October 1, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: UNPO urges the Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights to visit the indigenous communities of the Khmer Krom and Degar-Montagnards during her upcoming visit to Vietnam.
Following the announcement of the Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights’ upcoming visit to Vietnam (18 to 29 November 2013), UNPO highly encourages her to meet with its Khmer Krom and Degar-Montagnard representatives on the ground. Country visits by mandate-holders provide an opportunity to enhance awareness at the country, regional and international levels of the specific issues and concerns under consideration. This is done, inter alia, through meetings, briefings, press coverage of the visit and dissemination of the report. Ms. Shaheed’s visit will focus on the theme of cultural rights in Vietnam.
Both the Degar-Montagnards and the Khmer Krom are illustrative of the situation regarding cultural rights of the indigenous peoples of Vietnam. Because the Khmer Krom are traditionally followers of Khmer Theravada Buddhism and the Degard-Montagnards are chiefly Christian, their religious traditions are not that of the majority of Vietnam, which means they are seen as a threat to the State System by the Vietnamese government. Both groups are facing restrictions or even outright bans on their practicing of their own religious traditions. And besides the violation of their right to freely practice their own religion, the Vietnamese government has also repressed their languages and impeded traditional and cultural education within these groups. Instead of protecting their cultures, the Vietnamese government has tried to break up these traditional communities through forced resettlements and imposed marriages.
It is for these reasons that UNPO strongly urges Ms. Farida Shaheed, in her function as Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights and in light of her history as a strong supporter of the rights of marginalized sectors of societies, to visit these communities and to inform the UN community on the grave violations of their cultural rights they have undergone.
The latest report by UNPO on the situation facing the Khmer Krom and Degar-Montagnards can be downloaded from the link in the right column.
(Photo by Gender-is-Citizenship.net)