Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Racial Discrimination against Khmer-Krom Mentioned at the 80th Session of CERD in Geneva

The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) considered the Vietnam’s report regarding to the elimination of racial discrimination in Vietnam from 20-22 February 2012 in Geneva.
Vietnam submitted a 30 pages report trying to impress how good Vietnam has implemented the elimination of racial discrimination in Vietnam. Vietnam keeps singing the same old song that Vietnam has always promoted and protected the basic rights of the so called “minority people” in Vietnam. Thus, according to Vietnam’s report, there is no racial discrimination in Vietnam.
To unveil the truth, KKF submitted a 10 pages shadow report to the CERD.
KKF delegation also attended the 80th session of CERD in Geneva. On 20 February 2012, the KKF President, Mr. Thach N. Thach delivered a five minute speech to the CERD committee at the Pre-Session. His speech emphasized the main issues that the Indigenous Khmer-Krom Peoples are facing:
  • Right to preserve the Khmer-Krom Identity as the Indigenous Peoples of Mekong Delta.
  • Right to represent and defend in front of the Vietnamese legal system.
  • Rights to freely practice the Khmer-Krom Theravada Buddhism.
Mr. Thach had clearly explained and answered all the questions that the expert members of the CERD commission concerned.
From 21-22 February 2012, the members of the CERD commission started questioning Vietnam about its report. Vietnam used to denying the existent of the Indigenous Peoples in Vietnam at UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York and at the EMRIP in Geneva. But this time, the experts of the CERD commission had nailed Vietnam delegation to the point that the Indigenous Peoples, such as the Khmer-Krom, the Montagnard, have lived on their ancestral land long before the arrival of the Kinh (Vietnamese). The Vietnam delegation had no way to deny the truth and used a tactic explanation that “the term indigenous was negative, as those people were characterized as poor and belonged to the lower class of society” and promised that when they will go back and look into this issue for recognizing the term Indigenous Peoples or not (even Vietnam adopted the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2007).
The report that Vietnam presented to the CERD is not easy to convince the UN experts. A country that is running by a single communist party already says everything that Vietnam does not have a basic freedom for the people to vote for their own party and leaders. Without having the free speech, how can Vietnam convince people that there is no racial discrimination in Vietnam? Thus, it is time for Vietnam to accepting the truth and makes a positive change to becoming a respective country in protecting and promoting basic human rights. Originally posted at: khmerkrom.net