Dec 03, 2018

Torture & the Khmer Krom People

On 12 October 2018, UNPO submitted a report to the United Nations Committee Against Torture (UNCAT) concerning the continuous grave human rights violations against the indigenous Khmer Krom people in Mekong Delta.

Vietnam signed the Convention Against Torture in late 2013, and ratified the said convention in February 2015. Since then, the South-East Asian country has prided itself for its adoption of the new penal code, effective as of 2018, and a series of other legislative texts.

The research carried out in conjunction with the Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation (KKF) found that whilst Vietnam makes a serious effort to show engagement with fundamental rights at major international institutions, the authorities’ efforts remain superficial at best and there is little to no practical ongoing effort to eliminate the Vietnamese state party from the systemic epidemic of torture.

Most notably, the Vietnamese domestic legislation remains deliberately ambiguous concerning the potential relevant scope for the elimination of torture, and thus places the decision making process with relevant authorities.

Deliberate loopholes in the legal system, lack of coherence between different legislative texts, and inefficient incompatibility with the UN human rights treaty bodies creates a situation where on the one hand, Vietnam de jure almost complies with international standards, but on the other hand the country is also able to abstain from making practical commitments.

If the Vietnamese government were to be serious in their fight against torture and deliver tangible improvements to the Khmer Krom community in the area that is now Southern Vietnam, they would start by providing a term of ‘torture’ in the Vietnamese legislation that would also be compatible with Article 1 of the Convention against Torture.

In the end of the report, UNPO has provided a series of tangible recommendations for the Vietnamese authorities to ensure that the human and civil rights of the Khmer Krom people are respected.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia