Jun 02, 2009

Khmer Krom: Appeal to Release Land Activist

Active ImageThe president of the Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation, Thach Ngoc Thach, has issued a statement to appeal to release land activist Mr. Huynh Ba.
Below is a statement issued by Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation:

Appeal to Release Land Activist – Huynh Ba

On May 30, 2009, at 11pm (local time), the Vietnamese police, led by Duong Thanh Hung from Soc Trang Province went to arrest Mr. Huynh Ba (born in 1962) and his wife, Mrs Son Thi Kim Thu (born in 1962) while they were visiting their god-father at Ba Trai Commune, Binh An Village, Kien Luong District, Kien Giang Province. The police did not give a reason to why they had arrested Mr. Huynh Ba and his wife.

The police released Mrs Son Thi Kim Thu, but Mr. Huynh Ba is still being imprisoned at an unknown location. The current fate of Mr. Huynh Ba remains unknown.

Mr. Huynh Ba has filed complaint to demand the Vietnamese government to return his confiscated farmland. He lead many peaceful demonstrations of Khmer-Krom farmers to demand the return of their confiscated farmlands in Soc Trang Province. Instead of returning this farmland, the Vietnamese government accused him of leading the protests to disturb the Vietnamese society. This is the first time that the Vietnamese police arrested him for more than 24 hours with an unknown accusation. His wife was not allowed to visit him.

In this regards, I would like to urgently appeal for your intervention to:

• Write a letter to the Vietnamese government asking to release Mr. Huynh Ba without any conditions.
• Urge Vietnam to respect the Human Rights of the Khmer-Krom people, especially the right to own their ancestral lands. Since Vietnam signed the recent adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples on September 13, 2007, it should show respect and implement the Article 26 of the
Declaration “Indigenous peoples have the right to the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned, occupied or otherwise used or acquired.”

Thanks for your help in advance.

Respectfully Yours,
Thach Ngoc Thach
President of the Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation

CC: Foreign Embassies and UN Human Rights Agencies in Vietnam