Kampuchea Krom To Mark Human Rights Day

At least 600 Khmer Kampu­chea Krom are planning to gather at Phnom Penh’s Mekong Hotel to observe Human Rights Day on Wednesday, a function organizer said Monday.

Director of the Khmer Kampu­chea Krom Coordination Com­mit­tee, Kim Vanchheng, said that 500 Kampuchea Krom people and 100 monks from Kandal, Phnom Penh and Takeo prov­inces are expected to attend.

Speeches calling on Viet­nam’s government to respect the hu­man rights of the Khmer Kam­pu­chea Krom and urging Cam­bo­dians not to discriminate against their own ethnicity, re­gard­less of Vietnamese citizenship, will be made, Kim Vanch­heng said.

“The Cambodian people are biased against the Kampuchea Krom people. They accuse the Kam­puchea Krom people of be­ing Vietnamese because they can­not speak clearly,” he said, re­ferring to his people’s unique ac­cent and dialect.

“The Vietnamese government is abusing the human rights of the Khmer Kampuchea Krom. They don’t allow them to speak freely and the Kampuchea Krom people cannot establish Khmer schools to study in,” he said.

He said Khmer Kampuchea Krom are prohibited from speaking about Cambodian politics or groups that lobby for their im­proved conditions. If Kampuchea Krom people want their children to study Khmer, they must send them to a pagoda, he added.

Kim Vanchheng also accused Cam­bodian authorities of ignoring the Kampuchea Krom people, saying that official documents such as identity cards and family books are rarely issued to people from the former Cambodian territory.

The committee has notified the necessary authorities to attain per­mission for its gathering. Map Sarin, Phnom Penh deputy governor, said that permission would be granted and the proper security provided.

The Vietnam Embassy’s press of­ficer could not be reached for comment Mon­day. France officially ceded the territory known to Cam­bo­di­ans as Kam­puchea Krom to Viet­nam in 1949.


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