A prominent Khmer Krom advocacy federation will hold a demonstration outside the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Wednesday to protest the “unjust” sentencing of two Khmer Krom monks and six followers to between 10 months and six years in prison last September in Vietnam.
The Khmers Kampuchea Krom Federation say the protest will be held due to the failure of the Cambodian government to intervene. Those jailed in Vietnam were found guilty of acts associated with protesting their rights situation, refusing to follow orders from the Buddhist hierarchy, attempting to flee the country for their safety, and trying to hold Khmer-language classes at their pagodas.
“We are hopeless locally, that’s why we are seeking intervention from outside,” said Souen Yeoung, executive director at a local Khmer Krom advocacy group supporting the protest.
In a statement last week, the foreign affairs ministry responded to a request for intervention by stating that: “Khmer Krom living in Vietnam are Vietnamese and are under the control of Vietnam.”
The Vietnamese government has long been criticised for failing to protect the rights of the Khmer Krom and clamping down on dissent with imprisonment.