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YOUTH QUARTERLY EDITION: SEPTEMBER 2013 VOL.10

SEPTEMBER 2013 VOLUME 10

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C O N T E N T S

SEPTEMBER 2013 VOLUME 10

PREFACE COVER STORIES Page 4 The Cambodian Election and its Impact for Khmer-Krom Son Chon Page 8 The situation of the three monks from Khleang Province Sothy Kien Page 9 The Idle No More Movement, and The Global Atmosphere of Change Jeffrey Kim Page 10 Khmer and Khmer-Krom Sophy Om HUMAN RIGHTS Page 13 Page 14 Page 23

United Nations Charter—We The People Serey Chau Highlights of the UNPO Advocacy Training Julie T. Kim Khmer-Krom Protests Against Torture of Ven. Ly Chanda, Thach Thuol, and Ly Nieu Sophie Thach Kim

OUR HOMELAND “THE MEKONG DELTA” Page 23 Page 24

Visiting Kampuchea-Krom — Photo Essay Reachney Kim Experiences from the Motherland – The Mekong Delta River Pheakdey Son

YOUTH VOICES AND ACTIVIES Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 32 Page 34 Page 36 Page 38 Page 40

United Nations Permanent Forum On Indigenous Issues Reflection Melanie Sochetra Ly Reflection On UNPFII 2013 From New York Vichet Pich Discovering My Identity Through The Khmer-Krom Struggle David Chau My Journey From The Refugee Camp to the UNPFII Ra Thach EMRIP Speech: U.N Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Khmer-Krom Youths (Catherine Kim) UNPFII Speech: Education and Khmer-Krom in Vietnam Khmer-Krom Youths UNPFII Speech: Culture Exploitation & Restriction By Vietnam Khmer-Krom Youths (Thivanada Julie Kim) UNPFII Speech: KKF Calls for Implementation of UNDRIP Khmer-Krom Youths (Ra Thach) UNPFII Speech: Discussion and Recommendation on Future Works Khmer-Krom Youths (David Chau) UNPFII Speech: UN Item 8, Future Works Khmer-Krom Youths (Retty Danh)

KHMER ARTS AND CULTURE Page 42 Preserving Your Khmer-Krom Culture Veasna Kim WWW.KKFYC.ORG 2 KKYOUTHMAGAZINE@KKFYC.ORG Page 44 SPECIAL THANKS FROM KKFYC


SEPTEMBER 2013 VOLUME 10

Preface It is hard believe that it is almost three years have passed since our last edition of the KKFYC Magazine. Much has happened in the last year and this 10th Edition of the KKFYC magazine reflects some of of the activities we have been actively involved in to keep the voice of our Khmer-Krom people heard at the international arena. This edition of the KKFYC magazine will explore the major events of this year from the Cambodian elections, the UNPFII 2013 to the wrongful arrests of innocent monks and other civilian from our beloved homeland of Kampuchea-Krom. Whether it is the EMDRIP in Geneva or the UNPFII in New York City, Khmer-Krom youth have been at the forefront in keeping our issues afloat. We would like to say thank you to all of our youths, especially those in Europe who have and continue to work hard on keeping our issues known to the rest of the world As a collective group, we the Khmer-Krom people have came a long way since the days when we did not have a voice. If one was to google the word “Khmer-Krom” 12 years ago, very little information would show up but today there are over 640,000 hits. Yes, we should be proud of what we have achieved but also realized that the fight for human rights realization within Kampuchea-Krom remains a long and somewhat painful road. Especially so in the recent case involving our monks in Ta Set and Prey Chop in which nine people who exercised the basic rights to Freedom of Speech are facing trial and prison. With a re-fueled passion and utilizing the concept of Idle No More movement, the people of Kampuchea-Krom are breaking their silence and speaking about the human right abuses and religious freedom violations. As human rights defenders we must remain strong and united in the face of such injustice and remember that we have the power to help our people reach human rights realizations and religious freedom. Thank you for everyone’s contribution to our KKFYC magazine and it is our sincere hope that you will join us in continuing the fight for human rights and religious freedom. The dreams of every Khmer-Krom people living in Kampuchea-Krom are relying on your action today!

Yours sincerely, KKFYC

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The Cambodian Election and its Impact for Khmer-Krom By Son Chon, Translated by Don with assistance from Melanie Ly

Writing as Khmer-Krom youth who have been living in the Cambodia for past 6 years, first of all, I would like to bring to attention the general participation of youths in campaigning for the 5th election mandate, for electing the country's representatives. In the 2013 national election campaign, 8 political parties competed for votes. Each party played out different strategies to attract support from the people. However, from observations, there were actually only two prominent political parties competing – CPP ( Cambodian People Party ), and CNRP ( Cambodian National Rescue Party). The Cambodian People's Party, which is currently in power today, campaigned lavishly with a great amount of resources and a lot of money. They spend it on bringing together its youth forces, in addition to the artists and celebrities in order to rally up more votes. In stark contrast, the CNRP, which was born from the unification between the Sam Rainsy Party and the Human Rights Party; it depends mainly on the passion of public volunteers. Especially the forces of young people who showed a lot of courage and bravery going against the system. Youth supporters of CNRP poured out their enthusiasm with everything they had. They didn't care about spending their own money for the campaign because they all believed in the core values and policies of the National Rescue party which gave them promises of jobs and scholarships for students who cannot afford higher education costs. The strength of youths that supported the CNRP is a lot greater than the youths that came out to support the Cambodian People's Party of Mr. Hun Sen. This momentum alone could affect the scale that could bring about the changes of leadership in this election. It is very notable that an estimate of 70 percent of all Cambodian youths, young men and women, supported the CNRP party and displayed a strong commitment and will to bringing on the leadership change – for the end of Mr. Hun Sen's rule, in order to rescue the country out of current dangers. They raised several important national issues which brought danger to the society that came about from more than 30 years of Mr. Hun Sen's rule. Specifically, the granting of land concessions in the millions of hectares to Chinese and Vietnamese companies for investing in rubber tree plantations; the exploration of mines; and mass scale land grant for commercial-agriculture use which is responsible for creating conditions for crimes against the forests; destruction of natural wealth, water, rivers, streams, and lakes, and many of Cambodia's mining deposits, resulting in disasters. On the prices of goods, many things were on the rise. Health care providers are neglecting care for poor people – all these issues of societal injustice, land grabbing, in addition to the loss of land on the borders from encroaching neighboring Vietnam, compound with Mr. Hun Sen coming out to the support of illegal immigration compelled the youth to participate. ….continue

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The Cambodian Election and its Impact for Khmer-Krom All the young people I met raised these issues as the reasons for their participation with the CNRP. It is because this party has leaders that are clean, who stands firmly eager with the will to tackle these national problems. Of particular note is party's 7 points policies towards civil servants, factory workers, and Cambodians in all level of society. The young people's belief in the CNRP's party has led to an outbreak of support from this demographic for the party, which saw large gatherings of young people coming to march with the National Rescue Party's campaign. The young men and women who love justice and democracy, were disgusted by the oppression and exploitation from the people in power, and ministers in high positions. They came out in droves to participate with the CNRP party with a goal to put an end to Mr. Hun Sen's power along with Cambodian People's Party. As for the Khmer-Krom youths who are living in Cambodia as well as those currently living under Vietnamese occupation, they have also shown commitment and trust to the Cambodian National Rescue party, just like the majority of other youths in Cambodia and all over the world. We know that the CPP under the leadership of Hun Sen, has never expressed any will or commitment on supporting Kampuchea-Krom and it's Khmer-Krom people who suffer under the Vietnamese occupation. For example, every year, Khmer-Krom who live in Cambodia always commemorate the anniversary and painful memory of the French ceding of Cambodian territory into Vietnamese occupation, 1949. But instead of giving us a venue to observe this event, the Cambodian government only caused unfavorable conditions to prevent Khmer-Krom from having this event from going smoothly. The Cambodian government led by Mr. Hun Sen has proven to the young people, very clearly, its failures and incompetency under the hand of the ruling CPP party. In regard to the Khmer-Krom youths, we put our hopes and trust in the Cambodian National Rescue party, for very much the same reasons mentioned above. Particularly, the political messages and policies of the CNRP, and which among those, are the issues of tackling the illegal immigration problems. CNRP have consistently brought up concerns regarding the topic of the flooding of illegal Vietnamese citizens into Cambodia who are competing for employment and taking away jobs in many places in Cambodia. The CNRP promised that if they win, they will resolved these problems according to the immigration laws. These policies actually parallels to the desire of Khmer-Krom youths. As young men and women of KhmerKrom heritage who shares the same cultural identity as other Cambodian youths, we also do not want to see Cambodia flooded by Vietnamese or see Cambodians having to travel or live abroad because of the employment situations.

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More importantly, we do not want to see the Cambodian territory fall into the hands of Vietnamese again. Particularly, because we, the Khmer-Krom, understand the conditions well that comes with living under the occupation of another country - there are no rights or freedom. Khmer-Krom youths actively participate in Cambodian democracy. In May 28th of 2013, we led a group of 20 members on behalf of Khmer-Krom youths in Cambodia and those living Kampuchea-Krom. Our group had a personal meeting with Mr. Kem Sokha at the Cambodian National Rescue party headquarters. In our dicussion with Mr. Kem Sokha, the deputy leader of CNRP, we raised many critical issues that relates to living conditions of Khmer-Krom in Kampuchea-Krom today. In his reply, Mr. Kem So- Facebook Photo Collage Courtesy of Wayne Son kha promised that in the future when the government is led by the CNRP, there will be policies to protect Khmer-Krom people living in Cambodia and ensure that they have proper security and living conditions just like the rest of Khmer citizens. As for the programs and policy toward Khmer-Krom that are living in Kampuchea-Krom, the CNRP will present two agendas – first, Cambodia will strengthen its embassy consulate and open their quarters in areas where Khmer-Krom people are more populated so that they can benefit from intervention when there are crimes being committed by government of Vietnam against the Khmer-Krom people. The second is providing social and education assistance for protecting Khmer-Krom identity. Finally, as a Khmer-Krom youth, like many other Khmer-Krom youths all over, I would like to express our trust and place the destiny and future of this country to the leadership of the CNRP party so that Cambodia can achieve true recovery and move forward.

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The situation of the three monks from Khleang Province By Sothy Kien If one was to see Ta Set Village today, it would seem like any other day; farmers heading to the markets or off to the rice fields to begin their daily activities. If one was to set foot in Ta Set temple, one may begin to feel an underlying tension and a sense of scrutiny that seems rather out of tune with the usually tranquil sense that a sacred temple ground possesses.

Venerable Thach Thuol—photo taken last year

There is little remains that serves to remind visitors what happened to the former acting abbot of Ta Set temple, Venerable Lieu Ny, Venerable Thach Thuol and two laymen that were apprehended by Vietnamese authorities four months ago.

For Venerable Lieu Ny’s father, not a day passes that he does not think of his son. Like the families of the three other victims, every day of the past four months has been a living nightmare. They do not know of the whereabouts or condition of their sons or husbands. They are subjected to constant surveillance by Vietnam authorities and their hope of seeing their loved ones grows dimmer by the day. On May 16th 2013, the Vietnam authorities began a series of crackdowns to silence three Buddhist monks of Khmer-Krom descendent for allegedly contacting outside organizations. Abbot Ly Chanh Da, from Prey Chop temple, Prey Chop commune, Lai Hoa village, Vinh Chau district, Soc Trang province was the first victim. He was forced to defrock twice, beaten unconscious and publicly humiliated on live television. They then headed to Ta Set temple to defrock Abbot Lieu Ny and Thach Thoul but were temporarily thwarted when a large group of Buddhist followers hindered their attempt.. “I think and believe that our Khmer-Krom children do not have enough school, they don’t speak our Khmer language fluently...so I had an interview with the Voice of Kampuchea-Krom,” say Venerable Thach Thuol, in a video testifying his innocence, called Practicing Theravada Buddhism in Fear. Exercising his basic human rights to speak, Venerable Thach Thuol was instead accusing of providing false information to organizations abroad against the Vietnam government. The Vietnam government tried to force Abbot Lieu Ny to defrock Venerable Thach Thuol but when he refused, he was accused of supporting Venerable Thach Thuol. “There is no reason why I should defrock Venerable Thach Thuol because he did not violate the four principles of Buddhism,” says Abbot Lieu Ny in the same video testimony. “We are very scared that the Vietnam government will arrest, defrock and torture us, inject some unknown substance like they did to Venerable Ly Chanh Da,” adds Abbot Lieu Ny

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The situation of the three monks from Khleang Province Their fear of the arrest came true on Monday the 20th of May, 2013, just four days after the video testimony was recorded, Abbot Lieu Ny, Venerable Thach Thuol, Tra Tha and Thach Phum Rich were captured. The situation unfolding in Ta Set and Prey Chop temple sparked worldwide peaceful protest from Australia, and America to Cambodia on June 4th 2013 but despite their global efforts, Vietnam maintains it silence and continues to ignore the situation.

Venerable Lieu Ny—Appealing For Protection

The disappearance of the two monks and two laymen serves as a stark reminder of the gross human rights violation and religious freedom that continues to happen within the borders of Vietnam. Visitors to the temple may not know that the Vietnam government has installed a State Supported Abbot and continues to rule the Khmer-Krom people using fear and intimidation tactics. For the Khmer-Krom people communities living in Prey Chop, Ta Set and abroad such realities are well known. Today not only marks the four months of unjust captivity of four innocent people but acts as an important reminder that the very fabric of the Khmer civilization in the Mekong Delta will no longer exist if we do not continue the fight for human rights. We must continue to provide a clear, loud and united voice for our defenseless Khmer-Krom people so that the sacrifices of our ancestors Ven. Ly Chanda, coerced to confess on TV after he was were not in vain. We must remember every defrocked and tortured by the Vietnamese government tear, feelings of pain and sorrow that they went through so that our Khmer-Krom children can have a better tomorrow.

Venerable Ly Chanda, the day of his beating by the Vietnamese government (Right) WWW.KKFYC.ORG

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The Idle No More Movement, and The Global Atmosphere of Change By Jeffrey Kim On the arrival of the Idle No More and the Arab Spring movements around the world, Khmer-Krom youths have once again seized the opportunity to bring about changes and raise the awareness of gross violations in their homeland—the Kampuchea Krom (the Mekong Delta). The recent defrocking cases of Venerable Ly Chanda, Abbot Venerable Lieu Ny, and Venerable Thach Thuol which took place in Khleang (Soc Trang) province, the Mekong Delta. Venerable Ly Chanda was defrocked and was thrown into a bag while on his way to be tortured by the Vietnamese authorities at a secluded location. Abbot Venerable Lieu Ny and Venerable Thach Thuol were later defrocked and kidnapped by the Vietnamese authorities. Just recently, it was revealed that Venerable Lieu Ny and Venerable Thach Thuol are both currently being imprisoned in Prey Nokor (Saigon) city after being kidnapped at their home province Khleang (Soc Trang). These defrocking cases committed by the communist State of Vietnam have raised fear among the Khmer-Krom locals in the Mekong Delta. The two global movements above have so far brought a sea of change to the indigenous peoples of Canada (the origin of Idle No More movement), to the peoples of Middle East, Europe, Brazil, Burma, and now to Cambodia. On the irregularities of Cambodia’s August 23rd Election, Khmer and Khmer-Krom around the world have rallied for the democratic change in Cambodia. Khmer and KhmerKrom overseas have conducted peaceful protests in North America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and South Korea to show support toward the opposition parties in Cambodia who demand justice for voters’ rights. That their rights to vote is grossly violated by the ruling party, the CPP, headed by the Hanoi-puppet Mr. Hun Sen. So far the worlds attention is now on Mr. Hun Sen and his cronies who have rigged the voting system in order to stay in power for life, hence have triggered mass protests of late. The opposition party (CNRP) and the labor organizations have joined force to conduct more protests until justice is restored to the people of Cambodia. This year is certainly a year of many changes around the world and change has arrived to Cambodia at last. As Khmer-Krom we must also demand real change in our Khmer-Krom homeland from the Vietnamese occupier. A change that brings real freedom and justice to all Khmer-Krom in our homeland.

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Khmer and Khmer-Krom By Sophy Om The following includes historical developments between Cambodia and Vietnam that provides an understanding of the indigenous group of people known as the Khmer-Krom and their resemblance to other Khmer people, whether they are living in Cambodia or its Diaspora. The Khmer-Krom is an indigenous group of people, whose name comes from the word “Khmer” from the Khmer Empire (Cambodia today) and “Krom” meaning the South. Khmer people living in the South or the Mekong Delta. This region was originally part of the Khmer Empire. Later on, it was known as CochinChina under French colonialism. On June 4th 1949, the French government ceded this land to Vietnam without prior consultation of the Khmer-Krom people. Since the end of the Vietnam War in 1975, this region has been part of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam The Khmer Empire flourished from the 9th to the 15th century A. D. Its territorial limits neighbored Burma on the West and the land of the Champas (later on conquered by Vietnam) on the East. The Khmer Empire included the land, which is today known as Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia (or Kampuchea). It was one of the world’s largest urban centers of this time. It is well known for its magnificent temples that were built wherever the empire spanned. The most famous temple is the world heritage known as the Angkor Wat. It still remains the largest religious temple in the world. Vietnam’s march to the South (Nam Tien) started as early as 1306. This is Vietnam’s territorial and military expansion to southern land. Vietnam was originally part of China, throughout history and wars, the territory gained independence and changed names many times (such as Dai Viet) as it began its expansion to the South to conquer the land of the Champas. Vietnam’s territorial expansion to the South finally annexed the Mekong Delta peninsula in 1975. The rapid colonization by assimilation of Vietnam upon the Khmer-Krom people occurred throughout history in many forms. The most atrocious method was for the Vietnamese authority to bury a group of Khmer people to the neck leaving only their heads on top of the earth. The Vietnamese would then place a huge kettle with water and tea, on top of their heads. They would then set fire to the heads of the Khmer people to boil their tea. This inhuman act was called “Tae Ong” meaning Ong Tea, also called “Do not Spill the Masters’ Tea”. Another incident occurred between December 1945 and January 1946 called “Kap Youn” meaning kill the Vietnamese. This event relates to the Vietnamese authority (or Viet Minh, a communist national coalition for independence) mass killing the Khmer-Krom people and publicly declaring the reverse, that the Khmers are Killing the Vietnamese. During the Vietnam War, the Viet Cong also recruited Khmer-Krom people to join the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam (NFL) through schemes and death threats. One of the schemes was that the NFL would grant independence for the Khmer-Krom. The NFL also threatened the Khmer-Krom people to kill them should they disagree to join them. The Viet Cong also went as far as to cooperate with the Khmer Rouge (the Cambodian Communist Party) to overthrow Lon Nol’s regime in Cambodia. When the Khmer Rouge came into power in Cambodia, they perpetrated one of humanity’s worst genocide in history. On April 18th, 1978, the Viet Cong government claimed that the Khmer Rouge came to Ba Chuc village to kill more than 3000 innocent people and propagandized that the Khmer Rouge invaded Vietnam and must therefore neutralize the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. However, many, such as Nguyen Vinh Long Ho, believe that the killings were made by the Viet Cong government and then blamed on the Khmer Rouge to be able to invade Cambodia. ...continue

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“To date, Vietnam has not cooperated with Cambodian investigators, researchers note. Hanoi is perhaps anxious about reviving memories of its 11-year occupation…” “Were they, then, Chinese cadres? Also unlikely, but not beyond the realm of possibility, analysts say. Beijing had at least 1,500 technical and military advisers with the Khmer Rouge. Some may have accompanied front-line units: Beijing, after all, provided the military hardware.” Vietnam invaded Cambodia on December 25th 1978 and on January 7th, 1979, less than two weeks later, they successfully controlled Cambodia. This incident left many people wander whether the Vietnamese troop were already hidden in the Khmer Rouge army. For the truth of the matter is that it is difficult to physically differentiate between a Cambodian and a Vietnamese. Afterwards, the Vietnamese government implemented a client government in Cambodia comprised of old Khmer Rouge members until this day. Since 1979, thousands of Khmer-Krom people began fleeing their homeland to seek refuge in other countries, because they could not live the annihilation threat under the Vietnamese government. This includes confiscating the land from the Khmer-Krom people to give them to Vietnamese people leaving Khmer-Krom people in extreme poverty. They also captured, tortured, imprisoned, and killed monks from the Khmer-Krom community. They changed the names of the Khmer-Krom people to Vietnamese names and prohibited teaching or learning Khmer language in schools and temples in Vietnam. In 1982, the Vietnamese Communist government executed Khmer-Krom people under the KC50 affair that stands for “Kill 50% of Khmer-Krom people”. Today, Khmer-Krom people continue to be disenfranchised, marginalized and be faced with discrimination and human rights abuses in Vietnam. The Human Rights Watch (HRW) confirmed this in their report, “On the Margins: Rights Abuses of Ethnic Khmer in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta.” “Khmer-Krom, interviewed by HRW say that discrimination against them by the Vietnamese government denies them equal rights and opportunities afforded to the majority Kinh population.” Vietnamese government goes as far as to defrock Khmer Buddhist monks, which is not only prohibited by the Buddhist code, but is also violently humiliating, degrading, and inhuman. One Khmer-Krom Buddhist abbot from Vietnam told Human rights Watch: “It is very painful for Khmers when monks are arrested,” he said. “Monks are the symbol, the heart of the Khmer people.” ” It is only the Khmer-Krom people who successfully fleeted the threat of persecution and annihilation by the Vietnamese government, who live to tell their stories and the reality for their indigenous group. The fear for the khmer people in Cambodia and Vietnam lives on despite the end of the Vietnam War and despite the end of the Khmer Rouge Regime. The parallel destruction of the Khmer identity in South Vietnam and in Cambodia through the genocide and onward with the dictatorship in modern Cambodia, the fatherland, has left generations of Khmer people worldwide in extreme fear until this very day. The international community is involved in solving this crime against humanity, but under the current dictatorship in Cambodia, the Khmer Rouge Tribunal gives little hope to the Khmer people of finding true justice to their people. Radio Free Asia reports on April 19th, 2013: “Speaking at a groundbreaking ceremony in Kompong Speu province, Hun Sen, who is himself ex-Khmer Rouge, warned that he would not be waiting around to be arrested. “I will not allow anyone to arrest me easily,” he said, adding that he would “respond immediately” to anyone who tried. He said that a win by the National Rescue Party (NRP) would provoke a civil war and war with Cambodia’s neighbour Vietnam. ” Only, through reconstruction of the country, prosperity, protection of the rights and liberties of the Khmer people worldwide will the curse be lifted from them. Now… only dark fear is widespread. By Sophy Om, For more information about the history of Khmer-Krom People, request a copy of the book, Khmer-Krom Journey to Self-Determination at http://www.khmerkrom.org/index.php/kkf-book WWW.KKFYC.ORG

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HUMAN RIGHTS

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United Nations Charter – We The Peoples By Serey Chau On June 29, 2013, the Khmer Kampuchea-Krom Federation (KKF) Chapter in Northern California, the Hawaii Institute for Human Rights, Amnesty International USA, and the International Bill of Rights Association, organized the 8th annual conference at the Amnesty International Office in San Francisco, in order to commemorate the United Nations Charter that was signed on June 26, 1945 in San Francisco. The focus of the conference for this year: The annual UN Charter conference honors the history of San Francisco as the host city for the creation of the United Nations. In the spirit of self-determination and human rights for all, the conference covers the latest issues regarding the important issues in international affairs. This year, the conference will cover the new movement for a world court of human rights featuring the International Bill of Rights movement. IBOR recently had a conference at the United Nations in Geneva, in the same room where Eleanor Roosevelt helped to draft the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Indigenous rights are very important and the Alta Declaration represents the values and visions of indigenous peoples from the seven regions of the world. The Moana Nui Movement looks at the connections between economics, business and human rights. Finally, the Universal Periodic Review is a new mechanism that allows for everyone on earth to participate in there review of the human rights record of all UN member states. Come learn how to participate in the upcoming UPR of the United States of America. Dr. Joshua Cooper gave an excellent talk regarding to his trip to Geneva and Asia, especially Cambodia and Thailand. He met Ly Chanh Da, a former Khmer-Krom Buddhist monk who was arrested, defrocked, tortured and imprisoned by the Vietnamese government on May 16, 2013 at Prey Chop temple in Soc Trang province. Fortunately, Ly Chanh Da escaped his homeland to seek refugee status in Thailand. Dr. Kirk Boyd talked about the International Bill of Rights. He passed out the booklet and urged people to read it, sign it (at http://internationalbillofrights.org/), and share it. The KKF is willing to help translate the short version of this bill to the Khmer language. Mr. William Butkus from Amnesty International USA talked about how Amnesty can help protect the victims of the human rights violation. He talked about the application that is being developed in order to help victims send an alert to an Amnesty representative by just clicking on a button on the app. This will be very helpful if the Khmer-Krom in Kampuchea-Krom has this app so they can report to the outside world when their rights are being violated, especially to Amnesty. Representing for the KKF, I talked about the current human rights violations that the Khmer-Krom people in Vietnam are facing. I passed out the KKF Brochure, Khmer-Krom Human Rights Violation document that mentioned the recent arrest of Venerable Lieu Ny and Venerable Thach Thuol in May 2013. I answered questions regarding to why Vietnam arrested Venerable Ly Chanh Da, Venerable Lieu Ny, Venerable Thach Thuol and other Khmer-Krom. People at the conference were shocked when they heard about how Venerable Ly Chanh Da was tortured. I also showed the link ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZMef1nAtGQ ) to watch the video that Venerable Lieu Ny and Venerable Thach Thuol appealed before they were arrested.

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EMRIP REPORT - 2013 Sixth Session of Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Place: Palais des nations Date: From July 7th to July 12th By Thivanada Julie Kim - European Youth

Introduction: This year I've been chosen as the delegate of the KKF group that was composed of Catherine Sopheap Kim, Ly chuon, Venerable Thach Veasna. During this week we used to attend to the opening session where Chief Wilton Littlechild has been elected a second time as the Chairperson-Rapporteur of the Expert mechanism and Mr Danfred Titus as the Vice-Chairperson for his first time. Plus these elections, this year is the last year of the Mandate of James Anaya as a Special rapporteur. Member of the expert mechanism or of the Desk Ms, Jannie Lasimbang ( Malaysia) Mr, alexey Tsykarev (Russian Federa- Mr, Paul kanyinke Sena The Chairperson of the Member of the Permanent Forum tion) Member of the Permanent Fo- permanent forum on the indigenous issues rum International Chief Wilton Littlechild Mr, Danfred Titus (South Africa) (Canada) Mr, Albert Deterville (Saint Lucia)

Ms, Joenia Batista de Carvalho Member of the board of the Trustees of the United Nations Voluntary fund for indigenous populations

Mr, James Anaya Special rapporteur Mr, JosĂŠ Francisco Cali Tzay on the rights of indigenous peoples Member of the committee on the Elimination of Racial discrimination

Mr, Rafendi Djamin Ms Marcia V.J.Kran Member of the asean inter- President of the human right council governemental Commission for human rights

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Remigiusz Achilles Henczel Ambassador

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Sixth Session of Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples First day On Monday July, 8th As every year it begins at 10:13 am with the election of the desk which is item 1 of the Agenda, and then we proceeded to the Adoption of the Agenda and on the Working group issues (Item2). Every Member used to introduced themselves and give forewords before the sixth session get started. At 11 am the registration for item 3 “ were open, but yet we did not apply as we didn't have a speech prepared on this item. From 1pm to 2:30pm – Docip side-event how to well participate to the EMRIP During the lunch we have been to the Side-event of the DOCIP in concern with how to participate to the EMRIP, Information concerning how to register, how the desk works and who are the members and when their mandate ends. Furthermore, this side-event took place in ROOM XXIII, and the presentation was in the same time explained by a Power-point. From 3pm to 6pm – Item 3 The World Conference on Indigenous Peoples The Chairperson-Rapporteur presented a compilation of recommendations, conclusions and Advices from studies completed by the Expert mechanism with the purpose to inform the preparations for the world conference on indigenous peoples (A/HRC/EMRIP/2013/CRP 1). Also they introduced for the first time the Alta outcome Document as an official UN document. (A/HRC/ EMRIP/2013/CRP 2). Alexey Tsykarev, noted that the Expert Mechanism is committed to participating In further preparatory meetings in Mexico and New York, as well as coordinating its work with other UN mechanism, including the Human right council. He emphasized that the Alta outcome document will be the basis of a greater analysis and monitoring of the use of studies and Advice of the Expert Mechanism by States. He also said that 2014 will mark the end of the second International Decade of the World's Indigenous Peoples and called for the establishment of a third International Decade. He added that the 7th session of the Expert Mechanism may be the final opportunity to have a global dialogue on the World Conference prior to September 2014.

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Sixth Session of Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples The special rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous peoples considered how the three indigenous mechanisms can contribute in the preparatory process for the World conference and in the event itself. He recognized that the Alta Outcome document is an important normative instrument and plan of action. Further noted that the outcome document provides an important overview of the issues that are of central concern to indigenous peoples and adds to the understandings of indigenous people's priorities both in terms of the content of rights and how those rights might be protected. He also encourages other actors, including those from the United Nation system, indigenous peoples, civil society, and the private sector to apply The Alta Outcome document. Mr, Paul Kanyinke Sena, Chairperson of the permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, outlined the recommendations of the permanent Forum related to the World conference contained in its 12th session report. He noted the enhance cooperation with the special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples and the expert mechanism, especially in the preparatory process leading to the World Conference and considered ways of enhancing the existing indigenous – specific UN mechanisms going forward as part of World Conference. Mr Ghazali ohorella, Co-chair of the Global coordinating Group, provides an overview of the participatory process of Indigenous peoples leading to the global preparatory meetings of Indigenous peoples in Alta, Norway. The Alta Outcome Document should be used s the basis for the final Outcome document of the World conference, that the Expert mechanism recommend to the president of the sixty-eighth session of the General Assembly that a State representative and an Indigenous peoples to conduct informal consultations, and the Expert Mechanism urge states to financially support indigenous people's participation in the World Conference, including in preparatory activities. Ms, Jannie Lasimbang stressed the need to explore technical, financial an political support to facilitate the participation of indigenous peoples in the World Conference and urged local and national activities to be undertaken that aim to raise the understanding of indigenous peoples issues. Such activities should focus on the proposed themes that form the Alta Outcome document. And the first day at the UN ends at 6 pm.

Second Day On Tuesday, July 9th 2013 From 10 am to 1 pm – Item 4 Follow-up to thematic studies and Advice Mr. Danfred Titus introduced the agenda item on follow-up to thematic studies and advice by stressing that the Expert Mechanism's studies constitute authoritative interpretations of the human rights of indigenous peoples. He added that the studies and advice are grounded in binding international human rights norms as applied to indigenous peoples, including the UN Declarations. Mr Titus noted the direct relationship between the right of self-determination and the full enjoyment of the rights of indigenous peoples. The Expert Mechanism heard how States, indigenous peoples, national human rights institutions and other stakeholders have used the studies and Advice issued by the Expert Mechanism to further the promotion and protection of the rights of Indigenous Peoples, specifically under four thematic areas: indigenous people's right to education; culture and language; the right to participate in decision-making with a focus on extractive industries.

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Sixth Session of Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples — Second Day Participants shared good practices, lessons Interventions Highlighted, the role of UN agencies in disseminating the Expert Mechanism's studies and Advice at the country level and the importance of training government officials on Indigenous people's right. Some participants called for the ratification and implementation of international standards, including the ILO Convention 169, the convention on the Protection and promotion of Diversity of Cultural Expressions, and the International Convention for the Safe-Guarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Participants also called for increased engagement of indigenous peoples and indigenous mechanisms in the ongoing processes related to indigenous peoples in the WIPO. Concerning the Expert Mechanism's study and Advice on Indigenous Peoples and the Right to participate in Decision-making, participants drew attention to lack of implementation of the rights of indigenous peoples in the context of the UNESCO World heritage Convention, specifically on issues such as free, prior and informed consent, and encouraged the UN indigenous-specific mechanisms to take an active monitoring role on this issue. The Chairperson of the Permanent Forum positively referred to the World Bank initiative called “Open Contract Partnership” that aims to ensure effective disclosure and participation of indigenous peoples in all public investment concerning extractive industries. He also noted the importance of on-going collaboration between the Working Group on the issue of Human rights and transitional Corporations and Other Business enterprises, the special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, the permanent forum and the expert mechanism to promote the effective implementation of the UN Declaration in relation t the guiding principles on businesses and human rights. He also highlighted the importance of Indigenous peoples as entrepreneurs. Ms, Jannie Lasimbang reported on the South east Asia meeting on Extractive industries and Indigenous peoples rights to Land and Natural resources in Thailand organised by the UN indigenous Peoples partnership (UNIPP) in June 2013, where she had the opportunity to present the follow-up study and Advice on right to participation in decision-making, with a focus on extractive industries. She recommend that businesses ensure that their employees have an understanding of the rights of indigenous peoples, including the right to participate in decisionmaking. She called upon Indigenous peoples to continue to play a positive role by asserting their human rights as they relate to extractive industries, with an emphasis on forming equal partnerships with states and business enterprises to engage in sustainable development After that each representative of the Expert mechanism give their issues in concern with item 4, we had the chance to apply for this item. The one who talked was me, and it was for sure a such a great experience and I really liked it. From 1pm to 3pm – SIDE-EVENT DOCIP XIII and SEXUAL HEALTH ROOM IX The reason why we have two different side-event is because Ly chuon and Catherine kim went to the Docip one and that Ven Thach Veasna and I went to the sexual health. Why ? Did we chose to do it like this ? The major point in concern with the side-event is to follow issues that you are interested in, and that's what hopefully I did. And also I had ERIN a friend of mine who is working with the youth caucus who was on the chair of this event, so this is another good reason for that. The side-event where I've been with Ven Thach Veasna had a concern with the “incrimination, incarceration and access to justice for Woman”.

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Sixth Session of Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples — Second Day From 3pm to 6pm – Item 5 study on the access to justice on the promotion and protection of the rights of indigenous peoples. PANEL DISCUSSION'S MEMBERS: “Recommendations of the international Expert seminar on Access to Justice for Indigenous peoples, including truth and reconciliation processes Mr Titus, Vice-Chairperson

International Chief Littlechild ChairpersonRapporteur

Ms, Celeste Mckay,

Ms, Ellen Walker,

Ms, June Lorenzo

Technical analyst for international chief Littlechild

International disability Alliance.

Indigenous World Association and Laguna Acoma, Coalition for a Safe Environment.

In its resolution 21/24, the Human Rights Council requested the Expert Mechanism to prepare a study on access to justice in the promotion and protection of the rights of indigenous peoples, and to present it to the council at its twenty-fourth session. Accordingly, the Expert Mechanism prepared a study on this theme (A/ HRC/EMRIP/2012/2). To inform the Study, the Office of the High commissioner for human rights coorganized an International Expert Seminar on Access to justice for indigenous peoples including Truth and Reconciliation Processes, along with the institute for the study of Human Rights, Columbia University and the international center for transitional justice. It was held in New York, USA, from February 27th to March, 1st 2013. International Chief Littlechild began, focusing on the recommendations related to truth and reconciliation processes set out in the Study, which were informed by the presentations at the international Expert Seminar. This included the full and effective involvement of indigenous people at all stages and that the processes be reflective of the cultures and values of indigenous peoples. It was also recommend that the UN declaration be applied to the work of Truth commissions, and that truth commissions address historical injustices experienced by Indigenous peoples and contemporary effects of continued human rights violations, including against the right to self-determination. Ms, Walker presented on access to justice from the perspective of indigenous peoples with disabilities, She presented a brief overview of the report entitles “increasing work on the rights of indigenous persons with disabilities” by the UN permanent forum (E/C.19/2013/6). Ms. walker references the particular recommendations from the Expert mechanism's study on Access to Justice related to Indigenous persons with disabilities. These included methodologies to collect data on Indigenous persons in detention that is disaggregated by disability and increasing the accessibility of the justice system. Ms McKay highlighted the barriers to access to justice for indigenous women, youth and children, which include multiple discrimination, structural violence, high rates of incarceration and poverty and need to involve youth in Truth and Reconciliation Commissions. Remedies highlighted included taking measures aimed at ensuring equality before the law. She urged states to work In partnership, especially with indigenous women, to achieve equality before the law, particularly in the context of State and Indigenous judicial systems. Ms Lorenzo highlighted the importance of understanding access to justice is not only about righting past wrongs, but rather remedying current wrongs and to prevent future injustices, the peremptory norm of non-

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Sixth Session of Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples — Third Day She also emphasized that indigenous peoples understanding of access to justice is different from states. First, this must include the operations of businesses within indigenous territories. She noted that monetary settlement do not equate with justice for indigenous peoples. A real need about defining he word “Justice” has to be done by each state. Furthermore she stressed that the access to Justice for indigenous peoples involves access to their cultures, territories, children, languages and ceremonies. She called for policies and laws that address access to justice for the future. Albert Deterville highlighted article 13 of the UN declaration, which recognizes the right of Indigenous peoples to designate their own names, communities and territories. The preamble of the Un Declaration highlights its purpose in addressing marginalization and abuse cause by the colonialism. He recommended that the HRC permit Indigenous peoples and Nations to display their names during the Expert Mechanism's sessions. The concern about respecting national and international laws, including FPIC of indigenous peoples, for extractive industries operating outside of the country in which they are registered was raised by a participant. On this Item we also used to speak, if you want the speech please follow the KKF website at http:// khmerkrom.org Third Day on Wednesday, July 10th 2013 From 3pm to 6pm – Item 6 Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples On this third day nothing really happened, they used to talk about the submitted question to know what think the state about indigenous peoples on the best practices in concern with tactics and measures which could be implemented by the UN on the UNDRIP. As I said it on my introduction, I missed this day for some medical reason, then I only know that the main conclusion about this questionnaires is that there is not any model of a great implementation of the UNDRIP. Every country have default in concern of the implementation of this charter. And then, Indigenous peoples urge the UN to take in consideration, that it's a real need that the state accept to care about indigenous peoples, and help them to be involve in the UNDRIP and also to be aware of their financial needs. We also made a speech for this item 6, but finally Catherine only spoken the next day, from 10 am to 1pm.

