By SETH MYDANS
Published by New York Times
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — The highest-ranking surviving Khmer Rouge leader, accused in the deaths of 1.7 million people, defended himself on Tuesday by casting his actions as part of a patriotic struggle to keep Vietnam from annexing Cambodia and exterminating ethnic Cambodians.
Presenting what could have been the condensed version of a political address from his days as the Khmer Rouge’s chief ideologue in the 1970s, the defendant, Nuon Chea, 85, spoke of threats from Vietnamese agents as a justification for the purges that led to the torture and killings that defined the Khmer Rouge regime.
On behalf of the Khmer-Krom Canadian community of Canada, the Presidents of the Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation Youth Committee in Ontario (Jeffery Kim), Quebec (Samnang Om), Alberta (Phekdey Son), wrote a joint letter to His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada prior to his trip visiting Vietnam from November 16 – 19, 2011.
Besides wishing His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston having a successful trip to Vietnam, they introduced to the Excellency about who Indigenous Khmer-Krom Peoples are and the human rights violations that the Khmer-Krom people are facing:
Every year, the Indigenous Khmer-Krom Peoples in Mekong Delta organize the Ork Ombok Festival to worship the moon on the 15th of the 10th lunar month. It is the time that the Khmer-Krom starts harvesting their rice. During this time, the Khmer-Krom people also celebrate the Pronang Touk Ngo (Boat Racing) Festival, to commemorate their ancestor’s navy troops that won the battles against their enemy to protect their homeland.
In recent years, the Vietnamese government has exploited the Boat Racing Festival to attract tourists. The Vietnamese government makes lots of profits from providing the tourist services and advertisement. The Khmer-Krom paddlers don’t gain a penny from those profits, except the winning teams may get some awards.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday that Vietnam must improve its human rights record if it seeks better relations as the two countries held talks on the issue.
"We have made it clear to Vietnam that if we are to develop a strategic partnership, as both nations desire, Vietnam must do more to respect and protect its citizens' rights," Clinton said at the East-West Center in Hawaii.
Summary of the 18th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva: "On human rights and indigenous peoples, the Council welcomed the work of the Special Rapporteur and the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and requested the Expert Mechanism to prepare a study on the role of languages and culture in the promotion and protection of the rights and identity of indigenous peoples, in addition to a questionnaire survey to seek the views of States on best practices to attain the goals of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
More than a dozen U.S. lawmakers have urged the newly appointed American Ambassador to Vietnam to give a higher priority to raising human rights issues in the communist-ruled nation.
The 14 members of Congress sent a letter to Ambassador David Shear requesting that he address concerns such as rule of law, Internet freedom, and suppression of political dissent, in addition to strengthening ties between the former rival nations.
On behalf of the Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation, we would like to sadly announce the passing of Mr. Thach Kinh on Saturday, 20 August 2011 at the age of 57.
Mr. Kinh was one of few individual with a heart of gold. He was a wonderful family man and a very well respected leader of the Khmer Krom community in Adelaide, South Australia.
9 August 2011
Originating from Kampuchea Krom (in Vietnam’s lower Mekong Delta region), fluent in Vietnamese, and maintaining their own cultural practices, the Khmer Krom were targeted for elimination because the Khmer Rouge perceived them to be associated with the Youn.
The United Nations-backed court established to prosecute Khmer Rouge leaders did not include the crimes against the Khmer Krom as part of the three-year investigation it concluded last year for its second trial, Case 002. Indictments charge former senior Khmer Rouge leaders for genocide against Cambodia’s Cham Muslim and ethnic Vietnamese minorities but not against the Khmer Krom.
This omission stemmed in part from the prosecution’s exclusion of the Khmer Krom from its investigation, which left the tribunal’s judges unable to pursue such charges, despite compelling evidence of mass killing and forced displacement of the Khmer Krom throughout Cambodia.
However, Khmer Krom survivors continued to press their case with the court, submitting clear and consistent evidence of the atrocities they suffered and detailing prison sites and mass graves.
By Brenda Son
Posted on Tumblr
I was recently in Florida for the PanAm World Championship for dragon boating.The support we got from the Khmer community in Florida was enormous. Words cannot explain how thankful I am; but I’ll do my best to describe how I feel.
Written by: Cathleen Phimorong Kim
Long Beach, California
The 2011 International Dragon Boat Federation (IDBF) held their 1st Pan American Club Crew Championship (PACCC) in Tampa, Florida on July 30-31. It was a two day competition where it consisted of 200 meters, 500 meters and 2000 meters at the Seddon Channel in front of the convention center. This was the first time IDBF had made this competition a 10 man dragon boat (small boat) consisting of 12 paddlers (including steer person & drummer). There were different Club dragon boat teams throughout the Pan American regions and international countries that participated in this competition.