The Khmer Kampuchea Krom Community plans to lead a march to the Vietnamese Embassy this morning to mark the 55th anniversary of the handover of the territory know as Kampuchea Krom to Vietnam, the organization’s executive director said Thursday.
Thach Setha, a Sam Rainsy Party senator, said his organization has invited several hundred monks and people from Khmer Krom communities to participate in a ceremony at Wat Botum. Some of those participants will then march to the Vietnamese Embassy, he said.
“We will hold the ceremony to express our sadness of losing our territory and show our dedication to the Khmer Kampuchea Krom who were killed by the Vietnamese government,” Thach Setha said.
The territory known to Cambodians as Kampuchea Krom, which is now southern Vietnam, was formally ceded to Vietnam under the French protectorate in 1949. Khmer Krom minority members have repeatedly accused Vietnam of killing their people and seizing their land, charges Vietnamese officials have strongly denied.
Thach Setha said the group will present the Vietnamese Embassy with a letter asking permission to set up a new branch of his organization in Vietnam to protect the rights of Khmer Krom there.
He said he received permission from Phnom Penh City Hall for the ceremony at Wat Botum, but not for the march.
If the city denies the group permission to march, he said, he would go to the embassy himself.
Phnom Penh Deputy Governor Map Sarin said Thursday he was not aware of the organization’s request to march.
Nguyen Than Duc, Vietnamese Embassy press attache, said Thursday the Vietnamese government cannot allow the Khmer Kampuchea Krom Community to establish a branch in Vietnam because the rights NGO is based in Cambodia.
He said the group should not march to the embassy, but instead liaise with the Vietnamese Foreign Affairs Ministry in Hanoi through the Cambodian Foreign Ministry.