A Change of Guard

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Saturday, 29 March 2008

Land issue lead to violence toward a Khmer Krom Family

By Joulasar - March 10th, 2008
Voice of America News
Translation from last week's report

Source from Kampuchea Krom (southern Vietnam) reported that a numerous number of Vietnamese citizen and Vietnamese authorities have violently abused Khmer-Krom citizen a few days earlier due to property (land) related issue. They are jailed, beaten up, tortured, and their home is burnt down.
The World Khmer-Krom Buddhist Association blamed Vietnam Authorities and their citizens for the human rights abuses towards one particular Khmer-Krom family recently due to a property related matter and asked for the international community worldwide to restrain Vietnam government for allowing such human rights abuses to take place.
President of World Khmer-Krom Buddhist Association, Venerable Liv Pov, 70 years of age, gave a summary report behind the incident: On February 25th around 6 pm, soldiers, police, and a group of Vietnamese citizens have beaten Mrs. Ly Thi Huong and 8 members of her family who reside in Buerng Tunsar village, Vien An District, My Xien, Klaeng Province, Kampuchea Krom (southern Vietnam). He also added that they burned down her house, and took away one of Mrs. Ly Thi Huong’s brothers, Ly Suon and detained him.
“High official of communist government, high official in the District and sub-district in the village have gathered, about 50 people andbrutally beaten Mrs. Ly Thi Huong and her family including her children and her mother. They were so brutally beaten that they had to be taken to the hospital. They were locked up, their home was burned down and their crops (rice) were harvested and taken away. Now they have nothing left, everything is all burnt in the fire including legal documents and money…”
The inhuman incident occurred due to disputes of this particular farmland, Venerable Liv Pov added. Khmers Krom kept appealing to the Vietnam authorities because their farmlands have been taken away from them by the Vietnamese citizens. However, in Mrs. Ly Thi Huong’s case, the authorities never did anything to solve the problem because the authorities have actually given the lands to the Vietnamese citizens to own, and they gathered to beat up Mrs. Ly Thi Huong and her family, aiming to beat them up to death and burned down their house to eliminate the proof of land ownership (property rights).
Lastly, Venerable Liv Pov added that his Association wants to condemn the Vietnamese government and its citizens for this atrocious incident, and seeks help from the international associations to put pressure towards Vietnam for letting their citizen to carry out this inhuman action towards the Khmer Krom people.
Mr. Trinh Ba Cam, a spokesman for the Vietnamese Ambassador in Cambodia spoke in Khmer language when he said that there is always some sort of land issues in every country in the world.
“I have nothing to say, but I believe there is no such story that the Vietnamese police or the Vietnamese citizens beaten up and did something like this toward Khmer people down there.”
He also added that this is an accusation towards Vietnam and that it is just an act to gain political benefits.
“Whatever the accusation is, we should not worry about it, because the accusation is to gain political benefits. If it is true then that is another issue that we should look into, but about the accusation, we are not going to pay any attention to it.”
Mr. Ang Chan Rit, the Vice President of Khmer Kampuchea-Krom Human Rights organization confirmed that, he also received the same news from his people in Vietnam regarding this incident. However, he could not carry out further investigation regarding this issue because the Vietnam government prohibits any Human Rights organization to do any investigation in their country.
“But no matter what, we will still intervene into this issue via the embassy and other borders guards to help stop and control such violent act from happening again.”

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