On Sunday 23 September 2007, the Kampuchea-Krom Foundation (KKF) in collaboration with the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) staged a highly successful demonstration through the streets of Geneva to coincide with the sixth session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC).
The Hague, 24 September 2007 – On Sunday 23 September 2007, the Kampuchea-Krom Foundation (KKF) in collaboration with the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) staged a highly successful demonstration through the streets of Geneva to coincide with the sixth session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC)
The United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) is meeting from 10 to 28 September 2007 for their Sixth Session. One of the issues that the HRC will stress is the promotion and protection of all human rights, including civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.
The Khmer Krom, in Vietnam, are treated as second class citizens. Because of their ethnicity and Buddhist religion, they are often seen by Vietnamese authorities as a threat to national integrity. Their religious practices are strictly monitored and sorely repressed. Despite international pressure, a growing number of Khmer Krom monks and human rights defenders are being arbitrarily detained in Vietnam for criticising the regime and trying to raise international awareness of the situation. The latest example of this oppression has been the arrest, deportation and detention of prominent human rights defender and Buddhist abbot, Tim Sa Khorn.
The KKF is an international organisation dedicated to the defense of the fundamental rights and the cultural legacy of the Khmer Krom. The Khmer Krom are an indigenous people living in southern Vietnam, especially in the region of the Mekong River delta. An estimated 8 million Khmers currently live in Kampuchea-Krom, mainly in rural areas.
Since 2001, the KKF has been a member of the UNPO. The UNPO is a democratic, international organization located in The Hague, the Netherlands. Its Members are indigenous peoples, occupied nations, minorities and unrecognised or occupied territories which lack representation internationally. UNPO aims to protect their human and cultural rights, preserve their environments, and to find non-violent solutions to conflicts which affect them.
In the spirit of universal human rights, the KKF and UNPO organised a march through Geneva to denounce the continuous human rights’ infringement toward the Khmer Krom and call upon the international community to help them guarantee their right to practice their religion freely.
The march on 23 September proceeded as follows:
12:00-1:30 pm: March from Rue des Alpes to the Quai Wilson
1:30-2:30 pm: Reading of the letter at the Palais Wilson (Lakeside)
2:30-3:30 pm: March from the Palais Wilson to the Place des Nations
3:30-4:30 pm: Closing ceremony at the Place des Nations
The peaceful demonstration included a ‘die-in’, the creation of a human chain, and a closing ceremony at which a letter to the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Louise Arbour, was read out and delivered to her offices (see attached letter). The event received both local and international media attention, including, amongst others, Radio Free Asia and the Voice of America (VOA).
Both UNPO and the KKF are extremely pleased with the event and would like to thank all the participants, as well as the Geneva authorities for their kind cooperation.
For more information please contact the UNPO Secretariat on +31 (0)70 364 65 04.