Focus should shift from winning back disputed territories from Vietnam to providing social services for ethnic Cambodians living in the regions, officials of the Khmer-Kampuchea Krom League for Development said.
“Our purpose is to help those displaced people from Vietnam to Cambodia. We do not think of liberating the soil from Vietnam,” Chhoeurn Mony, KLD executive director, said last Wednesday at the opening of the group’s new offices in Phnom Penh. KLD, which was formed in 1995, is one of seven groups dedicated to Kampuchia Krom, an area in the Mekong Delta controlled by Vietnam since 1949, but often claimed by Cambodians.
Instead of continuing the struggle for “liberating” those lands, members of the group instead pledged to help people living there or nearby. “We will work closely with the government to help free people from illiteracy, poverty and famine,” said Pang Seda, KLD deputy director and chief monk.
The group promised to help those living in Kampuchea Krom find markets for their products and build a center for shelter and other social services for displaced ethnic Khmers from the region.
More than a million people were displaced from Kampuchea Krom and now face difficult lives in Cambodia, Chhoeurn Mony said.