A Change of Guard

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Friday, 19 February 2010

Five Khmer Krom arrested by Vietnamese authority for protecting their rice crops

Khmer Krom people and monks harvesting rice crops in kampuchea Krom.

By Khmerization
Source: RFA

Five Khmer Krom people in Moat Chrouk (An Giang) province were arrested by the Vietnamese police for trying to prevent the Vietnamese authority from harvesting rice crops from their rice fields, reports Radio Free Asia.

The five Khmer Krom: Neang Var, Neang Khorn, Chau Roeun, Chau Chhin and Neang Srey were arrested at Ang commune in Tinh Bien district of Moat Chrouk province on 17th February for trying to protect their rice crops from being harvested by the Vietnamese authority in their 3 hectares rice fields.

The Vietnamese authority said that these Khmer Krom families grow rice in disputed lands, but the Khmer Krom families said these lands are their ancestral lands for generations. The Khmer Krom villagers said the Vietnamese authority deployed 100 policemen to guard the rice fields while two tractor-pulled harvesters harvesting their rice crops on their 3 hectares rice fields.

Twenty-nine year-old Neang Rem told Radio Free Asia that her parents are among the arrested farmers. "Both of my parents have been arrested. I am very depressed now. Right now, they (the Vietnamese authority) have hired people to harvest all the rice crops from our rice fields", she said.

One of her neighbours echoed her claim. "They used two machines to harvest our rice. Now they have finished harvesting all our rice. They arrested 5 people and took them to the District Town Hall because we protested not to allow them to harvest our rice. Now they have finished the harvests by using two harvesting machines", she said.

The Vietnamese embassy in Phnom Penh cannot be reached for comments in regard to the matter.

Ven. Thach Sovannara, spokesman for the Khmer Kampuchea Krom World Federation in Cambodia, said the Vietnamese action is like a robbery. "This action is like a robbery. This action of the Vietnamese government was taken to prevent Khmer Krom people from trying to take back their ancestral lands. This situation is very serious. This is a gross violation of Khmer people from the Vietnamese government", he said.

The lands in dispute were confiscated by the Vietnamese authority in 1979 when these families fled their homes to escape the fighting between the Khmer Rouge and Vietnamese forces which took place in the areas. In 1997-1989, they rose up to reclaim back their lands but were brutally suppressed by the Vietnamese police.

Later, the Vietnamese authority allowed them to grow rice in the paddies, but prevented them from harvesting the crops when the rice crops are ripe.

At the same time, RFA reported that one Cambodian man was mysteriously killed while celebrating the Chinese New Year in the Vietnamese border province of Moat Chrouk (An Giang). The investigation is ongoing.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is a real and gross violation of human rights. It is a daylight robbery from Khmer Krom.

UN or UNPO must condemn and rebuke Vietnam for this.