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Rights groups push for Khmer Krom ID cards

Khmer Krom monks gather at a Chroy Changvar pagoda in Phnom Penh last year for a ceremony.
Khmer Krom monks gather at a Chroy Changvar pagoda in Phnom Penh last year for a ceremony.

Rights groups push for Khmer Krom ID cards

Two minority rights organisations have asked the Ministry of Interior to ensure its officials issue national identity cards to Khmer Krom, who they say are facing discrimination from provincial officials.

Indigenous Khmer from southern Vietnam, the Krom have long had issues getting identity cards given that authorities either identify them as Vietnamese or they lack permanent addresses in Cambodia.

The letter, submitted yesterday by the Minority Rights Organisation and Khmer Kampuchea Krom for Human Rights and Development Association, notes that Khmer Krom living in certain provinces, such as Kampong Chhnang and Siem Reap, have been denied renewal of their ID cards by authorities, and asks for an approval letter from the ministry.

“Please, [Interior Minister Sar Kheng] look into the issue and announce or order local authorities to create identity cards for them,” the letter reads.

Seun Chumsothun, director for human rights at the Krom group, said many of these families had been in Cambodia for years but still faced discrimination. “The identity card is very important to show that they are living legally in Cambodia,” he said. “But authorities regard the Khmer Krom as immigrants and discriminate against them.”

The Interior Ministry asked the group to deliver the letter to the general department of identification. Its director, Mao Chandara, said the Khmer Krom are entitled to identity cards as long as they produced an old identity card and birth certificate.

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