINPEC and Son Sann’s KPNLF), the Vietnamese-sponsored Phnom Penh regime, and the Khmer Rouge – to establish a national reconciliation process.

Contemporary History Conclusion

Thus, on the one hand the increasing concern of Cambodian public opinion for the security of over half a million Khmers inadequately and exposed to all kinds of vexations, and on the other hand the inalienable rights of Cambodia over the Cochin-China territories, place upon the Cambodian Government the responsibility of providing world opinion with an objective picture of the situation. In connection with the above, it may be appropriate to draw the attention of the Member States of the United Nations to repeated violations of Cambodian’s borders by elements of South Viet-Nam’s regular armed forces, followed by acts of violence upon Cambodians living in border areas. The erection of military outpost along the same borders, and the concentration of considerable South Viet-Namesed forces (roughly estimated at twice the strength of the Royal Khmer Armed Forces) 200 r 300 yards from the frontier give cause for legitimate concern to both the Royal government and the Cambodian people. We drew the attention of the International Supervisory Commission on the implementation of the 1954 Geneva Agreements on a cease-fire in Indo-China to those disturbing which constitute a possible threat to peace in that part of the world. The attached Annex gives and idea of the importance of those preparations and of their emotional impact on Cambodian opinion.. The Cambodian Government is staunchly attached to its policy of peace, and it entertains no antagonistic feelings towards neighboring countries, whose nationals living in Cambodia enjoy the full exercise of their rights. In that spirit, it wishes to call the attention of all Nations to the serious nature of the maltreatment inflicted upon the Khmers of Cochin-China, as well as to the need for a fair settlement of the territorial question of Cochin-China, since the continuance of such a situation is liable to endanger the maintenance of peace in that region with the possibility that world peace and security might eventually be impaired, a prospect which no generous-minded man and no nation truly to the cause of peace and justice can possibly ignore. ANNEX REINFORCEMENT OF SOUTH-VIETNAMESE TROOPS ALONG THE CAMBODIAN FRONTIER Since 1956, the South-Vietnams authorities have continually reinforced their troop along the Cambodian frontier. This unusual deployment of South-Vietnamese forces, which is certainly on a larger scale than that necessary to put down pillage in frontier regions, gives cause for concern. The Cambodian press and the foreign press in Cambodia continually draw attention to this disposition of troops and are unanimous in expressing the anxiety of the peace-loving population of Cambodia. According to the report in the newspaper “San Hoa du Pao” of 4 September, 1957, the following troops have been placed along the Cambodian frontier: Province of Swayrieng: 4 military posts, each with 150-200 men, all close to the frontier, a large post at Tayninh (South-Vietnam), with an effective force of 4,000 men and destined to receive 60,000 recruits. Province of Kompong Cham: 1 military post of 300 men, 2 kilometres from the Cambodian frontier, another post under construction. Province of Kampot: 2 military posts already existent of which the garrisons have been reinforced. Two new posts under construction. Reinforcement of equipment and personnel at the aerodrome of Hatien (1,00 new soldiers in the Hatien region). Province of Kratie: 5 new posts with personnel equal to two companies have placed a few hundred metres from the Cambodian frontier. Province of Prey Veng: Concentration of troops 3 kilometers from the frontier. 4 warships about 3 kilometers from Cambodian frontier.