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Sixth Session of Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples — Fourth Day From 10am to 1pm – Item 7 Interactive dialogue on the role of the regional mechanism on the promotion of the UNDRIP. The chairperson-rapporteur discussed the implementation of the UN declaration at the international and national levels. He explained that the Declaration is the normative framework for the work of the Expert Mechanism, including its studies and Advice. Indeed its studies are built on the fundamental right of selfdetermination. Mr, James Anaya underscored that the full implementation of the UN Declaration is a complex process that requires sustained efforts by a myriad of State and others actors. He stated that the UN Declaration calls upon states to play a central role in operationalizing the UN declaration. He reminded participants that greater efforts are required by States to implement the standards of the UN declaration and to harmonize existing laws policies and programs with those standards. Mr, Sena welcomed the work of the Inter-agency support group and recognized the role of the permanent forum n main streaming Indigenous peoples issues in the UN system. He encouraged a discussion on different approaches in promoting the implementation of the UN Declaration with the ultimately aim to promote the rights of Indigenous peoples. Mr, Francisco Cali Tzay, Member of the CERD, highlighted the particpation of Indigenous peoples in the making UN Declaration and recognized the need to promote its interpretation in harmony with other standards that concern the rights of Indigenous peoples. He highlighted that the CERD, when analysing a country report , pays attention to the implementation of the rights of indigenous peoples, particularly in relation to the scope of the convention of the Elimination of Racial Discrimination to combat a racial discrimination. He also recalled CERD's General recommendation no-23 on Indigenous peoples noting that, although it predates the adoption of the UN Declaration, it contains many elements covered in the UN declaration, such as rights of Indigenous peoples to education, health, culture, language and spirituality. Mr, Rafendi Djamin, Comissioner of the Asean inter-governmental Comission on Human Rights, commented on the complementary role of regional mechanisms and highlighted the importance of promoting a regional approach to address the rights of indigenous peoples. Mr Djamin welcomed the recent adoption of the ASEAN human rights Declaration, which although it did not specifically mention Indigenous Peoples, it did recognized the rights of vulnerable and marginalized groups. Regarding the work of the ASEAN inter-governmental Commission for Human rights. He also noted that the commission is looking forward to seeking a comon understanding about the specific needs of Indigenous peoples in that region. He also highlighted ASEAN's efforts in closing the gap of weak protection mechanism and existing laws that have not been adequately implemented at the national level. Mr, Michal Gooda, Commissioner of the Australian Human Rights Commission, highlighted that NHRIs are an exceptional model for advancing the recognition and protection of rights of indigenous peoples. He emphasized the positive example of the Australian human rights commission reporting directly to Parliament on an annual basis. This practice serves as a means to ensure that the exercise and enjoyment of the human rights of Indigenous Peoples is promoted, advocated and advanced at every opportunity. He also noted that the Australian Human rights Commission, in partnership with the Asia Pacific Forum and the Office of the High commissioner for Human Rights, is producing a training toolkit for NHRIs focusing on the rights of Indigenous peoples.

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Khmer-Krom Organized Global Protest Against Persecution Of Their Buddhist Monks By Sophie Thach Kim On June 7th, 2013, hundred of people gathered at the Vietnam Embassy in Ottawa at about 10:00AM for a demonstration that was organized by the Khmer-Krom Canadian in Canada. Some of the protesters traveling from across Canada to gathered at this important event. The rally called for the Vietnam Government to stop using dirty tricks to defrock and arrest many of the KhmerKrom monks and to stop oppressing the vulnerable Khmer-Krom people. This would not be the first demonstration that was done in front of Vietnam Embassy by Khmer-Krom Canadian community. Despite the facts that there were many past demonstrations in demanding that Vietnam Government should respect the international law and to stop oppressing the Khmer-Krom people in the Mekong Delta Region which is now south Vietnam, the Vietnam Government still continue to ignored the called out of the international communities and to silenced those who shows their supports for freedom of expression and freedom of religion in Vietnam. This rally was meant to call for the immediate release of a Khmer-Krom Buddhist monk, Venerable Ly Chanda of Prey Chop temple from Soc Trang in Vietnam. The Venerable has done nothing wrong besides listening to radio and giving interview. Some of the protesters were as old as 70 years of age and had health concerns, but this could not prevented them from coming out to voice out their opinion and to show their supports. The Vietnam Government's action against the Khmer-Krom people has gone way too far and could not be ignored any longer by the international communities. In the same month, many other demonstrations were held in the U.S, France, New Zealand, and Australia. In the United States, our Venerable Danh Tol was given an opportunity to testify before the U.S Congress on the state of religious freedom and the persecution and torture of Khmer-Krom monks in Kampuchea-Krom. You can access the testimony on the Khmer-Krom website at: http://khmerkrom.org/index.php/activities/531-ven-danh-tol-testifies-before-u-s-committee-on-vietnam-repression

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Facebook photo courtesy of Boros Lakkloun

OUR HOMELAND

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Photo courtesy of Reachney Kim Facebook photo courtesy of KhmerPhumThom

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Photo courtesy of Reachney Kim

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Experiences from the Motherland – The Mekong Delta River By: Pheak Kdey Son

Many youths in town said to me “I COULD UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU SAID BUT I CAN’T SPEAK” ... Today I am honored to share experiences when I visited Kampuchea Krom. On the 2nd of April 2009 I had the chance to attend a ceremony in the town of Kompong Roliing (Vung Liem), province of Long Hor (Ving Long in Vietnamese). In that area there is an old Buddhist temple called Sang Kha Mangkol (Sangha Manghala) in Pali which means the Center of the Buddhist Order or Hanh Phuc Tang in Vietnamese. The temple was originally constructed in 632 A.D. The temple was renovated on the 5th of May 2007 and was completed on the 31st of March 2009. The total cost is 1.961.778.000,00 dong (Vietnamese dollar) which is about $100.000,00 in US dollars. Over 1/3 of the construction cost was donated from Canada and the United States by the Khmer-Krom people. About 100 Abbots from each temple attended the inauguration ceremony. The ceremony was exceptionally outstanding. I had a chance to understand more about the invaluable legacy of our Khmer culture. The ceremony lasted 3 days and nights filled with much festivities. I also got a chance to meet and interact with most of the youths. Sadly, those youths can’t speak Khmer language but they are willing to learn Khmer language if there were Khmer classes available. The disadvantage of those Khmer youths could possibly be caused by two things: the narrow mindedness of Vietnamese government to operate the concept of open society and multiculturalism by allowing KhmerKrom people to learn Khmer language and their culture, and the lack of awareness from the Khmer parents as well as Buddhist temples. But according to news we have daily received, the Vietnamese government should operate an open policy to allow Khmer-Krom youths to learn Khmer language. This policy will potentially encourage Khmer parents and Buddhist temples to constructively and freely instruct Khmer language as well as culture to those youths. Achieving this open policy, Vietnamese government can enjoy further comprehensive development to their nation. For instance, within this ceremony tremendous foreign currency has flew into this renovation project that can absolutely boost economic growth in both local and national scale. If those youths could speak another language, especially Khmer which is their mother tongue, the society will become the tapestry of renovation and tolerance. In contrast, over 60 years that those youths have lost opportunity to exercise their strength for such productive open society. Many youths in town said to me “I COULD UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU SAID BUT I CAN’T SPEAK” . This phrase has also haunted me. Personally, I am not that good in the Khmer language. This is because of I have lived outside the country since I was very young. What I found disturbing is that those youths are living inside the country and they cannot speak the language or practice their culture at the ceremony properly. Hopefully in the future our Khmer-Krom youths will have more chance to practice their religion, culture and language like every other race on this planet have. Khmer-Krom people love peace, tolerance and comprehensive understanding. WWW.KKFYC.ORG

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YOUTH VOICES AND ACTIVITIES

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UNITED NATIONS PERMANENT FORUM ON INDIGENOUS ISSUES REFLECTION By: Melanie Sochetra Ly On Tuesday May 28th, 2013, I attended my very first UNPFII conference at the United Nations in New York City. Of course, the idea of going to the UN was a bit overwhelming but actually being there, representing my people of Khmer-Krom. My goal as an observer was to go there and learn as much as possible about how the system works. I ended up assisting the process of writing three speeches, ran around in order to make connections with other people from around the world and keeping the people back home well informed. As I sat there listening to the chairman speak about all of the issues of the indigenous peoples, I was more than ready to speak. Day after day, we waited around for someone to call on us in order to deliver our prepared speech but unfortunately, this wasn’t our year. The struggle takes a toll not only mentally but physically. Night after night we would sit around each other in a tight circle in order to brainstorm ideas for the next speech if we ever got the chance to deliver it. There were many other events happening during the side events, it was hard to keep up. The many different indigenous groups at the UN were all dressed up in their cultural clothes and some even sang beautiful songs in their native language. Being able to go around and see different people and experiencing new situations became an eye opener for me. I learned more about myself than I had anticipated. I learned about my own ability to get along with others, how other people act when they are in a professional surrounding, and I also learned that there are good people and bad people no matter where you go. Our youth group had to stick together all the time which helped each one of us learn how we work. Each person had their own job within the group and that helped us move forward in a very productive direction. Not only did we learn about how the conferences work at the UNPFII but we learned about how to work in a group collectively. We also learned a lot about each other by talking and telling stories. We can find out more background from each other as we shared the same stories our parents told us. It was like we had the whole world in one room. Thankfully, we had wonderful hosts who gave us a place to stay every night when we returned from the UN. This allowed us to recuperate and work together to plan for the events of the next day. Our group became really close and I know that we have made connections for a lifetime. I would highly recommend to the other young people to get involved with Khmer-Krom Youth. They don’t necessarily have to go all the way to the UN in order to become an active member, all they have to do is ask questions and get answers from the elders, educate yourself about a variety of different subjects and when someone asks you about your roots, be proud and tell them that you are Khmer-Krom.

