The Last Phase of the Vietnamization of Cambodia, Unchallenged by the World Community sign now

April 23, 2009

The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

On behalf of all the undersigned, consisting of Cambodian-Americans, Cambodians from countries abroad, namely: France, Canada, Australia, England, to name a few, Cambodian people who are living in Cambodia proper and more important, the indigenous Cambodian people living in southern Vietnam, known as Kampuchea Krom, I respectfully request your urgent intervention in investigating the persistent news regarding a concerted effort by the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (SRV) government to suppress the identity including religion, culture, and land holding of the Cambodian people both in Kampuchea Krom and in Cambodia proper.

A glaring example of this centuries-old practice of genocide (defined by the 1948 Geneva Convention on Genocide; attachment No.2) committed by SRV against the Khmer Krom people can be seen through the Vietnamese governments intentional under-recorded number of the Khmer-Krom population in Vietnam. While most international NGOs report between 7 to 11 million Khmer-Krom minorities living in Vietnam, the Vietnamese government official record disclosed only 900,000. We request your assistance in demanding the Government of the SRV to provide official clarification of the large discrepancy in these census numbers. The large discrepancy between these two numbers of the estimated population of the Khmer Krom implies the suppression of the identity of these Khmer Krom people, which in turn, infers the gross violation of human rights or even a genocide act.

In Vietnam, Khmer Krom people are constantly harassed and persecuted spiritually, mentally, and physically and are forced to endure all kinds of abuses by the Vietnamese authorities as described by Representative Christopher Smith (and co-sponsored by your Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel) in the Vietnam Human Rights Act of 2007 (HR 3096 rfs) and by the report of a German Human Rights Advocate, Rebecca Sommer (please see the attached video clip titled, Eliminated Without Bleeding attachment No.3a; Huffington Post: Khmer Krom in Southern Vietnam Face Oppression from Hanoi Regime, attachment No.3b). These atrocities committed by the SRV against the Khmer Krom people are so overwhelming in South Vietnam that more and more of the people are forced to flee their ancestral land in Vietnam and move to Cambodia or Thailand. Unfortunately, while the government of Hun Sen prohibits Khmer Krom access to Cambodia and persecutes those found, it openly accommodates all illegal Vietnamese immigrants into the country. Ambassador K.L. Bindra, a former Chairman and Secretary General (1964-67) of the International Commission for Supervision and Control (ICSC), found over 4.5 million Vietnamese immigrants in Cambodia in 2005 (attachment No.6).

In Cambodia, Khmer Krom people who fled Vietnam usually faced harassments, forced and arbitrary deportation back to Vietnam, or severe punishment including execution depending on how outspoken or active they are in exposing the constant wholesale mistreatment taken by the SRV government against their compatriots. Many end up as destitute refugees and in precarious conditions in Thailand.

Recently, local NGOs and international NGOs like Human Right Watch, under the leadership of Mr. Brad Adams, and the European Union (EU) report on the genocide committed by the SRV government against the Khmer Krom people. Mr. Brad Adams gave a detailed account on all the atrocities and urged the world community to take strong measures against the SRV government to stop persecuting the Khmer Krom people. The European Union attempted to send a delegation to visit the region in South Vietnam where these criminal activities have been reported to take place only to be refused entry into Vietnam without any explanations.

Another glaring example of the abuse of power by the SRV government through Hun Sen government is the case of Venerable Tim Sakhorn, an outspoken Khmer Krom monk who disappeared in Phnom Penh in 2007, with some reports stating that he was crammed into a Toyota by unidentified assailants. He resurfaced in Vietnam, was charged with violating national unity, using the 1979 so-called Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Cooperation (drawn under duress when Vietnam invaded Cambodia in 1978). The Vietnamese government illegally put him under house arrest in Vietnam for nearly two years, stripped off his Cambodian identity and made him a Vietnamese again. Only under the pressure from the EU, is he now allowed to temporary return to visit his family in Cambodia, under a Vietnamese passport with a visa that is only valid until April 17, 2009. I want to stay with my father and my brother in my home town and farm the land, he said during his interview. However, the latest news on April 14, 2009 indicate that Ven. Tim Sakhorn, with his life in jeopardy, fled to Thailand where he seeks refugee status to escape from being eliminated by the government of Cambodia, by request of Vietnam, in his own country.

Country representative of the UNs Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Christophe Peschoux, maintains that, Being a Cambodian national, Tim Sakhorn should be able to remain in Cambodia if he wishes so, and his citizens right and safety should be protected by the Royal government.

The Ven. Tim Sakhorn is Cambodian, born in 1968 at Swai-Ton (Tri Ton) district, Moth-Chrouk (Chau Doc) province, in Kampuchea Krom (South Vietnam). His family could not stand the oppression of the Vietnamese government, so in 1979 they escaped their lovely ancestral homeland to Phnom-Den village, Karivong district, Takeo province, Cambodia where they remained since. He was a full Cambodian citizen by the time he was kidnapped, defrocked, and secretly deported to Vietnam. His deportation to Vietnam was qualified by the OHCHR as a prima facie violation.

