Khmer Krom Federation Wants Right To Govern

The Khmer Kampuchea Krom Federation demanded on Wed­nes­­day a separate governing system for ethnic minority Khmer in southern Vietnam.

The federation of four organizations fighting for the rights of Khmer Krom minority members in Vietnam made the demand at a news conference in the Samaki Raingsey pagoda in Phnom Penh where some 70 Khmer Krom monks and civilians from Vietnam have been staying since entering Cam­bodia between April and July.

“We do not want to take back the land but we are asking for our right to govern,” Tang Sarah, a re­pre­sentative of the Khmer Kam­puchea Krom Federation, said at the news conference.

He accused Vietnamese authorities of “controlling” the Khmer Krom minority.

“We want to have the right to make decisions and to have our own legislative body, police and courts,” he added.

The federation said it had not yet de­cided on whether the self-governing Khmer Krom should have their own independent country or a state within Vietnam.

Yeang Vanna, president of the Khmer Kampuchea Krom Union of Buddhist Students, said he sup­port­ed the idea of a state separated from Vietnam.

“Whether it is possible or not to ask for an independent state [from Viet­nam], is another story but we will keep on struggling,” Yeang Van­na said, while noting that tiny East Timor was capable of gaining in­dependence from In­donesia.

Tang Sarah also called on the Cambodian government to officially recognize all Khmer Krom people who have “escaped from Viet­nam” as Cambodian citizens.

Ly Quang Bich, political coun­se­lor at the Vietnamese Embassy, de­­clined to comment Wednesday.


Related Stories

Latest News