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REFLECTION ON UNPFII 2013, NEW YORK VICHET PICH By: Vichet Pich Hello everyone! My name is Vichet Pich. I am currently a resident of Calgary, Canada. I was born and raised in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and moved to Canada since 2006. Having the opportunity to be involved in the UNPFII in May 2013 was a highlight of my life. During my time there, I met incredible young talented and full of potential youths from all over the world and I never regret spending every single second with them. We created such a strong bond and connection amongst each other even in such a short amount of time. Coming from a non-Khmer-Krom family, I originally did not possess much knowledge about what was happening in Kampuchea-Krom. I did not really know that Khmer-Krom people have suffered so much over these decades without their voices being heard. Throughout the time I spent in New York and Philadelphia, I have read and heard many stories, specifically ones related to the violations of human rights back in KhmerKrom. Many people suffered through brutal violations of human rights including monks and were not even allowed to practice their own language and culture. Without a doubt, I started asking myself “WHY AM I HERE?“ I never wanted to be involved in politics at any level. Later, I came to realize I was part of the Human Rights Activists who fight and stand for those victims whose rights were violated. One thing that triggered and inspired me to become part of KKFYC were the tears that fell from the monks’ eyes while I was listening to their personal experiences of what they had gone through. As one of the youth from todays society, I consider myself as one of many who is very fortunate in having access to all my needs compared to others. In return, I usually put effort into trying to help others access theirs, specifically in this case, basic human rights. Even though, I do not have a lot of knowledge about the Khmer-Krom issues, I will try my best to learn more and help out by doing everything I can to make sure those victims whose voices were not heard will be acknowledged. In order to make that happen, I strongly encourage everyone single one of us to put some effort into helping each other out and making changes. Like a famous quote once said, “There are three types of people in this world: those who make things happen, those who watch things happen and those who wonder what happened” by Mary Kay Ash. It may take 1 to 2 years or even 10 years to make changes but as long as our forces combine, together anything can be possible.

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Discovering My Identity Through The Khmer-Krom Struggle By David Chau I grew up in a family that is heavily invested and passionate about the Khmer-Krom issues in Kampuchea Krom. That is why the last 3 years I have been studying at the University of Toronto, with a focus on a double major in International Development and International Relations because a big part of me wants to be able to make a difference for our people. As well I want to be able to work in an international setting in developing countries where I can help not just our people but everyone alike. However, I still did not know what my degree really entailed for my future, nor do I know what route I would want to take my career. When I was offered an opportunity by the Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation to attend the Twelfth United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues(UNPFII), which I quickly accepted right away. Being in New York was quite exciting but it was the UN that really opened my eyes. My experience at the UN showed me how the international realm of politics worked, how we can lobby against international governments, how to network, how to formulate proper speeches and how to function well as team. Every day was a new learning experience, I learned so much more about our issues and why we care so much. I was able to see that there were many people from different countries alike striving for the same goals. At first I was really timid to be in a room for delegates and representatives from over the word to discuss their issues, knowing that I would be speaking amongst them all. But overtime working with the Khmer-Krom team fueled my passion even further and helped me overcome that fear. It was inspiring to see elders and monks share their stories with so much emotion and how all of us can come from around the world for two weeks to speak and fight on behalf of our people in Kampuchea Krom. Being able to attend UNPFII allowed me to really understand who I was, what it meant to be Khmer-Krom and what I want out of myself and our people for the future. In the end we all formed a bond that would be everlasting and I look forward to working with my Khmer-Krom team next year.

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My Journey From The Refugee Camp to the UNPFII By Ra Thach First and foremost, I would like to thank the KKF for giving me the opportunity to attend the UNPFII. It was a privilege and honor to represent millions of the voiceless people of Kampuchea Krom. I was born and raised in Kampuchea Krom until the age of eleven. I left Kampuchea Krom in 1984 and then lived in Cambodia for a few months. My parents and I found our way to the refugee camp in Thailand. The refugee camp was our home for the next four years and then we came to the U.S. at the age of sixteen in 1988. In 2013, I had the opportunity to attended the U.N. I didn't know what to expect nor what to do at the U.N. However, what I did know before going to the U.N. was that, we the indigenous Khmer Kampuchea Krom people are facing a very difficult and complicated situation back home along the Mekong Delta, South Vietnam. Khmer Kampuchea Krom people have been living under the oppressive socialist/ communist government of Vietnam, for over a half a century. As a young boy growing up in Kampuchea Krom, I witnessed a lot of the mistreatment and abuse by the government of Vietnam toward Khmer-Krom people. This kind of mistreatment and abuse is out of place in today’s world. We as Khmer Kampuchea Krom will not tolerate any longer. The socialist communist government of Vietnam, must take full responsibility for their own actions. The terrible acts toward Khmer-Krom people must stop. Human rights is a right, not a privilege. After, I came back from the U.N. I'm became very inspired to help the millions of Khmer Kampuchea Krom even more. In closing, I would like to thank all the youths whom I have met and became friends with. I'm very proud of each and everyone of you. We as youths must unite and work together to achieve the ultimate goals for our Khmer Kampuchea Krom people, which is to have self determination. My sincere hope is to see all of you again next year. Sincerely, Ra T. Thach

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Sixth Session of Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Item 6: United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation Speaker : Catherine Kim Mr. Chairman: Vietnam was amongst a majority of countries who supported the adoption of UNDRIP in 2007. While we were encouraged by this move, we are now particularly concerned with the lack of progress towards the recognition of its indigenous peoples. It is almost six years and yet very few Khmer -Krom people know the existence of UNDRIP. Information regarding UNDRIP stops here at the UN and is not allowed to distribute to the peoples in Vietnam. We also would like to applaud Vietnam to announce its candidacy for the Human Rights Council for the term 2014-2016 on February 25, 2013. But with the latest news regarding to the religious oppression that Vietnamese authority just committed against the Khmer-Krom Buddhist monk made us very concerns about the statement that the Vietnamese Foreign Minister made in his announcement: “committed to active, constructive and responsible participation in the work of the Council.” On behalf of the Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation and the voiceless Khmer-Krom in Vietnam, I would like to suggest the following recommendations to the forum to: 

We request to the government of Vietnam to implement Article 12 of the UNDRIP to allow the Khmer-Krom to freely practice their religion. The Khmer-Krom people should be allowed to form their independence religious organization without interference. Lastly, Khmer-Krom people who are practicing their Theravada Buddhism live in a FEAR condition. Also the Theravada Buddhism is not just a religion, but it is part of our people’s unique cultural identity. Unfortunately,our people who are practicing our religion are under threatening. Vietnamese government forces our Buddhistmonks to join the Patriotic United Buddhist Association (PUBA) which is an association established by the government to control the way we practice our religion.

We demand to the government of Vietnam apply article 14 of the UNDRIP to find a remedy of the lack of education. Even though we have cases where this article is still not respected : “Venerable Ly Chanh Da, tried to open a Khmer language class in his temple.” and after that he had been unfairly arrested, detained and defrocked publicly.

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Item 6: United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples—continue And this case is a proof that the rights of full freedom of expression is not respected. 

We claim for article 25 of UNDRIP to be implemented by the government of Vietnam for indigenous Khmer-Krom peoples, as their nowadays human rights are violated regarding their confiscated farmlands

We urge the government of Vietnam to apply the article 27 of the UNDRIP to the Khmer-krom peoples, as it says that state have to recognize the Indigenous Peoples in its country. We call for the Vietnam government to permit us to ask for having our district and provinces name in our own mother tongue. In that way peoples would be aware of our existences in theses areas.

We strongly believe that the implementation of UNDRIP can only be fully achieved if all indigenous peoples are recognized by their governments. Thank You

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Twelfth Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues Item 3b: Education Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation Mr. Chairman and Distinguished Members of the Forum: Thank you for giving me an opportunity to speak at this forum. I would like to discuss the rights to education denied to the indigenous population of the Mekong Delta. Vietnam ranks number two in the world in exporting rice. Most of the rice is produced in Mekong Delta. The Indigenous Khmer-Krom people are farmers, but some of them do not have enough to eat because of the high cost of for farming. They are now the poorest people in their homeland. The poverty of the region affects the education of Khmer-Krom children. The Vietnamese government does not have a suitable educational program to help them to achieve the basic skill training. In recent years, the percentages of the Khmer-Krom students dropping out of school are alarming. In order to help their parents economically, juveniles leave the delta for large cities to find work. Without basic education, the Khmer-Krom children are forced to take menial position for little pay. For the past 8 years, the Khmer Kampuchea-Krom Federation has asked the government of Vietnam to provide education that is culturally appropriate for the Khmer-Krom children, yet our requests have consistently been ignored. This lack of action and motivation of the Vietnamese government is often the result of racist attitudes towards the indigenous Khmer-Krom. On behalf of the Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation and the voiceless Khmer-Krom in Vietnam, I would like to suggest the following recommendations to solve the inequality in education that has imposed on the Khmer-Krom Peoples:  Ask Vietnam to create a bilingual program for the Khmer-Krom children to learn both their native language and Vietnamese from Kindergarten in public school. The Khmer-Krom children have a hard time in their early education and later do not study well in school because they do not understand Vietnamese.  Ask Vietnam to implement the universal educational system where all children under the age of 15 must go to school.  Ask Vietnam to provide standard education to Khmer-Krom students at the Khmer-Krom Boarding Schools. The Khmer-Krom students should deserve the right to study the same educational standard as the Vietnamese public schools. Khmer-Krom students should have free access to Internet, study computers and English language programs.  Ask Vietnam to provide financial assistance to Khmer-Krom students to help them stay in school until finishing high school, or at least middle school.  Ask Vietnam to waive tuition for Khmer-Krom students in colleges and universities. With the recent increases in tuition, Vietnamese college and universities have become even less accessible to Khmer-Krom students.

