Since the 80th decade, ethnic Vietnamese have lived on floating communiities in Kandal, Chong Koh and Chhnok Truo of Kampong Chhnang province. During the period of democratic Kampuchea they fled to Vietnam by exchange with the democratic Kampuchea government and the Vietnam government. This happened in late 1975 at the start of the Khmer Rouge regime. However, they later returned to the same community after the Khmer Rouge regime. Those who live on Tonle Sap Lake are predominantly fishermen, with around over 90% using fishing. This is primarily due to a lack of legal documents to prove their identity, meaning they cannot get work anywhere else. Around 80% however do hold immigration cards and have a resident card. A number of issues exist regarding their children however. Many cannot attend public school, even if they were born In Cambodia because of a lack of legal documents such as a birth certificate. Many cannot obtain these due to their parents technically residing in Cambodia illegally as considered by relevance authorities. As such the children also face statelessness in Cambodia, with little hope of gaining national identity. This is also against number 2 of the UNHCR’s 10 year action plan between 2014 and 2024.
Reference to MIRO’s primary research in 2015 found the number of ethnic Vietnamese in Kampong Chhnang province in total was around 1,772 families. This covered six communities in total, with an an estimated nearly 10,000 people include who is living in 3 Floating communities. Kandal families accounted for 440, Chhong Koh accounted for 392 families, and Chhnok Trou accounted for 597 families within the region. In accordance with the General Department of Immigration, the Ministry of the Interior has been taking action to census foreigners’ residence in Cambodia. They recently announced the payment of a new twice yearly immigration card, costing 250,000 riel for foreign residents who reach the legal age of 18. This is approximately $60 per person. On the 16th March 2015 representatives of ethnic Vietnamese living along Tonle Sap Lake in Kampong Chhnang province prepared a petition. They asked for intervention from relevant competent authorities and civil societies to decrease the official payment of 250,000 riel which must be paid twice yearly for foreign residents above 18 years of age. They argued that due to poverty, most earned a living from hand to mouth. The intervention letter had the thumbprints of 520 ethnic Vietnamese from separate communities such as Kampong Tralach, Boribo and Kampong Chhang. By the 7th April 2015, MIRO observed that most do not have enough money to pay 250,000 Riel twice a year for an immigration card. There were 32 families, equal to 122 persons, including 43 children under legal age, who were leaved out of Cambodia to live in Vietnam. 55% travelled by their own machine boat, 25% sold their property and travelled by bus, and 20% kept their property with relatives in Cambodia and travelled by bus. The two communities are detailed below:
– Chhnok Truo: 25 family’s equal 85 persons include 49 female. Reach to 18 years old up 56 persons include 31 female.
– Kandal: 7 family’s equal 37 persons. Reach to 18 years old up 23 persons
Enclose herewith detail report in Khmer with name list, request intervention letter and list of 520 thumbprints, and other support document. By MIRO/July2015