Project: Statelessness Project
Date: March 02-04, 2015
Place: Pursat Province
As a part of MIRO’s Statelessness project, MIRO staff went on a three day trip to Pursat Province from March 2nd through March 4th to establish contact with communities and authorities. The purpose of the trip was to “establish contact with local, commune and provincial authorities … and identify their view on the legal status of ethnic Vietnamese”. The trip included stops at three ethnically Vietnamese communities: Raing Teul, Kos Ka ak, and Kampong Loung.
Two MIRO staff members from Phnom Penh Mr. Phom Ravy and Mr.Noun Sovanrith, one local MIRO staffmembers Mr. Meas Chanthorn, and one MIRO intern participated, Mr. Abraham in the research trip.
MIRO established contact with the local leadership of each community. During the trip in Raing Teul commune, MIRO team had a meeting with the village chief Mr. Meng Hourt and MIRO team present about purpose of MIRO and Statelessness Project. After understanding the vision mission of MIRO and statelessness Project, the village chief show his happy feeling and his willing to cooperate with MRIO, and he shared about the situation as well the number of resident in his village to MIRO.
After meeting with Raing Teul village chief, MIRO team went on the trip to Kosh Ka Ek village to meet Mr. Oeung Yang the village chief. Mr. Oeung Yang and his 8 village members prepare the meeting place at the VN communities floating house. Ravy and Sovanrith present about MIRO and Stateless vision and mission to them, and those resident shared about their difficulty of their living related with legal document. After understanding of MIRO and Statelessness purpose, they all show a happy feeling and their willing to work with MIRO, and they showed their warm well come to MIRO team.
Kampong Loung is the last place that MIRO team visited during the trip. Mr. Yang Lai the village chief of Kamong Loung commune and few of village members had meeting with MIRO staffs at Mr. Yang Lai’s house. Village member shared their difficult in living life when MIRO staffs asked about the situation regarding legal document. MIRO staffs shared about MIRO and Statelessness Project purpose to them and they were so happy and show their willing to work with MIRO. Mr. Yang Lai shared about the situation of the village and the number of resident in village to MIRO staffs, and exchange contact with MIRO staffs. During the trip each, MIRO staff exchanged contact information with community leadership and established a time and place for community participation in future MIRO activities. And we found that the trip was very success because of the target group understand about MIRO’s Statelessness Project goal, and a strong relation have been built between MIRO staffs and those target group, and they show their willing to work with MIRO in future activities.
All finances were documented using MIRO pay voucher forms.
Each community reported significant numbers of the population living without legal documentation. Education was reported to go no further than 3rd grade levels. Many leaders expressed fear of deportation and government discrimination as chief concerns. Poverty also ranked high among concerns, as overfishing has led to a scarcity of available fish.
Staff Recommendations for Improvement
MIRO staff highlighted two major areas needing improvement to make further research trips more effective. First, better preparation before leaving would allow staff a greater understanding of what to expect in the field. Second, a larger transportation budget was suggested, as multiple minor trips by boat and tuk tuk added together to be a significant cost.
Staff found the leadership of all three communities open and willing to work with MIRO to reduce statelessness in their populations. Many members of each community do not have access legal documentation and are eager to gain an opportunity to apply for citizenship papers. Further dates for meeting were established with each community. In light of this information, MIRO should move forward with the second phase of its Statelessness project aiming to gather more research on legal documents and analyze how best to address the needs of the target community.