Rep of the Khmer Kampuchea Krom community in the United States met with officials at the US State Department to report on rights violations of ethnic Khmer living in Vietnam
- From: Chim <ChimS1@xxxxxxx>
- Date: Thu, 28 May 2009 22:06:04 -0700 (PDT)
Khmer Krom Group Meets With US State Officials
By Men Kimseng, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
28 May 2009
Representatives of the Khmer Kampuchea Krom community in the United
States met Tuesday with officials at the US State Department Wednesday
to report on rights violations of ethnic Khmer living in southern
The group is also seeking intervention for a number of refugees,
including Tim Sakorn, the former head monk of a Takeo province pagoda
who has fled to Thailand after being forcibly defrocked in Cambodia
and jailed in Vietnam.
Many Cambodians still refer to the Mekong Delta of southern Vietnam as
Kampuchea Krom, or Lower Cambodia, which once belonged to a former
“We informed [the State Department] that Buddhism in Kampuchea Krom is
being controlled by the Vietnamese government, and we want its
independence from this communist control,” Thach Ngoc Thach, president
of the Khmer Kampuchea Krom Federation told VOA Khmer after the
The group also discussed “land eviction by the government via sending
Khmer Krom people away and replacing them with the Vietnamese…and
refugees in Thailand now being taken care of by the UN High
Commissioner for Refugee so that they can be resettled to the US once
they pass the interview,” he said.
Thach Ngoc Thach added that the meeting also discussed how to
encourage Khmer Krom students from poor families to have better
chances to study overseas.
No official at the State Department was available for comment about
the meeting on Wednesday.
Former monk Tim Sakhorn is now living under UN protection in Thailand.
His application to resettle in a third country, possibly the United
State, is being processed and the result is expected in June 20, he
said by phone from Bangkok.
Tim Sakhorn fled to Thailand earlier this year. He spent nearly one
year in a Vietnamese jail after he was defrocked in Takeo province,
for allegedly fomenting unrest between the two countries.
He spent time in Cambodia in April to attend a death ceremony for his
mother, but refuses to return to Vietnam, where he claims he is under
constant surveillance and virtual house arrest.
“I would like to make an appeal to international organizations and
UNHCR to please process my case as soon as possible so that I can get
away from fear and live in peace,” he said by phone. “This is the same
with many Khmer Krom people and monks who have escaped from Cambodia
to stay here. There are a number of them and they live in fear, so
please process their cases as soon as possible.”
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