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Tomas Experiences in Geneva

Monday 10 and Tuesday 11 November 2014, there was a meeting at the Palais Wilson in Geneva about International Covenant on Economics, Social and Cultural Rights, a treaty in which Vietnam has signed and was reviewed for those two days.

For this, we have sent a delegation of 6 persons, composed of Thach Ngoc Thach from Canada, Venerable Veasna from Italy, Kien Sothy from United States of America, Joshua Cooper from Hawaii, Julie Thivanada Kim and I, Toma Khoun from France.

On Monday morning, Sothy presented our KKF report to the Committee (composed by many experts from all over the world , M. Kedzia, Committee chairman from Poland, M. Schrijver, Expert and Country Rapporteur for Vietnam, from Netherlands and many others.)

Later in the day, we participated in a side event, and met some members of the Committee to explain with more details the different issues that the Khmer-Krom peoples face (about the right of education, the right of cultural life and scientific progress, the right of self-determination and many other articles of ICESCR).
In the afternoon the Committee came together to begin the review of Vietnam’s report. Vietnam sent a big delegation with more than 20 persons to attend this treaty review.

One of the Experts asked to the Vietnam Delegation a question about our Khmer-Krom people as indigenous, stating, " How were Khmer people classified as an ethnic minority, when they themselves wished to be recognized as indigenous people? There should be more specific laws that defined, prohibited, punished and provided redress for discrimination on any ground." (Link:

Vietnam’s answer was a little bit evasive stating, “Regarding indigenous peoples, they were among the most vulnerable in the society and the goal was to promote and protect their rights. Viet Nam complied with international practices and commitments to remove all forms of discrimination against indigenous peoples.
There were no indigenous peoples in the history of the country, as they were an inseparable part of the development of Viet Nam.”

On Tuesday morning, the Committee finished the review of Vietnam.
It was a difficult two days for the Vietnamese delegation because they did not fully answer the questions, especially in regards to the issue of Khmer-Krom being able to identify as indigenous.

I felt so sorry for them, when I saw how the delegation was trying to hide the truth, but it was also very amusing to watch them trying to lie to the world.

To conclude, I would like to tell to all youth all over the world to continue to go to all sessions, to keep pressure on the Vietnamese government. I recommend that all youths stay informed on Khmer-Krom people situation to learn our Kampuchea Krom history and stand up for our Khmer-Krom people.