Recent Developments

Since the Geneva Conference was held on 20th July, 1954, the fundamental rights and deeply-felt aspirations of the Khmer population of Cochin-China have been impaired by the occurrence of a series of new developments of increasing portent. These have aroused considerable concern in the Khmer people, always mindful of the fate of their brothers in Cochin-China. A systematic racial policy is being implemented with the obvious intention of eventually eliminating all trace likely to testify to the Cambodian character of the Cochin-China territories. These extremely serious problems, which must be solved without delay through a fair settlement taking into account the interests of all involved. 1. While the South Vietnam Government was fully aware both of Cambodia’s rights in the matter, and of the aspirations of the Khmer population of Cochin-China, it signed a bilateral Convention with France on 16th August, 1955, imposing Vietnamese nationality on the later. This follows from Article 1 of the Convention, which lays down that, “for the purposes of this Convention, the words ‘Native of South Vietnam’ shall refer to all persons with both parents of Vietnamese descent or belong to ethnic minorities settled in Vietnamese territory”. Under Article 3, it is stated that “former French subjects native of South Viet-Nam (Cochin-China) or former settlements of Haiphong and Tourane are of Vietnamese nationality regardless of their place of residence on 9th March, 1949”. 2. The above-mentioned convention was the starting point of a policy intensive assimilation, which is absolutely incompatible with the most firmly established principles of international Law regarding ethnic minorities. An ordinance issued on 29th August 1956, by the South Viet-Nam Government made it compulsory, subject to serve penalties, for all Chinese born in South Vietnam and former French citizens who had opted for Vietnamese nationality to adopt Vietnamese sounding names. On that occasion, the same obligation was imposed on the Khmers in Cochin-China in spite of the fact they are not foreign immigrations, but native of the country. In addition, registrars were instructed to make alterations in the population registers all over the country. 3. In pursuance of the same policy, the South Viet-Nam authorities have cancelled the entry “Cambodian race” from the identification papers which formerly bore it. Under the French colonial regime all identification documents issued to Cambodians in Cohin-China contained the following entries. Nationality: French subject Race: Cambodian Instead, the new documents issued by the Vietnamese authorities read: Nationality: Viet-Namese Race: Viet-Namese Similarly it was decided to cut down the teaching in schools on the Khmer language as a first step towards its gradual suppression, in disregard on the assurance given by the Vietnamese delegation to the Geneva International Conference on Education (Report by the Representative of Viet-Nam to the 18th Conference held from 4th to 17th July, 1955). 5. Only recently the South Vietnamese Government, still pursuing a policy aim at removing all Cambodian traces from the Khmer territories, re-named certain provinces when their old names were still reminiscent of their Khmer origin. Thus Tra Vinh, derived from the Cambodian Trapeang, has been re-styled Vinh-Bing, Srok Khleang, which became Soc-Trang is now Ba-Xuyen, etc. 7. Other political actions of an infinitely more serious nature have taken place which offended the civilized mind, and cannot and must not be ignored by the Members of the United Nations. a. How, for instance, should one feel about the obligation imposed on Khmers in Cochin-China to wear the Vietnamese national dress? b. While in the whole Buddhism world-to which, incidentally, Vietnamese also belongs – the priesthood of that religion is the object of the deepest veneration, the Government of South Viet-Nam, in utter defiance of the most sacred precepts of Buddhism, compulsorily enlisted Khmer Buddhist monks in the South Viet-Nam armed forces. c. In addition, traditional relations between the Khmer Buddhist clergy of Cochin-China and that of Cambodian are constantly hindered by south Vietnamese authorities, who also interfere with the introduction into Cochin-China of newspapers, periodicals, and books in the Khmer language. d. As might have been expected, many young Cambodian clerics and others had to leave South Viet-Nam and take refuge in Cambodia. Perhaps one of the objectives of the South Viet-Namese Government is to make the position of the Khmers unbearable, while in Cambodia Viet-Namese immigrants live in complete security and peace. e. urthermore, in the acute political unrest prevailing in South Viet-Nam the Khmer minority has crushed since 1945 between rival political faction engaged n violent armed conflict. As a result, tens of thousands of Khmers, exposed to reprisals from all sides, are dying in obscurity. f. Lastly, the South Viet-Nam Government, applying the principle that might is right, proceeds with the systematic transplantation of refugees from North Viet-Nam into districts by Khmers, expropriating or even expelling people from their land, and sometimes form their pagodas. All those measures are condemned by international ethics. They are part of a general scheme or policy tending both to assimilate the Khmer minority through the most extreme and brutal methods, and to eliminate the territorial problem. The Royal Government of Cambodia particularly wishes to draw the attention of the Members of the United Nations to those actions which are obviously tantamount to physical and cultural genocide.

