Nov 15, 2006

Khmer-Krom: No ID Card in Cambodia

According to a RFA report,Cambodian police in Kien Svay district refuse to issue identification paper to Khmers from Kampuchea-Krom citing provincial authorities’ order.

Cambodian police in Kien Svay district, Kandal Province refuse to issue identification paper to Khmers from Kampuchea-Krom (Khmer Krom) citing provincial authorities’ order. According to a Radio Free Asia report, Khmer who were born in Cambodia to Kampuchea-Krom (Southern Vietnam) parents are also denied identification paper.

Spokesman for the ministry of interior, Khieu Sopheak, states that anyone who can prove their citizenship as Khmer and has a birth certificate will be issued with the identification paper. He also states the local police who refuse to issue identification paper to those eligible is not acting according to the laws.

Local Cambodian authorities in the past have refused to issue Khmer-Krom with identification paper required to seek work and other official businesses.

Over a million Khmer-Kroms sought refuge in Cambodia. Some Khmer-Krom faces discrimination in Cambodia including being labeled as Vietnamese due to some have a slightly lighter skin than the general Khmer population as well as their unique Khmer accents.

Early this year, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHC) refused to provide assistant to Khmer-Krom refugees fleeing from Kampuchea-Krom citing the Cambodian government pledge to treat Khmer-Kroms as Cambodian.