Though offering goodwill wishes to Chams worldwide on the occasion of the Champa New Year last week, the Delegation for Cham Nation’s Issues, which was formed in 2006 in Kompong Chhnang province but registered in Sweden in 2007, remains a little-known organization in Cambodia.
Questions e-mailed to the organization last week went unanswered and efforts to contact the organization’s Cambodian affiliate, the Cham National Federation of Cambodia, were unsuccessful.
But in a series of e-mails yesterday, the organization did provide several documents, one of which said the Cham delegation strives “to protect and promote the rights of the Cham people and help break their political and social marginalization.”
According to the organization, the delegation was formed during the first Cham Nation’s Conference in Kompong Chhnang to represent Chams around the world in matters as wide-ranging as economics and social problems.
Sos Kamry, mufti of Cambodia, confirmed yesterday that there had in fact been a meeting of Chams in 2007, but he knew little about it.
“I’d heard the Chams held a congress in Kompong Cham but I don’t know the details about that because the congress was not very open,” he said yesterday. “I don’t know about this federation because they are not Cambodian Muslims and I am not a Cham.”
In addition to branches in Australia, Sweden and Cambodia, the Cham delegation has a Ministry of Interior registration number, a mailing address in Phnom Penh and a physical address in Kompong Chhnang’s Kompong Tralach district where it works with Cham-language schools, Cham community learning centers and a cultural center.
According to the delegation, the Cham Nation’s Conference is composed of Chams from Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Australia, Europe and the US.