Evidence Showing That The Cochin-China Territories Belong To Cambodia

Thus it is claimed that the former French colony of Cochin-China consists of territories belong to Cambodia. Evidence to that effect is not lacking. From an archaeological point of view, the existence of towers, bronze stone statues, inscriptions, religious edifices, brick shrines, steles, etc., proves beyond all question the presence of Cambodians in those parts. In addition to such archaeological evidence, the old maps of Indo-China (those compiled in 1593 and 1638, the map drawn by Father De Rhodes in 1650, Robert’s map of Indo-China dating from 1717, Durville’s map of Indo-China published in 1755, etc.), as well as various documents written either in the Khmer or the Annamite languages or in French, confirm Cambodia’s sovereignty over the Cochin-China territories. (See plate No. 1). With reference to demography and ethnography, the population of Cochin-China include over half a million active, courageous patriotic Khmers with the same traditions, customs, and way of life as their brothers in Cambodia, and speaking the same language. As for religion is concerned, the typically Khmer character of Cochin-China is apparent form the existence of several hundreds of Cambodian pagodas and numerous Pali schools, which in 1940 were distributed as follows:

Province Number of Pagodas Number of Pali Schools
Bac Lieu 46 5
Can Tho 38 5
Chau Doc 57 5
Ha Tien 10 5
Long Xuyen 5 5
Soc Trang 62 2
Tay Ninh 59 14
Tra Vinh 111 11
Vinh Long 1 11

The pagodas are at the same time repositories of Cambodia civilization, and spiritual and cultural centres where local Khmer observe the same form of Buddhism as that prevailing in Cambodia (see plate No. 2). As regards the legal aspects of the question, Cambodia’s sovereign rights over Cochin-China are still valid: Was there an occupation in the legal sense? The Annamite (Vietnamese) settlement cannot be so described since the area involved was not unclaimed land, but Cambodian territory, as has already been shown. Neither was there any acquisition by subjugation, for the Khmer State legitimate sovereign of those territories, never ceased to exist. Neither were the Annamites awarded the Cochin-China territories by a supranational decision, as no community of States (Conference, League of Nations, UNO) or international legal body ever took such action. Nor could prescription be invoked: indeed, a case based on such grounds would be absolutely worthless, considering that at all times Khmer monarchs have intimated, either by filing claims or by military action, their determination not to give up the territories occupied by the Annamites. In the year 1738, King Ang So took up arms against the Annamites in an attempt to expel them from Hatien. In 1776, King Ang Nuon taking advantage of a Cambodian uprising in Lower Cochin-China the same of the Tay Son revolt, seized Long-Ho (Vinglong) and Mesar (Mytho). In 1859, the same monarch ordered his troops to march on Meat Chrouk (Chaudoc). The fighting was still going on when the French landed in Cochin-China. As regards claims, they were frequently reiterated: King Ang To in 1645 and King Ang Chan in 1653 asserted the Khmer territorial rights. Besides the King Ang Duong who called for French intervention mainly with a view to regaining his Cochin-China provinces, King Norodom – on the occasion of his visit to Saigon in October, 1864 (one year after the conclusion of the treaty establishing the French Protectorate over Cambodia) – also urged the French authorities to ensure that the Cochin-China provinces were returned to