Kampuchea Krom Group Gets Another Government Warning

Co-Minister of Interior Sar Kheng reasserted the government’s warning to Kampuchea Krom advocates on Tuesday, telling them not to base a de­clared armed movement against Vietnam in Cambodia.

“Cambodian law does not permit military bases on its own territory to oppose any neighboring country,” Sar Kheng told Radio Free Asia in an interview Tues­day. “Cambodia is a member of Asean, and its agreement stipulates that we cannot interfere in the internal affairs of other member countries.”

A little-known group of Cam­bodians based in the US an­nounced last month that the Kampuchea Krom Liberation Front would take up arms to liberate the Mekong Delta region of southern Vietnam—a territory long claimed by many Cambo­dians and referred to as Kam­puchea Krom.

The announcement followed an unusual protest in Phnom Penh in June in which 2,000 people demanded that Hanoi end alleged human rights abuses against Vietnam’s ethnic Khmer population. Hanoi reacted angrily and denied the charges.

National Police Director-Gen­eral Hok Lundy vowed last week to crack down on the KKLF.

Sar Kheng, who also serves as deputy prime minister, said the government doesn’t “op­pose the creation of movements to oppose a government if it is done inside the country it is targeting.”

The Cambodian government has always welcomed the creation of Khmer Krom associations in Cambodia, he said. “This follows our Con­sti­tution and the principle of human rights. We welcome them to protest or appeal to the Viet­nam­ese government to make re­form in Kampu­chea Krom,” he said.

Sar Kheng also told Radio Free Asia that ethnic Khmers from Kampuchea Krom can come to Cambodia only if they have the proper legal documents. If Khmer Krom come to Cambodia without a visa, then they are illegal Viet­namese immigrants, he said.

 

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