January 18, 2007
The Hague, 18 January 2007 – UNPO remains deeply concerned about the fate of multiple Khmer Krom Buddhist monks, as well as the larger Khmer Krom community, and has issued an appeal addressing their continuous and systematic harassment and persecution, including torture, arbitrary detention, and infringements upon their rights to free speech, free assembly, and free access to information and media.
On 11 December 2006 Mr. Dinh So Thy, a student from
Additional reports also suggest that a peaceful Khmer Krom protests on 29 December 2006, held in
On 2 January 2007, in Soc Trang (Kleang) Province, Vietnamese Authorities (Ban Ton Giao Tinh Soc Trang) summoned five Buddhist monks resident at the
These monks were studying at
On 9 January 2007, police forces from the Soc Trang province entered the residence of the Venerable Thach Vann Bin. Reports seen by UNPO detail the consequent harassment of Venerable Thach Vann Bin’s mother (72), son, Thach RichviSal (6), and nephew, Ly Binrong (6 months). The police also reportedly threatened further action if the Venerable Thach Vann Bin did not begin collaborating with government authorities.
UNPO is greatly disturbed by these recent developments, which follow a number of similar incidents of arrest and torture in November and December of 2006. UNPO condemns in particular the persecution of Khmer individuals associated with the Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation (KKF), a Member representative organ of UNPO recognised for its non-violent principles and dedicated work in promoting human rights and the rights of the Khmer people.
UNPO has therefore appealed to Ms. Hina Jilani, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders and Ms. Leila Zerrougui, Chairperson of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, as well as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and numerous foreign embassies in
- call upon Vietnamese authorities to end their arbitrary and unlawful persecution of the Khmer Krom community, including that of Buddhist monks and individuals associated with the Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation (KKF);
- urge the Government of
- remind Vietnamese authorities of their obligations under international treaties, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment, as well internationally recognised standards of justice;
- raise the issue of human rights in their relations with representatives from the government of Vietnam, in particular with respect to minorities such as the Khmer Krom; and
- urge those to use their mandates to investigate and question Vietnamese authorities on issues relating to the treatment of indigenous and minority people, such as the Khmer Krom.