June 20, 2006

Khmer Krom: Persecution Continues, Two Khmer Krom Missing

On behalf of the KKF, UNPO would like to highlight and bring to international attention the current arrest, interrogations, torture and disappearances of three Khmer Krom individuals, Mr. Chau Sok Kha, Mr. Chau Siem and Mr. Chau Chien.
Khmer Krom: Persecution Continues, Two Khmer Krom Missing

The Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation (KKF) has reported this month about ongoing and recent human rights violations against Khmers within their own land by the state of Vietnam, notwithstanding international human rights treaties and conventions signed and ratified by Vietnam.

On behalf of the KKF, the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) would like to highlight and bring to international attention the current arrest, interrogations, torture and disappearances of three Khmer Krom individuals, Mr. Chau Sok Kha, Mr. Chau Siem and Mr. Chau Chien, persecuted on the sole basis of watching at home a VCD showing the KKF members’ participation at the Fourth Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) at the UN Headquarters in New York.

The three Khmer-Krom individuals were reportedly delighted and full of hope, looking forward to see the material documenting activities that highlight the Khmer situation at an international forum such as the UNPFII. At the forum, KKF representatives sought respect for Khmer Krom human rights in South Vietnam, and emphasized Khmer Krom’s perspectives on issues such as poverty, religious oppression and cultural issues. The three individuals had planned to enjoy the VCD show with their fellow neighbors to be aware of the recent attention their cause has achieved overseas and to learn more about how the KKF carries the voice of the million Khmer-Kroms’ suffering in their homeland to the UN.

Yet, soon after the local Vietnamese authority found out about the incident, a brigade showed up to seize the three Khmer individuals who possessed and/or had seen the KKF’s VCD materials. They were brought to the local Vietnamese police station for questioning. The interrogation began with torture and ended with forced confessions to no longer possess any more of the KKF publicized materials, nor to listen to the Voice of America Radio in Khmer, Radio Free Asia Radio in Khmer and the Voice of Khmer Krom (VOKK) radio in Khmer. After hours of interrogation the three Khmer Kroms were dismissed to go home.

Weeks later, Mr. Chau Sok Kha, who possessed the KKF’s VCD, was summoned once again, detained for a day without foods or water, and tortured resulting in broken ribs, arms, and legs. The two others are reported missing, and are thought to be in Vietnamese’ incarceration and their lives in grave peril unless the international community shows commitment to end such atrocities.

On behalf of the Khmer Krom, UNPO appeals to the international community for an immediate intervention in this matter, and urges the government of Vietnam to end the human rights abuses suffered by Khmer-Krom people. Moreover, UNPO calls upon the Government of Vietnam to abide by its obligations under the international human rights law and in accordance with human rights treaties and conventions.