Cambodia. Under the Japanese occupation, His Majesty Norodom Sihanouk, faced with Vietnam’s intention to achieve unification by integrating Cochin-China into her territory, expressed definite reservations in his Declaration of 25th June, 1945, regarding Cambodia’s rights over Cochin-China, and suggested the setting up of a Joint Commission for the delimitation of the Khmer Vietnamese border. The Nam Bo Government (Ho Chi Minh’s Government) accepted in 1945 the principle of adjusting the frontier in favour of Cambodia. When France began to consider acceding to the demands of H.M. Bao Dai’s Government for the fusion of the three Ky (Tonkin, Annam, and Cochin-China) into a single State, H. M. Norodom Sihanouk, in a letter dated 20th January, 1948, urged the French High Commissioner in Indo-China to keep him informed of the pending negotiations between France and Vietnam. However, France, disregarding Cambodia’s concern in the matter, singed with H. M. Bao Dai the Along Bay Agreements of 1948 recognizing the principle of the union of the three Ky. On 18th June, 1948, H. M. Norodom Sihanouk protested by letter, and in 1949 he sent a Cambodian delegation to Paris to attend the debate in the French Parliament on the bill dealing with Cochin-China’s new status and accession to Viet-Nam, and to formulate protests against the integration of a Cambodian territory (Cochin-China) into Vietnam. Despite earnest representations by Cambodia, France unilaterally decided by an internal law of 4th June, 1949, to hand over to Vietnam the Cochin-China territories which she had acquired irregularly in the first place. When the Franco-Khmer Treaty was concluded on 8th November, 1949, H. M. the King of Cambodian expressly intimated that by signing the Treaty Cambodia did not relinquish in any way her claims on Cochin-China, and a reservation to that effect is included in the Treat itself. Those reservations were formally and explicitly renewed by the Cambodian delegations successively at the inter-State Conventions known as the Pau Conventions, at the Geneva Conference held in July, 1954, and at the conclusion of the Paris Agreement of 29th December, 1954. On the other hand, there was no regular transfer of the Cambodian territories in Cochin-China. No treaty or convention specifies such a transfer. NO comparison before can be drawn between Cochin-China (South Viet-Nam) and Louisiana which was made over to the United States by France 1803, or Alaska – sold by Russia to the United States in 1867 – or the Caroline Islands – transferred by Spain to Germany in 1899. Nor has there been by constitution of a military occupation, since Annam has waged no war of conquest against Cambodia, and taken up arms only when asked to do so by a Cambodian prince, either against another pretender to the throne or against the Siamese at the request of the rebels. Lastly, contrary to certain contentions, there has been no frontier delineation, finally marking off the Cambodian territories occupied by Annam. The decision taken on 9th July, 1870 and the arrangement concluded on 17th July, 1873, defining the frontier between Cochin-China and Cambodia were unilateral actions by France, which at that time directly assumed the administration of both Cohin-China as a colony, and Cambodia as a Protectorate. Those were administrative measures taken by a single Power in a readily understandable desire to increase its colonial empire. Cambodia, after asking the French Government for protection and entrusting it with the care of her external sovereignty, was in no position to protest against such a definition.

Brief Historical Account Showing How the Cambodian Territories of Cochin-China Fell into the Hands of Viet Nam

Up to the end of World War II, French Indo-China consisted of five separate countries – Tonkin, Annam, Cochin-China, Laos, and Cambodia. The former three are mostly inhabited by a population commonly described as “Annamite”(nowadays Vietnamese) whose cultural background is linked with that of China, and they are quite distinct from Cambodia whose people are of Hindu culture. Descending from the Vietnamese, and indigenous tribe of Southern China, the Annamites had migrated southwards in great numbers and spread like a huge wave from the Red River to the Lower Mekong, and from the China Gate and the Gulf of Tonkin to the Pointe Camau and the Gulf of Siam. At the time the French established their position in Indo-China with the capture of Saigon in February 1859, part of the Cambodian territories had thus been occupied by the Annamites. This was the result of infiltration or abuse by Annamited of hospitality extended by Cambodian Kings. For example, after Tay Son uprising, the Srok of Preah Trapeang (Travinh had given asylum to the fugitive emperor, Gialong. There the latter reconstituted his arm, and was given military support by King Ang Eng, (reigning in Cambodia from 1779 to 1796). When he was back to the throne of Annam after the repression of the TAY SON uprising, Emperor Gialong “remembering”, to use his own words, “the kind hospitality” he had enjoyed of the province of Preah Trapeang (Travinh) urged King ANG ENG to exempt this Srok from all levies, and its people from all feudal duties to which the king agreed as a gesture of friendship. Later GIALONG arbitrarily made the Srok into an Annamite colony. Similarly, in 1663 King Chey Chettha II kindly gave his consent to the opening of the Saigon-Bienhoa-Baria area to Annamite immigration. The Annamite prince Nguyen Sai Vuong requested the right for his people to till the land and to engage in trade subject to the payment of taxes. King Chey Chettha agreed. He had married princes, a daughter of Ngyen Sai Vuong, and according to a tradition of the Khmer dynasty the Queen Dowager and the Viceroy were endowed with some provinces of the Empire as a personal lifetime appanage. The provinces were never excluded from the Crown possessions, but the Titular enjoyed certain rights in respect of the administration of the territory under his rule (taxation, police, etc.). In 1853, King Ang Duong alarmed by Annamite expansion and by a possible alliance of Siam and Annam for the sharing of Cambodia, secretly sent to the French Consul in Singapore a letter addressed to Emperor Napolean III in which he requested from France a certain measure of protection. The letter was not acknowledged, and the King decided to write another letter to propose the conclusion of a Franco-Cambodia alliance and to appeal to the French Emperor not accept certain territories mentioned in the letter, should the Annamites offer them to France, as such territories belonged to Cambodia. In the nineteenth century, France for various reasons was bent on a policy of expansion, and taking advantage of the attitude of friendship and confidence adopted by the Cambodian Sovereign, chose to intervene in Cochin-China. When Saigon was besieged in 1859, Cambodian troops supported the French forces by entering simultaneously the provinces of Meat Chrouk(Chaudoc), Kramuon Sar(Rachgia), Srok Treang (Soctrang), and Preah Trapeang (Travinh). Under the treaty of peace and friendship concluded with France in Saigon on 5th June, 1862, Annam accepted – in addition to clauses relating to freedom of worship in the Roman Catholic faith in her territory, the undertaking not surrender any part of her territory to anyone without consulting France, the opening of certain ports to Franco-Spanish trade, and the payment of war compensation – a clause of particular interest for Cambodian under which Annam transferred to France three Cambodia provinces occupied by Annamites – Bienhoa, Giadinh, and Mytho. The latter clause is obviously not valid, since Annam thereby assigned to a third part territories, which did not belong to her. A few year later, in 1867, on the grounds that Annam had broken the Saigon Treaty, Admiral Lagrandiere, acting upon instructions from the France Government, occupied three more Cambodian provinces. Long-Ho (Vinh-Long), Meat Chrouk (Chaudoc) and Peam (Hatien), and the whole of Western Cochin-China. The French occupation Kas Tral (Phuquoc Island), another Cambodian possession, completed their process – formal recognized by the Frenco-Annamite treaty of 1874 – by which the whole of Cochin-China (the present South Vietnam) became a French Colony. The colonial status of Cochin-China was maintained until 1949 when under a French Act passed on 4th of June that year the whole of Cochin-China was transferred to Viet-Nam, in spite of solemn remonstrations by the Khmer Government, and notwithstanding the fact that France, through her authorized representatives, had recognized the validity of the Cambodian claims.

The Transfer of Cochin China to Viet Nam

On May 21, 1949, the French National Assembly met in Paris to decide over the fate of Cochin China. The decision was to place this territory under Vietnamese control with certain rights for the Khmer Krom were enumerated for the Vietnamese administration to follow. Despite of strong oppositions from the Khmer delegation at the meeting, the Assembly still chose to ignore them. (A Cambodian delegation composed of E.H. Son Sann- Chhean Veam- Thoun Ouk &Son Voeunsai Has been sent to France to protest against that transfer and follow the debate concerning that de-cision). With this situation, a group of French Representatives led by Mr. Gaston Deferre (Mr. Juglas, Abelin, Bourgnes, Maunoury, Duveau, Dumas, Rene, Pleven and Mr.Temple) presented a motion demanding to the French Government of solve preliminary all pending questions between the Protectorate of Cambodia and the colony of Cochin China before to yield that colony to Vietnam. On JUNE 4th, 1949, the president Vincent Auriol (French) signed the law granted Cochin China to the Bao Dai (Vietnam). Since then, The Khmer Krom people have been legally separated from the motherland Cambodia. They are now considered as Khmer in Vietnam, and as Vietnamese in Cambodia. Khmer Krom had been called or renamed by the Vietnamese as ” Vietnamese of Khmer origin or Viet Goc Mien or Viet Goc Khmer”. JUNE 4th, the losing day of Khmer Krom land.

