Nov 10, 2006

Khmer-Krom: KK Monk Released By Vietnamese Authorities

According to a report by RFA on Wednesday, His Venerable Thach Kong Phuong has been unexpectedly released by Vietnamese authorities in Preah Trapeang.

According to a report by RFA on Wednesday 8th November 2006, His Venerable Thach Kong Phuong has been unexpectedly released yesterday by Vietnamese authorities in Preah Trapeang.

Venerable Thach was making his way from Phnom Penh, Cambodia to the province of Preah Trapeang to celebrate the Bun Ka Tin festival when he was captured. Accused of being involved with the Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation organisation, he was placed under immediate house arrest with no access or contact to outside world.

His release yesterday comes as a surprise as news of his capture was brought to international light with the help of news medium such as the Radio Free Asia in Khmer. Its programs and online news have played a pivotal role in broadcasting vital news and informing Khmer and Khmer-Krom people of the latest events.

“I am very happy,” says Venerable Thach in his RFA interview as he celebrates his release.

In spite of his release, Venerable Thach has expressed his concern over the continued close monitoring of his whereabouts and activities.

His immediate capture on the suspicion of being involved in KKF is just one of many examples of human rights violation that continue to be imposed by Vietnamese authorities.

The Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation is an indigenous organisation formed to use peaceful means as a way of advocating for the human rights of millions of Khmer-Krom people living in the Mekong Delta region. It has played a vital role in appealing and enlightening the global community of the gross violations committed by the Vietnamese government.

A separate source has also indicated to RFA that the Khmer-Krom people continues to be subjected to greater scrutiny during the Khmer festivals even more so than the past years. The Khmer-Krom people and Buddhist monks have been heavily pursued and monitored by Vietnamese authorities during such festivals.

The gathering of the Khmer-Krom people during festivals in temples creates a traditional environment for them to celebrate their culture and identity. However, such gatherings have been severely discouraged and to some extent forbidden as Vietnamese authorities crack down on those seeking human rights and basic fundamental freedoms.

The constant monitoring and scrutiny by the local Vietnamese authorities has created an air of mistrust amongst the Khmer-Krom community, subjecting the people to an unhealthy state of mind and fear. Their restricted and monitored right to freely express their unique culture in their traditional form has contributed to the slow but eventual disintegration their identity and social fabric from their motherland Cambodia.

In light of his release, KKF have told RFA of their plan to inform US President George Bush in the upcoming month of the human rights violations imposed by Vietnamese authorities that continues against the indigenous peoples of the lower Mekong Delta region.