During the Le Dynasty 1600’s, Vietnam experienced internal chaos. The Vietnamese warlords struggled for power and sought full control of Vietnam. The Trinh clan controlled the northern part of Vietnam while the Nguyen has controlled the south. Consequently, the Trinh and Nguyen wars provided the Vietnamese with opportunity to infiltrate the northeast provinces of Kampuchea Krom in the provinces such as Do Nai, Morea and Toul Ta Mauk. In 1620, the young Khmer monarch, king Chey Chetha II (1618-1628) had fallen into the similar Vietnam’s trap as that of the king of Champa in 1307. The warlord Nguyen Hi Tong (1613-1635) presented one of his exotic daughters, Princess Ngoc Van, to King Chey Chetha II for some favors . Through the Princess’ intervention in 1623, the Nguyen warlord sent his representatives to ask the Court of Udong permission for the Vietnamese to conduct trade in Morea (Baria) and Prei Nokor (Saigon ), and be given custom authorities over trading. Because of marriage to the Vietnamese wife, King Chey Chetha II had no strong reasons to refuse but granted the requests. Some historians agreed that these were the covert acts intended to rob the Khmers of their rights. Later, the Court of Hue, again, used the nice guy’s trick by volunteering their men to assist the Khmer authority in carrying out the policing in the areas. Some documents in Khmer history have cited that at the start of the relationship, the Court of Hue only asked to use certain areas in Prei Nokor to train their militaries for wars against the Chinese and they would be returned to the Khmer authority in 5 years. But at the death of king Chey Chetha II in 1628, the areas of Prei Nokor, Morea, Do Nai, and Toul Ta Mauk were flooded with the Vietnamese warlord . Kampong Srakartrey (Bienhoa) in 1651; Prah Suakea or Morea (Baria) in 1651; Kampong Kou (Longan) in 1669; Tuol Ta Mauk in 1696; Kampong Krabey Prei Nokor (Saigon) in 1696. In 18 th century, Mac Cuu a Chinese who received a permission from Ang Eum (1710-22) to con- trol the province of Peam (Hatien), Kramounsar (Rachgia) and Koh Tral ( Phu Quoc island ) in 1722. The provinces of Mesar (Mytho), Kampong Reussey (Bentre), Koh Gong (Gocong) and Peam Ba-rach ( Long Xuyen) were lost to Vietnam in 1732. Phsar Dek (Sadec), Long Ho (Vinhlong), Mot Chrouk (Chaudoc) in 1757, Raung Damrey (Tayninh) in 1770, Prek Reussey (Cantho) in 1758. The provinces of Preah Trapeang (Travinh), Khleang ( Soctrang), Pol Leav (Baclieu), and Teuk Khmao (Camau) were siezed in 1775 and until 18th century our motherland Kampuchea Krom was totally controlled by the Vietnamese 1840.
Another set back to the Khmer Empire was the southward expansion of the Kingdom of Vietnam. As early as 10th century, Vietnam first began its territorial expansion over the Kingdom of Champa. In early 17th century, they captured the remaining part of the territory, and the Kingdom of Champa was erased from the world map. The Chams’ territory is now simply known as Central Vietnam. During the reign of Tran Anh Tong (1293-1314), Princess Huyen Tran of Vietnam was presented for marriage to the King of Champa as a trap to annex the Chams’ territory. After the arranged marriage, the annexation was completed as planned, in 1673. A similar scheme was also used against the Khmer Empire. The campaign started in 1623 and continued until they occupied the whole of Kampuchea Krom.
From the 3rd to the 14th century there was southward migration of ethnic T’ai (also known as Siam or Thai) from southern district of China called Nan Chau. At the beginning of 13th century, there were the establishments of some small kingdoms in the northern regions of the Khmer Empire. In 1279, the Sukhotei Kingdom was established and later on became Thailand. In 1353, at the northeast, Lan Xang Kingdom (Laos) was founded. Beyond the far northeast region of the Khmer Empire at the Chinese border, there was an establishment of a new state called Chao Chili by the Ytieh (Vietnam). Until the early 900’s, the state of Chao Chili was a vassal state of the Chinese Empire. After the formations of states and regaining independence, the wars began to take a toll on the Khmer Empire. The Thai moved south from the Sokhotei; the Chams and the Vietnamese from the northeast; causing the Khmer Empire to become very weak. Consequently, their territory became smaller and smaller as time went by. The last episode of this tragedy took place when Kampuchea Krom was incorporated into Vietnam rather than Cambodia in 1954.