French Domination

In 1856 king Ang Doung secretly contacted the French Emperor Napoleon III through a French Missionary (Monseigneur Miche), he list the Khmer regions in Annamite hands: the DONAI province was lost 200 years ago but Saigon, Long Ho, Phsar Dek, Mesar, Preah Trapeang, Bassac, Mot Chrouk, Kramounsar,Teuk khmao,Peam, Koh Tral, Tralach. He added: “by the chance, if Annamite Would offer any of these lands to yours Majesty, I beg you not to accept them because its belong to Cambodia”. In 1858,Napoleon III ordered Admiral Doudard De La Grandiere to follow this request. In1864 king Norodom went to see Grandiere again in Saigon, La Grandiere promise as requet. However, In 1867 Khmer movement (supported by Vietnamese) demanded Cochin China independence, So La Grandiere broken his promised with king Norodom. During their French domination from 1867-1949, the Khmer Krom people had some relief from struggles against the Vietnamese. The French administration, however, widely used Vietnamese as interpreters, translators, policemen, secret agents, and military officers, while using Khmer Krom as laborers only. Social injustice, wrongful accusations, misunderstandings, and sufferings were a part of the Khmer Krom’s daily lives. No Khmer Krom intellectuals, lawyers, doctors, engineers, generals Or any professionals were produced in Kampuchea Krom during this period. At the same time, the Vietnamese were treated well and got encouragement to go to school to better their lives. On March 9,1945, Japanese took over of French Indochina (Cambodia, Lao, Tonkin, Annam And Cochin China). On April 17,1945 Vietnam declared Independence led by Prime Minister Tran Trong Kim. Cochin China was controlled by Japan and under administated of Minoda. Japan brought Son NgocThanh back to Cambodia and made him Foreign Minister (June 1,1945).On June 18,1945, Bao Dai declared that he wanted to unity the Tonkin ,Annam and Cochin China under the government of Hue. Son Ngoc Thanh was sent to Saigon to talk with Colonel Hayashi (Japanese Political Department) to keep Cochin China belongs to Cambodia. At the same time (the document cited no dated ) the Khmer Krom of Cochin China and Vietnamese fired each other through out the country. On August 8,1945, Japan ceded Cochin China to Annam. August 14, Son Ngoc Thanh named Prime Minister. On August 14,Japanese surrended the allies forces without condition due to atomic dropped on Hiroshima and Naagashaki by the United States. On October 16,Son Ngoc Thanh was arrested and then brought him to Poitier region of France until October. 29,1951. In December 1945 and in January 1946, the Vietminh (Vietnamese League Independence or Vietnam Doc Lap Dong Minh led by Ho Chi Minh) persecuted thousands of Khmer Krom. (This event Annam called CAP YOUN means Killed Vietnamese, but the reality was “Khmer Krom were killed by Vietnamese.”) In the villages of Chongmisar thmey (Baso), Chongmisar chas, Kampong Touk, Thlok, Phno Rang, Kampong Toteung etc…of Preah Trapeang (Travinh) province, at least, there were 500 men were put into pillories and threw into the Kampong Toteung river. In the villages of Dam Kinh, Dam Gioi, Ho Phong, Gia Rai, Kah Mahat and Phno Andeth of Teuk Khmao, Pol Leav and Khleang provinces, the Khmer Krom leaders and intellectuals were called up on to gathering themselves in to the Japanese rice granaries. As the granaries were filled with the Khmer Krom, the doors were ordered to be closed and petroleum was poured upon them. Finally, Annam set Khmer on fire alive. (For more information, please ask Mr. SON SE who is eye evidence of the event when he was young. Presently, he is living in the Philadelphia city of Pennsylvania state) (find out and listen to the song named Chongruk Srauv Anussa THE GRANARIES MEMO).

Sena Mon’s and Sena Tea’s Battle (1860)

In 1860, under the command of the 2 bothers, Sena Mon and Sena Tea, the Khmer Krom in Srok Khleang once again stood up to the Vietnamese at Lum Pou Year (Thanh Fu). Sena Tea was wounded and died. His body was buried in the Kveng Krobel ( Hung Oh) Buddhist temple in Poll Leave (ABC Lieu) province .

Sena Sous’s Battle (1859)

In 1859, the Khmer Krom of the province of Srok Khleang, under command of Sena Sous, stood up to the Vietnamese in the battles of Mahatup and Chong Ballang. During three years of fighting the Khmer Krom won most military engagements in the areas surrounding the province. Unfortunately A Vietnamese undercover agent, belonging to other ethnic group, had infiltrated his rank joined the Khmer force and became Sena Suos’s most trusted chief. Later, Sena Sous was poisoned by the man (his name was unknown).