The Phnom Penh Post
Written by Vong Sokheng
Friday, 08 May 2009
THOUSANDS of members of Cambodia's Khmer Krom community are expected to participate in a ceremony set for June 4 to mark the 60th anniversary of the loss of their territory to Vietnam.
"We celebrated the loss every year, starting in 2000, and the King has always sent his representative to preside over the ceremony," Thach Setha, former senator of the opposition Sam Rainsy Party and executive director of the Khmer Kampuchea Krom Community told the Post Thursday.
The ceremony, which will be held in front of Wat Botumvadei, is open to all Cambodians, organisers said. Thach Setha said the group had been granted permission every year for their ceremony. However, he said he had submitted a letter requesting permission to the Phnom Penh Municipality on April 30 this year and had yet to hear back.
Kep Chuktema, Phnom Penh municipal governor, could not be reached for comment on Thursday to confirm whether this year's ceremony would be allowed.
Phay Siphan, spokesman for the Council of Ministers, said he doubted the ceremony would affect Vietnamese government policy towards the Khmer Krom.
The Vietnamese government is to appear before the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva for its five-yearly rights review Friday, with local rights activists hoping it will force Hanoi to account for its treatment of the Khmer Krom remaining in Vietnam.