Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Monday, March 19, 2007

Numerous allegations of human rights violations of Khmer Krom in Viet Nam

There are a growing number of reports surfacing indicating that the Vietnamese government is violating the basic rights of the Khmer Krom people, according to a Huntington News report. The Khmer Krom, who are generally Buddhist, are believed to be the first inhabitants of the Mekong Delta, and their society revolves around their community-owned temples. Rebecca Sommer, a documentary filmmaker and expert on Viet Nam, believes Hanoi’s continued policy of “Vietnamization” will eventually bring about the destruction of this once prosperous group.

The integrity of the temples is compromised by the construction of houses for ethnic Vietnamese on their temple grounds. Other intrusions into the daily lives of the Khmer Krom include a lack of education in their native language. According to Sommer, the repression of their religion is unusually harsh, with monks being disrobed, jailed, tortured, and sometimes killed. Their temples are routinely infiltrated by agents of the government, and they are not allowed to celebrate certain holidays (or must celebrate them at another time of year), so that the government can further their control this indigenous group.

Last month, authorities arrested approximately 60 Khmer Krom monks involved in a peaceful protest and warned the Khmer Krom that they would be arrested if they showed any solidarity. The temples involved in the protest are still surrounded by heavily armed police, more than a month after the incident. Six monks were disrobed and remain in custody, while the others are currently under house arrest.

To read the article, click here.


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