After over one thousand years under the Chinese domination, the Vietnamese ambition on Territory expansion became unbearable to their weak neighbors in the south. The most well known campaign of all was Nam Tien (Southward Movement), which aimed at the Kingdom of Champa as their first target. As the campaign became reality, the southern border had been moved south as planned, Ly Thanh Tong (1054-1072), then renamed the country to Dai Viet (Great Vietnam). All of Vietnamese rulers continued to implement this campaign as their highest priority, and their border continued to open up to the south. While struggling for internal power, the Vietnamese always used the conflicts as opportunities to “borrow” neighbor’s territories for regrouping their forces or asking for asylum. When the wars were over, the grantor’s territory and their people would suffer great losses, not Vietnam. Besides, the Vietnamese leaders also used inter-marriage as another means of manipulation to capture their neighbors’ territories. The loss of Kampuchea Krom to Vietnamese was the result of these cunning practices. Champa and Laos have gone through the same experience, and the results were the undeniable facts of the recent world history.
The Khmers who live in the southern regions of the greater Cambodia are called Khmer Krom. The word Khmer Krom is more acceptable by the Khmer in Kampuchea Krom than the Khmer in Cambodia since it clearly identifies the geography of where these people were born, and live since 1862, upon completion of their occupation of Indochina, which included Tonkin, Annam, Laos Cambodia and Kampuchea Krom. The French colonial turned Kampuchea Krom to a colony and called it Cochin China, whereas the other four “states” were under the French protectorate. The name Cochin, perhaps, took after the southern city of India where both places have had much resemblance to each other. During their rule in Cochin China, the French authorities practiced a double standard policy when it came to the Khmer Krom and Vietnamese. The French avoided dealing directly with the Khmer Krom and used the Vietnamese to oppress them. Kampuchea Krom was the southernmost territory of the Khmer Empire. During this period, the Empire was a major power in South East Asia. The renowned architecture and construction of the Ancient Angkor Wat and many other numerous monuments in the Empire had brought the Khmer artistic to the highest level that human beings ever attained. The ruined port of Oc Eo (O Keo in Khmer) in the province of Rach Gia (today southern Vietnam), was the busiest port in the region, where the Khmers, Chams, Chineses, Indians, and Europeans did their trading. The township of Prei Nokor was a commercial center for the Khmer Empire, and it was once the most important military garrison against the Vietnamese’s southward movement. In spite of all these, the Khmer Krom people have outlived the sufferings and turbulence of the history, and remained united until today.
False claims by Vietnamese Newspaper, Thong Luan Khmer Krom have been in their homeland for thousand of years! They are not the new arrivals as the Thong Luan, A Vietnamese Newspaper claimed! November 8, 2005 by Mr. Kim Hoai Xuan, email@example.com This is to response to Mr. Nguyen Van Huy, Editor of the article about Khmer Community in South Vietnam. Mr. Nguyen Van Huy: I do commend your ability to use writing skills to convey the history and anthropology to readers of Thong Luan. Unfortunately, in your writing about the Khmer Krom organization and about the history of community in South Vietnam, your article has left out missing important pieces. I wonder, that is an intended or un-intended act? Before touching the issue of missing pieces above, it is necessary to reiterate what Mr. Pham Dinh said: The righteous understandings of ethnic communities who are present in Vietnam are important for social administration. At the same time, Vietnam is a country built on those communities according the Tap Hop Chinh Tri Dan Chu Da Nguyen. Therefore, an understanding of their bad time as well as good time and their history as well as political aspiration, are very important. On the issue of Khmer Krom organization presently, if you have observed deeper its accomplishments on the international political arena of the Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation (KKF), you would have retracted your comment of the purpose of the KKF is to demand the return of the sovereignty of Southern Vietnam to the Khmer Krom. In facts, the desire and purpose of the KKF is not for the sovereignty. The issue of sovereignty is not the main purpose of this organization. Of course, its purpose is to struggle for the respect of human rights of the Khmer Krom People. Their overall desire is the achievement of their rights to self-determination in according with Charter of the United Nations. In summary, the purpose of the KKF is to struggle on the basic of human rights, freedom and democracy as determined by the international law. The Vietnamese People as well as other Peoples who are presently in Southern Vietnam have nothing to worry about their political future when the Khmer Krom achieved their self-determination. The law shall determine the peaceful co-existence of all Peoples on that fertile land in according with the proverb: “It is in-different of who we are, we must love and share”. On the other important issue, the Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation