KKF reports about Khmer Krom issues to Australian Government

From May 20 to May 30, 2017, the KKF delegation from the United States, led by Mr. Moni Mau, KKF Vice-President, Venerable Ratana Yeong, Director of Information, Dr. Joshua Cooper, and KKF Senior Advisor went visit the KKF chapters in Australia to update the members about KKF’s activities and goals. Importantly, on May 26, the delegation from the US and Mr. KimBen Lim from Melbourne went to meet the representatives of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) of Australia in Canberra.

KKF Delegation with Dr. Lachlan Strahan at the NGO Debrief on Australia-Vietnam Human Rights Dialogue

KKF Delegation with Dr. Lachlan Strahan at the NGO Debrief on Australia-Vietnam Human Rights Dialogue

After the meeting, the KKF delegation had enough information to help the KKF chapter in Sydney to prepare participating with the CSO Consultation and Follow-up Meeting with DFAT on the 14th Australia-Vietnam Human Rights Dialogue.

The Australia-Vietnam human rights dialogue was first held in Hanoi in 2002. The human rights dialogues are held alternatively in either Canberra (Australia) or Hanoi (Vietnam).

This year, the 14th Australia-Vietnam Human Rights Dialogue was held in Canberra, Australia on August 10, 2017.

Before the dialogue, DFAT held a consultation with the Civil Society Organizations (CSO) on July 12, 2017. The KKF was invited to participate in this important consultation before the 14th Australia-Vietnam Human Rights Dialogue. Mr. Thanh Tan Ly, the President of KKF Chapter in Sydney, Australia, led the KKF delegation (Mr. Sarinh Suos, Ms. Nga T. Tran, Miss Kacey Donnelly, Miss Kimkatriny Suos) to participate this consultation.

KKF Delegation in front of DFAT (from left: Miss Kimkatriny Suos, Mrs. Nga T. Tran, and Mr. Thanh Tan Ly)

KKF Delegation in front of DFAT (from left: Miss Kimkatriny Suos, Mrs. Nga T. Tran, and Mr. Thanh Tan Ly)

Represented by KKF delegation, Miss Kimkatriny delivered a statement raising the concerns regarding the human rights violations that the voiceless Khmer-Krom peoples in Mekong Delta are facing. Her statement was well received by the audiences. KKF also submitted the written report prior to the Dialogue including the latest human rights violations against Khmer-Krom who are the indigenous peoples of the Mekong Delta.

After the Human Rights Dialogue with Vietnam on August 10, 2017, in Canberra, the Australia government released a statement: http://dfat.gov.au/news/media-releases/Pages/14th-australia-vietnam-human-rights-dialogue.aspx

The KKF was invited to attend a follow-up meeting with Dr. Lachlan Strahan, First Assistant Secretary, Multilateral Policy Division, who was the Australia’s head of the delegation of the Australia-Vietnam Human Rights Dialogue, on September 1, 2017. Mr. Thanh Tan Ly led the KKF delegation (Ms. Nga T. Tran, Miss Kimkatriny) to attend this follow-up meeting.

KKF Delegation at the DFAT Campus (From left, Miss Kacey Donnelly, Mr. Thanh Tan Ly, Mr. Sarinh Suos, Miss Kimkatriny Suos, Ms. Nga T. Tran)

KKF Delegation at the DFAT Campus (From left, Miss Kacey Donnelly, Mr. Thanh Tan Ly, Mr. Sarinh Suos, Miss Kimkatriny Suos, Ms. Nga T. Tran)

During the meeting, the KKF representatives had chances to ask questions and raising their concerns to the meeting, especially to Dr. Lachlan Strahan. As the citizen of the Australia, the KKF representatives sincerely expressed their compassion that they still care for their families and friends living in a situation where their dignity is denied on their own ancestral homeland, Kampuchea-Krom.

KKF once again had successfully brought the human rights violations against the voiceless Khmer-Krom in Kampuchea-Krom to the attention of the Australia government. Participating with the CSO consultation and follow-up meeting with DFAT is the first step to the idea on how to continue the candid conversation to make a difference in daily lives of people in Mekong Delta.

KKF Delegation at the meeting room of the CSO consultation (from left, Mr. Thanh Tan Ly, Ms. Nga T. Tran, Miss Kimkatriny Suos, and Mr. Sarinh Suos)

KKF Delegation at the meeting room of the CSO consultation (from left, Mr. Thanh Tan Ly, Ms. Nga T. Tran, Miss Kimkatriny Suos, and Mr. Sarinh Suos)

Besides bringing up the human rights violations against the voiceless Khmer-Krom by the Vietnamese government, the KKF chapter in Australia will try their best to ensure that the Australia’s aid program, such as the Official Development Assistance (ODA) to Vietnam, would bring some benefits to the Khmer-Krom in Mekong Delta because the indigenous Khmer-Krom peoples are the poorest people in this region.

Based on the info on DFAT’s website, http://dfat.gov.au/geo/vietnam/development-assistance/Pages/development-assistance-in-vietnam.aspx, the Australia provides millions of dollars to Vietnam through the ODA program. For the year of 2016-17, the total Australia ODA estimated aid is $86.6 million, and for the year of 2017-18 is $84.2 million.

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