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 Ask Vietnam to allow Khmer-Krom student to freely study the Khmer language. The Khmer language needs to be recognized as one of the official languages in Mekong Delta. All applications including forms, signs and legal documents should be written in both Khmer and Vietnamese.  Ask Vietnam to allow Khmer-Krom students to receive scholarships to study abroad. There are millions of Khmer-Krom people in Kampuchea-Krom, but very few hold a Master Degree or Ph.D. Vietnam has sent thousands of Vietnamese students to study abroad, especially in the United States, Canada, and Australia, but the Khmer-Krom students do not receive these benefits.  Ask the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and UNESCO to support the creation of Khmer language schools with culturally sensitive curriculum.  Ask the World Bank and UNESCO to help with funds to build local libraries and Khmer art museums so that the Khmer-Krom can learn about their own history and culture. 

Implore UNICEF and UNESCO to provide textbooks and reading books in the Khmer language.

 Urge UNDP and UNESCO to help open computer labs so that children can access learn how to use computers. Request the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to urge Vietnam to open up the restriction of forbidding the people of Vietnam to learn about International Law, especially the United Nations on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Thank You

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SEPTEMBER 2013 VOLUME 10

Twelfth Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues Item 3c: Culture Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation Speaker: Thivanada Julie Kim Mr. Chairman and Distinguished Members of the Forum: Thank you for giving me this opportunity to speak at this forum. I would like to discuss the cultural oppression that the Khmer-Krom people in the Mekong Delta face. On behalf of the Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation and the voiceless Khmer-Krom in Vietnam, I would like to suggest the following recommendations to the forum to: Ask Vietnam to allow Khmer-Krom to establish independent organizations to preserve and promote our Khmer-Krom culture. In addition, we ask Vietnam stop exploiting Khmer-Krom cultural events, such as boat racing and ox racing, in order to attract tourists. 

Ask Vietnam to allow the Khmer-Krom to freely organize cultural events without the need for permission and interference from the government.

Ask Vietnam to allow the Khmer-Krom to create an independent religious organization free from interference from the government.

Ask Vietnam to stop the encroachment and the destruction of our Khmer-Krom temples. These sacred monasteries are the roots of the Khmer-Krom heritage and culture: a place of learning, spirituality, traditions and communities. They have existed long before Vietnamese migration to Mekong Delta.

Ask Vietnam to implement the cultural program to educate the Vietnamese people about the importance of cultural respect. Recently, Vietnamese youths have beaten our Khmer-Krom Buddhist monks and cause them to be hospitalized. The Vietnamese authority does not take any serious action to help prevent these occurrences.

Ask Vietnam to allow the Khmer-Krom artists, such as singers and cultural dancers, to perform for the Khmer-Krom communities abroad.

Ask UNESCO to help preserve Khmer-Krom Ancient Towers that were built in the 8th and 9th century in Tay Ninh and Bac Lieu provinces.

Ask UNESCO to help improve the existing educational institution within Khmer-Krom temples. This includes the bilingual classes offered so that Khmer-Krom children can keep their cultural identity alive.

In order for the situation of this minority group to improve, the government of Vietnam must recognize Khmer-Krom as the indigenous peoples of the Mekong Delta. The Khmer-Krom people have lived in Mekong Delta since the first century A.D. Instead of acknowledging this fact, a false history is taught in public school.

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In addition, the Vietnamese government does not allow Khmer-Krom to name their villages, districts, and provinces by their traditional Khmer names. Khmer-Krom culture is deeply rooted in Theravada Buddhism. Though the Vietnamese government has allowed the Khmer-Krom people to continue their practice of Buddhism it is not a free worship. Instead of allowing traditional ceremonies to continue as before, Vietnam authority has enacted severe regulations in order to maintain control over the temples. Permission must first be granted by the Vietnamese authorities for all rituals to be practiced. The men must request permission to be ordained as Buddhist monks. The Khmer-Krom monk students in the Pali school in Soc Trang province must report wherever they go. They are not allowed going for asking for alms, even though it is one of the oldest aspects of Buddhism. In December 2011, Vietnam organized the Fifth Festival Culture, Sport and Tourist for Khmer-Krom to perform their traditional culture show and traditional sport in order to attract tourists into the region. Besides exploiting them for economic benefits, the Vietnamese government forces Khmer-Krom to perform a caricature of indigenous culture that is not based in tradition, but showmanship. They force the Khmer-Krom to sing songs of gratitude toward the Vietnamese government and the communist party. This is clearly a sign of oppression toward a culture. Mr. Chairman, for many years, we have asked Vietnam to have open dialog with our organization and consult freely our Khmer-Krom people back home so we can work together in a genuine partnership. Unfortunately, our requests are ignored. The recommendations that we ask for do not need millions of dollars of funding to execute, but can be implemented. These recommendations will help preserve the Khmer-Krom heritage and culture. Thank You

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YOUTH VOICES AND ACTIVITIES

SEPTEMBER 2013 VOLUME 10

Twelfth Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues Item 7a: Implementation of the UNDRIP Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation Speaker: Ra Thach Mr. Chairman and Distinguished Members of the Forum: Thanks for giving me an opportunity to speak at this forum regarding to the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Permanent Forum is an important and crucial space for the KhmerKrom, the indigenous peoples of the Mekong Delta, to make their voices heard. Unfortunately, our people back home continue to miss out on the opportunity to be active participants here at the Forum. On behalf of the Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation and the voiceless Khmer -Krom in Vietnam, I would like to suggest the following recommendations to the forum to: 

Urge Vietnam to recognize the Indigenous Peoples in its country, especially the Khmer-Krom who are the Indigenous Peoples of Mekong Delta, and stop label them as ethnic minority.

Urge Vietnam to invite the Special Rapporteur, Prof. James S. Anaya, to meet our people in Mekong Delta.

Urge Vietnam to allow the UNDRIP to be distributed freely in Vietnam so that the Indigenous Peoples in Vietnam could learn about their fundamental rights as enshrined in the UNDRIP.

Urge Vietnam to implement Article 12 of the UNDRIP to allow the Khmer-Krom to freely practice their religion. The Khmer-Krom people should be allowed to form their independence religious organization without interference.

Urge Vietnam to release Release Venerable Thach Thuol, Venerable Lieu Ny, Mr. Thach Phum Rich, Mr. Thach Tha, Mrs. Lam Thi Xang Lan, Mrs. Ly Thi Danh, Mrs. Ly Thi Sa Bon, immediately without conditions or harm.

Urge Vietnam to implement Article 16 of the UNDRIP to allow the Khmer-Krom to open independent media so they have a full freedom of expression.

Vietnam was amongst a majority of countries who supported the adoption of UNDRIP in 2007. While we were encouraged by this move, we are now particularly concerned with the lack of progress towards the recognition of its indigenous peoples. It is almost six years and yet very few Khmer-Krom people know the existence of UNDRIP. Information regarding UNDRIP stops here at the UN and is not allowed to distribute to the peoples in Vietnam.

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Item 7a: Implementation of the UNDRIP—continue The lack of recognition as Indigenous Peoples means that the Khmer-Krom in Mekong Delta continue to miss out on being active participants at conferences such as the Permanent Forum. Their human rights violations regarding confiscated farmlands, religious oppression, imprisonment without a fair trial, lack of education and poverty can only be heard through the voices of Indigenous Khmer-Krom Peoples living abroad who speak for the voiceless Khmer-Krom in Vietnam at the Forum. We applaud Vietnam to announce its candidacy for the Human Rights Council for the term 2014-2016 on February 25, 2013. But with the latest news regarding to the religious oppression that Vietnamese authority just committed against the Khmer-Krom Buddhist monk made us very concerns about the statement that the Vietnamese Foreign Minister made in his announcement: “committed to active, constructive and responsible participation in the work of the Council.” On May 16, 2013, the Vietnamese authority arrested and defrocked Venerable Ly Chanh Da in Soc Trang province. He was tortured and forced to confess allege crime on the Vietnamese television. The Vietnamese authority arrested three Khmer-Krom women because they do not want to see Ven. Ly Chanda Da to be defrocked injustice. On May 20, 2013, the Vietnamese authority arrested Venerable Lieu Ny, Venerable Thach Thuol, and two other Khmer-Krom civilians: Thach Phum Rich and Thach Tha. Their location and condition are unknown at this point. We strongly believe that the implementation of UNDRIP can only be fully achieved if all indigenous peoples are recognized by their governments. Thank You

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Twelfth Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues Item 8: Discussion on the Future Work Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation Speaker: David Chau Thank you Mr. Chair for giving us the opportunity to speak. The Khmer-Krom Federation wants to acknowledge the monumental work of the Permanent Forum to realize and promote indigenous peoples rights. The Permanent Forum helps bring to light the problems that indigenous people face, with respect to the core principles of the UDHR and UNDRIP, such as; interdependence, universality, indivisibility, equality and nondiscrimination, but most importantly, human rights. The Khmer-Krom Federation would like to offer 8 recommendations regarding future work of the Permanent forum: 1. We believe Free, Prior and Informed Consent must be at the core of the process for the PFII. We are concerned for Indigenous Peoples such as Khmer-Krom peoples of the Mekong Delta in Vietnam, where the government does not recognize the indigenous identity on their own homelands. We recommend that the PFII offers a solution for indigenous peoples who are not officially recognized by their governments as indigenous. 2. We recommend that the PFII facilitates an open dialogue between indigenous peoples and their respective governments. We believe the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples studies be the basis for moving forward to realize the rights in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. 3. We note that a rights-based approach is necessary for the work of the PFII to focus on social justice and sustainable development. Also, indigenous peoples must be included as equal partners in the process and most importantly the follow-up initiatives based on the recommendations adopted annually. 4. We recommend that the PFII takes a proactive role in regards to the mitigation and adaptation of climate change and environmental impacts and concerns that can affect the lives of indigenous peoples. Therefore, Indigenous peoples must actively be involved in the creation of the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals. 5. We recommend that the PFII encourage governments to create mechanisms which will allow indigenous peoples to present their issues at the national, regional and global levels. Furthermore, to create a mechanism that will allow follow-ups to resolutions garnered from previous discussions to the realization of rights in our respective homeland such as the Mekong Delta. 6. We also echo the statements made by our indigenous brothers and sisters for the inclusion of indigenous spirituality previously noted in the discussions of the WCIP. Our spiritual leaders play a prominent role in our communities. Just last week our monks from Kampuchea Krom, Venerable Thach Thoul and Lieu Ny, were unfortunately arrested for attempting to realize the rights enshrined in the UNDRIP.