of the Khmer Krom in Southern Vietnam today are more progressive in comparison with the old stereo-typical thoughts which people used to look down on the indigenous Khmer Krom People. Since formation in 1996 until today, the KKF has become member of four different organizations of international status. Firstly, it is a member of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII). Secondly, it is a member of the Un-represented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO). Third, it is a member of the International Dragon Boat Federation (IDBF). And lastly, it is a member of the Transnational Radical Party (TRP). On the issue of those communities of Southern Vietnam, your article has claimed that the Khmer Krom were present in Southern Vietnam after those of the Vietnamese and the Chinese. In fact this claim actually conflict with materials of Vietnam history, which has long been publicized. That was the Southward March (Nam Tien) of the Vietnamese to occupy Central Vietnam, the land of Champa People and to occupy the Mekong River Deltas in Southern Vietnam of the Khmer People. These indigenous Peoples (the Khmer and the Champa) have been in those areas for thousand of years before the Vietnamese People has arrived. The historical relics have proven such claims. The Khmer Krom People has been the legacy of the Kingdom of Funan before the First century to the end of the Fifth century, then evolved to the Kingdom of Chenla since the beginning of the Sixth century to the end of the Ninth century and finally became the Khmer Empire at the Tenth century until today. Vinh Hung Monument of 5.6m Wide, 6.9m Length, and 8.9m Height. Vinh Hung Monument The Vinh Hung monument is in Bac Lieu province, built approximately in 892A.D. This monument has been amongst the oldest relics with Angkor architecture of the Khmer People preserved in the Mekong River Deltas. The project has been built over 1100 years ago. This could be traced backed to the end of the Kingdom of Chenla at the end of the Ninth century. The Kop Treng Buddhist Temple Location: The Kop Treng temple locates in Kop Treng hamlet, To commune, Triton District, An Giang province. Special Features: The Kop Treng is the oldest temple in An Giang province. It is over 1600 years old, the temple was built in 400A.D. This has been the legacy of the Oc Eo Civilization of the Kingdon of Funan and continuous theory about the name of An Giang. The Ang Temple Location: The temple is 7km from the provincial district, mingles with oldest trees of Sras-kou pond. It locates on the 4ha of land in the 8th commune, Provincial District, An Giang province. Special Features: The Ang Temple is among the oldest temples in Travinh province. It is over 1100 years old. The temple was built in 990A.D. This has been the oldest and most appealed architecture mixing with natural beauty. The Ang Temple has been accepted by the Vietnam Department of Culture and Information as a National Cultural Treasure. The Kh’leang Temple Location: The Khleang temple locates at 71 Mau Than Street, 5th Hamlet, 6th Commune, Provincial District, Soctrang province. Special Features: The Khleang is the oldest temple in Soctrang province. It is over 500 years old and the temple was built in 1533A.D. This has been the legacy that links with the continuous theory about the name of Soctrang province.
On December 4th, 2005, The Khmer Kampuchea -Krom Federation (KKF) has wrapped up its last campaign for 2005 in Montreal, Quebec Canada. Over 100 Khmer and Khmer Krom families opened their warm welcomes to the representatives of the Khmer Kampuchea-Krom Federation (KKF). The Khmer Kampuchea-Krom Federation (KKF) representatives and the local families have been waiting for this moment for a long time. A meeting was organized to enlighten the locals about the KKF™s missions and the current human rights violations in Kampuchea-Krom (South Vietnam). Despite the snow storm, more than 100 people of all ages and genders showed up in Wat Khmer Canada. “I am very happy and impressed by the positive messages and pragmatic strategies of the KKF,” said Ven. Hok Savan, who is the founder of this beautiful pagoda. “Advocating for human rights based on non-violence principles is the path that conforms with the Buddhist teaching,” continues Dr. Hok Savan before blessing all participants with Jayanto chanting. The Khmer Kampuchea-Krom Federation (KKF) is a non-profit organization, which works according to the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, to advocate human rights and democracy for the Khmer-Krom people living in Kampuchea-Krom (South Vietnam). It came as a surprise to the KKF representatives that the Khmer-Krom families living in Canada did not know about the repeated human rights violations in Kampuchea Krom. These Khmer families had never been to Kampuchea Krom nor had they been informed of the terrible situations in which the Khmer Krom people in Kampuchea Krom are forced to live daily. The entire room was deeply saddened by this tragic story and they were very enthusiastic in the resolve to support KKF’s mission. This is the kind of energy and support that fuels the KKF representatives to continue to work with Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO), Transnational Radical Party (TRP), United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UN-PFII), US. Department of State, European Union and furthermore with International Court of Justice (ICJ).
The Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
The Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP) was established by the Human Rights Council, the UN’s main human rights body, in 2007 under Resolution 6/36 as a subsidiary body of the Council.
The Expert Mechanism provides the Human Rights Council with thematic advice, in the form of studies and research, on the rights of Indigenous peoples as directed by the Council.
The following documents are recommendations provided by KKF at the United Nations’ Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP) – ohchr.org
2013 – The Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
- Item 6: United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, by Catherine Kim
- Item 5: Study on access to justice in the promotion and protection of the rights of indigenous peoples, Thivanada Julie Kim
- Item 4: Follow-up to thematics studies and advice, Thivanada Julie Kim
The Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation has been relentlessly working around the clock to advocate for the rights of its indigenous peoples in Kampuchea-Krom (the Mekong Delta and its surrounding areas).
In May 2004, KKF made their first historic appearance at the United Nations headquarters, in New York City during its Fourth Session on the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.
The first Khmer-Krom organization to be present, their initial participation created waves of shock and disbelief as thousands of indigenous peoples, governments and non-governmental organization were enlightened about the human rights reality in Vietnam. In particular the issues relating to health, education, women, human rights and culture of the Khmer-Krom people were raised and recommendations presented to the Permanent Forum members.
Three years on, the KKF are fast gaining respect and recognition as an indigenous organization, making constructive contribution and recommendations concerning the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to the Permanent Forum Members, the Vietnamese government, and the NGOs.
Through their human rights work, KKF is actively monitoring the situation in Kampuchea-Krom and works at international levels including forums to ensure that Vietnam is adhering to its promises made at the United Nations and that it is genuinely reflected back at the grass roots level.
The following documents are related to KKF activities at the United Nations.
2010: Ninth Session on Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
- Item 7: Future work by Chantria Tram
- Speech by Indigenous Youths
- Vietnam Sings Old Tune, Accuses KKF of Separatist Activities Again…
2009: Eighth Session on Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
- UNPFII 2009: Item 3(c)
- UNPFII 2009: Item 3(c) Vietnam Intervention part 1
- UNPFII 2009: Item 3(c) Vietnam Intervention part 2
- UNPFII 2009: Item 7 Future work
2008: Seventh Session on Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
- Item 3: Climate Change, bio-cultural diversity and livelihoods: the stewardship role of indigenous peoples and new challenges
- Item 4: Economic and Social Development
- Item 4 (f) Human rights
- “KKF a distraction to Permanent Forum” Says Vietnam
- KKF Intervention on Vietnam Government Speech
- Item 9: Future Work
2007: Sixth Session on Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
- Terriorities, Lands and Natural Resources by Romy Thach
- Item 4(a): Economic and social development by Sothy Kien
- Response statement by Vietnam Government, Mr. Nguyen Tat Thanh, Deputy Permanent Representative,
- UNPFII: Human Rights
- Intervention Statement by Vietnam Delegation to UNPFII
- Vietnam Cancels Khmer Krom Side Event at UNPFII
- Item 7: Urbanization and Migration of indigenous peoples
- Item 4g: Second International Decade of the World’s Indigenous Peoples – English
- UNPFII: Future Works
2006: Fifth Session on Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
- UNPFII Fifth Session: Item 3
- UNPFII Fifth Session Item 3: Intervention by Permanent Members
- UNPFII Fifth Session Item 4: Intervention by KKF
- UNPFII Fifth Session Item 4: Speech by Khmer Krom Buddhist Association
- UNPFII Fifth Session Item 5: Future Works
- KKF recommendations to the UNPFII and Commission on Human Rights- 2006 (PDF)
2005: Fourth Session on Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
- Collective Statement by Hmong and KKF Delegations
- Vietnam Statement
- KKF Response Statement
- Poverty and hunger by Hoang
- Education by Charlie Thach
- Buddhist Education by Venerable Kan Sophal
- Human rights
- Women rights by Sothy Kien
2004: Third Session on Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
- KKF recommendations to the UNPFII and Commission on Human Rights- 2004 (PDF)
- Indigenous Women – by Polly Luu
- Education – by Sophan Son
- Culture – by Rong Be
- Human Rights – by Sereivuth Prak
- Economic and Social Development – by Serey Chau
- Environment Issues – by Tran Giap
- Health – by Kha Kiep
- Future Work of the Forum – by Thach Dhammo