Cambodian Government Must Not Ignore the Khmer Krom
Letter to the Editor
The Cambodia Daily
Thursday, June 8, 2006

I was greatly saddened by a comment made by a government official in the story “Khmer Krom Mark 57 Years Since VN Handover”(Monday, page 11).
More than 3,000 people turned out to mark the 57th anniversary of the 1949 loss of Kampuchea Krom.

The commemoration inspired great hope and dreams, but I was shocked and almost burst into tears by the comments of one government official who said that the rally and the expressed demands “will make the Vietnamese government put further pressure on Khmer Kampuchea Krom.”

I am not sure of the meaning of this comment and whether it was intended to discourage any demands by the Khmer Krom community or does it mean that any activity including this peaceful assembly will result in further pressure from Hanoi?

I should take this time to reflect on the fact that many monks and ordinary people have been physically and mentally persecuted and ill-treated by the Vietnamese authority, which prompted many of them to flee to Cambodia.
Here they hoped they would be recognized as Khmer, but unfortunately they have been denied.

[While I feel great pain over the historical loss of Khmer Kampuchea Krom territory…I am even more saddened by our current government ignoring the situation.]

While I feel great pain over the historical loss of Khmer Kampuchea Krom territory, which was conceded to Vietnam by colonial France, I am even more saddened by our current government ignoring the situation.

It is indeed a very sad irony that the government is very inactive in resolving this controversy while it is as the same time proactive in discouraging Khmer Krom, whose very blood they share, from exercising their rights.

Vong Socheata,
Phnom Penh