Field research trip to conduct investigation into Khmer Krom human rights abuses in Takeo province

From June 30th to July 2nd, 2015, the Minority Rights Organization (MIRO) Human Rights Defender project conducted a research investigation into Khmer Krom human rights abuses in Darakom village located in the Chey Choak commune, Boricholsa district, 70 km away from Takeo province. The victim was Mr. Chhorn Borei, originally Khmer Krom, an indigenous population of ethnic Khmer who lived in Kampuchea Krom, an area in the south of Vietnam. Mr. Borei currently lives in Darakom village. He was accused of attempted murder by Mr. Noun Vanrith on April 26th, 2015, and was arrested the following day by local authorities without the conduction of a proper investigation.

Field Report

When I reached Mr. Chhorn Borei father’s house I started to interview his relatives who were present at his arrest by the local authorities. I met two other members of his family, his sister-in-law and his brother. They stated that Mr. Chhorn Borei and Mr. Noun Vanrith have known each other for a long time, as Chhorn Borei was a student of Mr. Noun Vanrith. Mr. Vanrith repeatedly hired Mr. Borei for farming work. During the interview, I asked them if there was ever any argument between the victim and the suspect, and the family gave a negative response. However, at midnight of April 26th, Mr. Varinth and Mr. Borei had a fight in which both got wounded. There is no record of whom started the conflict and it was reported that Mr. Borei hold an axe in his hand during the incident. During the event, a villager who lives nearby tried to stop the fight. The next morning, Mr. Noun Vanrith filed a complaint to the local authority accusing Mr. Chhorn Borei of attempted murder. Following the complaint, the local authorities arrested Borei and sent him to be questioned and to conduct reconciliation. The local authorities arrested Mr. Borei immediately after the filing of the complaint, without proper investigation into the case. Mr. Noun Vanrith is the son of the head commune chief, so his father ordered the local authorities to arrest Mr. Borei. After interviewing the family members of Mr. Borei, I interviewed the village chief. He reported that he was not present during the incident and, therefore, did not see what happened between Mr. Vanrith and Mr. Borei. He came to know of the case the morning after the fight when a police officer arrived and requested to find Mr. Chhorn Borei in order to file a report and make reconciliation. After the encounter with the police officer, the village chief found Mr. Chorn Borei at his mother’s house and immediately reported back to the police, which was followed by his taking into custody to report to the district officer and later on to be imprisoned. The village chief expressed his disappointment in regard to this case as he felt cheated by the police, since as the village chief he has the right to stop an arrest if he does not agree with the procedures of the case. He stated that the issues must be dealt with at the ground first. Mr. Chhorn Borei is currently in prison at Takeo province. His main occupation is farming. He has a wife and three children, one of which has disabilities. Reported by Noun Sovanrith

 

Muddy road to Darakom village Chey Choak, commune Boricholsa district, 70km away from Takeo province

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Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 12.18.48 PMVictim Mr. Chhorn Borei, his wife and two of his sons, one with disabilities

Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 12.20.29 PMConduction of interviews with witnesses and the village chief

Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 12.21.27 PMMIRO team with the family of the victim and other witnesses

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Villager thumbprint to support Mr. Chhorn Borei

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