A Change of Guard

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Tuesday, 11 October 2011

The Forgotten Plight of the Khmer Krom People

Reproduced from asiafinest.com

Note by School of Vice

I came across this article (published below) about the plight of the Khmer Krom which was published a few years back. The social, human rights situation of these largely forgotten people is well-known to some rights organisations, Khmer Krom associations and the Khmer Krom people themselves. The dire situation described in this report would appear fundamentally unchanged today judging by the reported directive the Vietnamese government has issued to all 140 Khmer Krom Buddhist pagodas ‘throughout the Kampuchea Krom territory to collect all artefacts and Khmer-language Buddhist scriptures to store them in local museums under the control of the Vietnamese authority’. This is a blatant and gross violation of a people’s basic rights on every level: be it to do with intellectual property, cultural heritage or religious freedom, to which Vietnam as a legal member of the United Nations never ceases to claim publicly to respect and guarantee as fundamental human rights. Imagine the same directive being issued in the US or Britain!

Yet outside of these afore mentioned spheres the Khmer Krom issue has yet to grab the world’s attention in sufficient doses for actions and long awaited resolutions to be promulgated in response to this nation’s continued suffering, helping to pave the way towards their full emancipation and self-determination. Equally intriguing is the relative lack of interest among social researchers and academics or leading international rights campaigners. By contrast, for instance, there is an abundance of literature and thesis discourses written on ethnic Vietnamese immigrants’ legal status in Cambodia. Is this underrepresentation owing to the overall relative isolation of the Khmer Krom people themselves, geographically and politically; to the ingenuity of the Vietnamese authorities and their deliberate disinformation regarding minority rights, or to the rest of the civilised world’s cultural myopia when it comes to dealing with Indochina where “Cambodia” and “Khmer” are conveniently or instinctively perceived as “parenthesis inside a Vietnamese sentence”? Are the Khmer Krom people to pin all their hopes and prayers on a Cambodian government that is hopelessly subservient to Hanoi, and on the Cambodian embassy there to do what its sister embassy in Bangkok has been doing in proactively high-lighting misperceptions and prejudices through and within the local media and press, or even just following the example set by Vietnam herself in demanding protection for ethnic Vietnamese throughout Cambodia? Now that would be asking too much, eh?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I still don't understand why koh tral belonged to Ah chke youn!?????The island is way inside cambodian territory...