Jan 15, 2008

Khmer-Krom: Appeal Against Violence To Monks

UNPO member representative, Mr Thach, appeals to the Cambodian authorities to investigate violence against monks.
UNPO member representative, Mr Thach, appeals to the Cambodian authorities to investigate violence against monks.

Below is an appeal originally published on 19 December 2007 on behalf of the Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation:

On behalf of the Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation, we would like to condemn the actions of Cambodian authorities to use violence against Khmer Krom monk protestors.

At 8:00 am on the 17 December 2007, a group of 50 Buddhist monks headed to the Vietnam Embassy in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in the hope of handing a petition.

In the petition, the Buddhist monks appealed for the return of former monk, Tim Sakhorn to Cambodia and for Vietnam authorities look into the case of land confiscation in Kampuchea-Krom (the Mekong Delta).

The monks also requested that five former Buddhist monks, currently serving prison in Vietnam be released. The Vietnam Embassy closed its gates and refused the petition, saying that the petition should be placed in the mail box.

A team of 100 riot police, armed with shields and electric batons had arrived earlier in front of the Embassy. Instead of attempting to resolve the situation, the Cambodian police started to force the protestors into small groups and disperse the crowd.

At about 10:30 am, a riot broke out between the Buddhist monks and the police. Unarmed,  number Buddhist monks were hit by the electric batons, resulting in three unconscious, namely, Venerable Ly Vanny, Venerable Meng Savan Dararithy and Venerable Lam Keo Samnang and fifteen others wounded.

The police authorities told bystanders that the protestors were not real monks, thereby attempting to justify their actions. On behalf of the Khmer Krom around the world, we condemn the over reactions of the Cambodian authorities against defenceless Buddhist monks.

We would like to appeal your help to:

• Remind the Cambodian government that such violent acts are unacceptable in the eyes of the world and violates the principles of the Cambodian Constitution and United Nations treaties and declaration.

• Support an independent investigation into the situation and apprehend the police officers responsible for using the batons.

• Urge Vietnam Embassy in Phnom Penh to accept petitions though the use of non violence means and not by resorting to outright denial.

• Ensure that steps are taken to ensure protestors are protected from police in future incidents.

Yours sincerely,

Thach Ngoc Thach

KKF President