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7. We recommend close work with UN specialize agencies such as UNICEF to provide access to education and bilingual teaching, to allow indigenous youth to speak their mother tongue. 8. We are pleased with yesterday’s statement by Mexico to host a meeting in the dawn of 2014. We hope to be included in such a summit. As indigenous peoples whose indigenous identity is not recognized by the government, we are often ignored at international meetings. The Kampuchea Khmer-Krom can be active partners and share firsthand information from the frontlines on the protection of human rights as equal partners. In conclusion, we believe the results of the Permanent Forum are actions oriented and have an impact for indigenous peoples in our homelands. The Permanent Forum must have meaning for Khmer-Krom in Kampuchea Krom providing a framework that will see realization of rights in the UNDRIP. Thank you Mr. Chairman

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Twelfth Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues Item 8: Future work of the Permanent Forum Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation Speaker: Retty Danh Since the third UNPFII in 2004 we, the Khmer-Krom Federation, have asked for the Vietnamese government to recognize the Khmer-Krom people as indigenous people; however, they have not yet acknowledged the existence of the Khmer-Krom people. On behalf of the Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation and the voiceless Khmer-Krom in Vietnam, We would like to suggest the following recommendations to the forum to: 1. Urge Vietnam to release Venerable Thach Thuol, Venerable Lieu NY, Mr. Thach Phum Rich, Mr. Thach Tha, Mrs. Lam Thi Xang LAN, Mrs. Ly Thi Danh, Mrs. Ly Thi SA Bon, immediately without conditions or harm. 2. We ask for the Vietnam Government to treat with humanity Venerable Lieu Ny and Venerable Thach Thuol instead of by forcing their confession of alleged crimes that Vietnam accuses them such as Vietnam did to Ven Ly Chanh Da at the Prey Chop temple. 3. Ask Vietnam to allow the monks to educate Khmer-Krom students to freely study the Khmer language. The Khmer language needs to be recognized as one of the official languages in Mekong Delta. All applications, including forms, signs and legal documents should be written in both Khmer and Vietnamese. 4. We recommend an arrangement for an open dialogue between indigenous peoples and their respective governments. We believe the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples studies be the basis for moving forward to realize the rights in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. 5. We would like that the Vietnamese government implement a protection of the sustainable issues of the Khmer-Krom people who care about their ancestral land and depend on this land. 6. We would like the Vietnamese government to give access to education to more children in primary and secondary school in bilingual teaching (indigenous tongue and Vietnamese tongue) . 7. We would like that Vietnamese government implement health facilities to better educate people to prevent HIV/AID in the Mekong delta area and in the other area where other indigenous people acquire. 8. We would like that the Vietnamese government to permit equal rights between women, children and elders especially to its indigenous and unrecognized minorities. 9. Global partnerships for development should include the participation of Khmer-Krom people in Vietnam, and at the regional, and international level. We thank you mister chairman for allowing us to voice our concerns and offer a recommendations. We extend the hand of friendship and respect to those willing to enter into dialogue with us. We hope that 2013 marks the year that fruitful collaboration commences so that we find ourselves in a different position at the 12th session this year of the permanent forum indigenous issues. WWW.KKFYC.ORG

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Facebook photo courtesy of Boros Lakkloun

KHMER-KROM ARTS & CULTURE

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KHMER ARTS AND CULTURE

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What We Can Do As Youth To Help Preserve Our Cultural Heritage and Values By Kim Veasna In this world, every country has their own unique culture and values. Culture is very important to each area; without culture or values there would be no meaning of life - culture is the beauty of living things on Earth that make us unique and different from each other. Khmer culture in general is very important and very strict to certain ways but also unique as well. Being Khmer or Khmer-Krom children, it is our role and responsibility as a young generation to help save our heritage and cultural values. Know your identity, where your background is from and understand your own history. We need to learn how to speak our language fluently, know how to read and write in Khmer. Secondly, understand and know your communities and culture; understanding that every province has its own unique “tumlneap tumlop”. It’s important that we know how and when to celebrate special festivals such as bon chol chnam, bon ork ombok, sompeas preah khe, etc. Third, we need to help preserve our religion by practicing our Theravada form of Buddhism by going to the temple celebrate in order to keep it alive. Finally, we should know and understand what we have in Khmer arts such as traditional dance, singing, sculpture,theater, and etc. If every one of us learned and understand more about our history and know how important our culture, language, heritage,art, and religion are, we would become great role models for our country and surrounding countries as well. I would advise to get involved in your community or participate in a show where you can go and show the world about our the Khmer culture. That's how we can expose ourselves to the world. For the youths like us that are living overseas, it’s very important that all of us get involved in doing more research and participating in doing a project about our histories such as cultures, religion, arts, literacy and etc... to get more knowledge so that we have the confidence to tell the world that we are Khmer-Krom and that we are the indigenous people. We could express that our people are living under fear and that our culture is becoming less and less important everyday due to the oppression by the Vietnamese government. I am an active Khmer-krom youth from Tuol Ta Mot (Binh Phuoc) province, I currently live in the United States but have been involved with my villagers back home by helping and teaching them to know and understanding our role as a Khmer-krom children. I went back home recently by going around to meet a couple of the youths in order to explain how important our cultures is. I explained how they can help to preserve and get involved in their communities. During my free time, I help khmeng lok students learn English and spend 5 or 10 minutes talking about our history because that's the only opportunity I have. It is a very little time but it makes a different in their lives because they become so surprised and eager to know who are we, why we here, and what is our identity. It is very astonish-

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ing to see how the children react to it. I feel very warm and welcomed by those wonderful smiles and laughs from the students at the Wat Phumthom temple from Tuol Ta Mot. It’s very touching to see the young children try so hard to learn our language. I have plan to donate a laptop to each and every students who have finish 12 grades and (who are) entering college, and yes they very excited. It makes me smile when some of them came up to me to show their hands by counting how many more years left they have before going to college so they can have a laptop. This is a technique that encourages them. Laptops do not cost much. I have sponsored a couple of laptops to those who have already entered college. This money is not just from me but from our supporters who I have seeked and asked for help from our Khmer people who live overseas. For us, it is not a big deal but for them its a big differences in their lives. I want to change their lives and see them have a view of the real world like us. My vision is to see Khmer-krom children learn how to read and write our own language, our own history and how important it is to know what is their identity is. My other project is working with Khmer arts. I have supported and sponsored 8 robam girls ages from 8-13 teaching them how to dance robam. This is in order to show when there is a special festival such as New Years. This shows the world that our culture is still important and valuable to us. Recently, I just started another group of chayam and music playing instruments “pleng pin piet”. They are finished and are now starting to teach more young boys and girls. I have connected with a friend from Preah Tropaeng monks who helped me find a teacher to teaching chayam. They are so committed that took away their valuable time in order to come help my students for free while driving 8 hours from Travinh to Tuol Ta Mot. I am so thankful for our oversea supporters. To the monks and the teachers for their help, I thank you. I call and check on them a couple times a month.That's how we can get involved and make the difference in our communities. Stay connected, get involved, and sacrifice a bit of your little time.

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SPECIAL THANKS FROM KKFYC

SEPTEMBER 2013 VOLUME 10

On behalf of the Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation Youth Committee, we would like to say thank you for everyone who helped make the 7th Annual KKFYC conference in Philadelphia a major success this year. Held on the weekend between the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the KKFYC youth conference provided a unique opportunity for Khmer and Khmer-Krom youth to reconnect with one another and rediscover their roots and identity. More importantly it allowed us ignite an important sense of duty as a human right defender to help our people who suffer gross human rights and religious freedom abuse at the hands of the Vietnam government. The theme of Idle No More was fitting for this year conference for the urgency of our human rights fight was felt more keenly than ever with the situation of the Venerable Lieu Ny, Thach Thuol, Ly Chanh Da and laymen, Thach Phum Rich, and Thach Tha who were captured in Khleang just days before the youth conference. It was enriching and emotional experience for many of the participants that attended. We had some great and inspiring speakers. In particular, the heart wrenching testimony of Venerable Danh Tol brought tears to everyone in the room when he spoke of his capture in 2007 for participating in a peaceful demonstration in Khleang province. His appeal and humble gratitude of everyone’s action to try and help the three monks and laymen highlighted the urgency and need for more hands to continue the human rights work. We would like say thank you for our elders for their unrelenting support and dedication to teaching us why its important to know who we are and more importantly provide the moral and financial support for us to continue the fight for our people. Thank you so much for your patience, your time and your generous donations to help fund our activities at the local and international level. We are the next generation but you are the example that we see and follow. Your unity as elders and community leaders makes us feel that anything and everything is possible for Khmer-Krom if we stand together. Our sincere thanks to everyone who contribute to the KKFYC Fund can be found @http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=t6HVEtIJta4.

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Vietnam Must Release Khmer-Krom Buddhist Monks and Followers NOW! WWW.KKFYC.ORG

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KK Youth Magazine Sep 2013