Mr. Brad Adams, Asia director of Human Rights Watch, described Ven. Tim Sakhorns condition in Vietnam in the past year as one of illegal house arrest and the Cambodian government should abide by the [1951 UN] Refugee Convention by not deporting people to countries where they have a well-founded fear of persecution. Furthermore, Mr. Adams asserted Cambodian government and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees should provide protection to Khmer Krom fleeing persecution in Vietnam, allowing them to seek asylum in Cambodia if they want.

The arrest of Tim Sakhorn illustrates on the whole that Vietnam will not tolerate any protest by Cambodia, however benign it may be. Vietnam uses its carefully crafted 1979 Treaty of Peace, Friendship, and Cooperation as a powerful weapon to suppress and eliminate opposition. More precisely and dangerously, Vietnam unilaterally reserves the right to intervene militarily by invading Cambodia, again, should Hun Sens absolute rule be under any real threat of being toppled by the opposition. Ironically, one can also infer that Hun Sen will allow the opposition to be operating, so long as the opposition is not operationally effective. It is a showcase that allows Hun Sen to claim that he is in favor of democracy by allowing opposition parties to operate within the parliamentary system, under Hun Sens full control.

Hun Sen and his CPP party are fully subservient to the Socialist Vietnamese authority and its long-term plan to bring Cambodia under the full control of SRV in realizing Ho Chi Minhs dream of creating an Indochina Federation. The United States and all democratic countries in the world cannot close their eyes on this total aggression against Cambodia and her people. Cambodia would soon disappear from the map of the world as Champa, which used to be located in Central Vietnam, did only two and a half centuries ago.

A sense of urgency (if consciousness and democratic principles alone are not sufficient motivation) is needed for the free world to intervene on behalf of all innocent and oppressed people of Cambodia. A powerful testimony of a Cambodian nation spiraling into its final phase of destruction at the hands of its own government is given by an impartial intellectual witness Joel Brinkley, a former Foreign Affairs Correspondent for The New York Times and a Professor of Journalism at Stanford University. His research is captured in the March/April 2009 issue of Foreign Affairs, an article entitled Cambodias Curse: Struggling to Shed the Khmer Rouges Legacy. More than one-third of the country lives on less than $1 a day; the corrupt government is kicking people out into the street, torching their homes, seizing their land, stealing money (between $300 to $500 million stolen a year) intended for aid programs for the poor given by NGOs and major donors all these things and more while Hun Sen is building himself yet another mansion with a heliport on the roof. We want to emphasize that these things are happening in present time, and represent a pattern of corruption that follows the historical accounts which we have included in this petition to understand the background (please see attachment No.1).

The ultimate purpose of our petition is to ask you, Mr. President, to investigate these reports and verify whether the information from these reports represent a true and accurate situation of the several million of Khmer Krom people who are now -- in the words of Rebecca Sommer, a German human rights advocate, -- being Eliminated without Bleeding by the SRV. If it is a correct and true reporting of the plight of the Khmer Krom by the SRV government, we respectfully request that you would kindly make all efforts to intervene to stop not only the Vietnamese from committing atrocities, but also to ask the Hun Sen government to stop committing all these crimes to serve the interests of Vietnam and to the detriment of Cambodia and her people. Finally, we would like to see your administration exert pressure on the Cambodian government under Hun Sen to allow all Khmer Krom from South Vietnam to enter Cambodia freely as Cambodian citizens.

Sincerely,
(The Undersigned)

Contact persons:
1- Naranhkiri Tith, Ph.D. (202) 466-3376 [email protected]
2- Kal Man (503) 641-6310 [email protected]
3- Veronica C. Ngi [email protected]
4- Saron Khut [email protected]


Attachments:
1 - Joel Brinkley (Foreign Affairs Magazine, March/April, 2009)
2 - 1948 Geneva Convention on Genocide (United Nations)
3- Rebecca Sommer:
a- Eliminated without Bleeding video (web link http://rebeccasommer.org/documentaries/Khmer-Krom/index.php)
b- Khmer Krom in Southern Vietnam Face Oppression from Hanoi Regime, (Huffington News Network, March, 2007)
4 - Time of Reckoning for Khmer Krom (The Phnom Penh Post: Wednesday, February 25, 2009)
5 - Dissident to Seek Residence (The Phnom Penh Post, Wednesday, 08 April, 2009)
6 - Report of Ambassador K. L. Bindra
CC
Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton
EU Parliament
United Nations
Asia Director Human Rights Watch, Brad Adams
Rebecca Sommer
Christophe Peschoux, OHCHR
Chairman, US Senate Foreign Affairs Committee
Chairman, US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee
White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel
President, Khmer Kampuchea Krom Federation (KKKF)
United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.
President of France Nicolas Sarkozy
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain Gordon Brown
Prime Minister of Australia Kevin Rudd
Prime Minister of New Zealand John Key
Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper
Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel
Prime Minister of Japan Taro Aso
Prime Minister of China Wen Jiabao
Prime Minister of India Dr. Manmohan Singh
Secretary-General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Surin Pitsuwan
Phnom Penh Post
Cambodia Daily

Petition deadline: May 15, 2009

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United States President, Barack Obama

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