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Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation (KKF) and Degar Foundation at the U.S. Capital, Washington D.C.

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From left: Mr. Tran Mannrinh, Mr. Tran Giap, Mr. Kok Ksor (President of Degar Foundation) and Mr. Duong Hoang

After becoming a member of WTO in 2007, the Vietnamese government has systematically and tactically used the so-called “National Security Laws” to oppress the human rights advocates, especially the Khmer-Krom (Indigenous Peoples of Mekong Delta) and Degar (Indigenous Peoples of Central Highlands), people who advocate for the freedom of expression, association, and land rights. In recent years, the Khmer-Krom and Degar advocates were summoned to interrogate and facing imprisonment. Some of them had to escape to Thailand seeking for refugee status with the UNHCR in Bangkok.

On September 11, 2012, the Vietnam Human Rights Act of 2012 was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives. “This bill prohibits any increase in non-humanitarian assistance to the Government of Vietnam above Fiscal Year 2011 levels unless the government makes substantial progress in establishing a democracy and promoting human rights.”

On September 27, 2012, a delegation of KKF and Degar Foundation visited the U.S. Capital to advocate for the fundamental rights of the Khmer-Krom and the Degar who are the indigenous peoples of Mekong Delta and the Central Highlands. In this trip, the delegation met the U.S. Congressman Honorable Frank R. Wolf at the office Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission. At the U.S. Department of State, the delegation met the Officer of the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, and Foreign Affair Officer of International Religious Freedom.

The representatives of the delegation had a chance to hand the human rights documents against the Khmer-Krom and the Degar people and urged the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs and U.S. Department of State to immediately urge Vietnam to allow the Khmer-Krom and Degar people to have the basic human rights as enshrined in the International Laws and Treaties that Vietnam ratified.