Khmer Krom: Commemoration of Territory Loss
Below is a Press Release issued by Son San Foundation:
Commemoration of the June 4, 1949
Recently an article published in Cambodia Daily by Mr Henri Locard tried to put the blame of the loss of Cochin-Chin, which was Grench Colony since the 1850s, to the responsibility of the Khmers themselves who lost all these territories before. It was precisely, because we were too weak to be able to defend ourselves that since King Ang Duang we have tried to ask the French authorities to come and protect us from the expansionist neighbours of Siam and Annam. We thank the French to save us by granting the Protectorate under King Norodom and get back all the lost provinces of Battambang, Siem Reap, Kampong Thom including Preah Vihear and Koh Kong, since 1907.
But Cochin-China, which was a possession of the French as a colony, has always been claimed by our successive kings, King Ang Duang, King Norodom and King Sihanouk as Khmer territories, inhabited by Khmer ethnic groups that we call Khmers Krom. The government of the Prime Minister Coste-Floret unilaterally decided to deliver Cochin-China to Emperor Bao Dai for political reasons, by trying to gain the favour of the Annamese Emperor in the wake of Vietminh communist insurgencies, despite the Gaston Deferre Motion adopted by the majority of the French deputies, as to organise a referendum for the local people to decide which country they would join and to solve the pending questions with the Kingdom of Cambodia, especially the question of Koh Tral, alias Phu-Quoc.
The interpretation of these historical facts by Mr. Henri Locard is rather biased and groundless. The commemoration of June 4, 1949 loss of the Kampuchea Krom territory is to assert the Cambodian rights on this territory and to defend the rights of Khmers Krom living there, victims of the harassment and of violations of human rights, such as the recent cases of those Khmers Krom Buddhist monks.
Phnom Penh, June 3, 2009-06-04
President of the Permanent
Committee of the SON SANN Foundation