Project title: Decreasing Statelessness among Former Vietnamese Refugees in Cambodia
A. Brief Description of the Project
With funding from GIZ, MIRO has implemented its project “Decreasing Statelessness among Former Vietnamese Refugees in Cambodia (Phase I)” from February to March 2015. The first phase of the project “Decreasing Statelessness among Former Vietnamese Refugees in Cambodia (Phase I)”is planned for three implementations.
1. Project Goal and Objective
Project Goal: Research and analyze data in preparation for a three year project to reduce statelessness among former ethnic Vietnamese refugees in Cambodia and provide access to nationality identification papers.
Project Specific Objectives:
• Establish relations with ethnic Vietnamese communities in one selected province and
• Establish contact with local, commune and provincial authorities in the selected
• Build MIRO staff capacity for effective project implementation.
2. Planned Activities and Measures
• Establishment of contacts with ethnic Vietnamese communities and local, commune
• Research of the situation regarding legal documents of ethnic Vietnamese in Pursat (1
• Analysis of the research results to identify needs of target group and conceive future
• Briefing workshop with all MIRO headquarter and provincial staff that will be in the
• Capacity building of provincial staff (1 one-day workshop in Phnom Penh)1
• Capacity building of Phnom Penh staff: invite finance consultant to advice and answer identify their situation regarding their legal documentation. province and identify their view on the legal status of ethnic Vietnamese. and provincial authorities in Pursat province (1 four-day trip); four-day trip); project activities; three year project (1 one-day meeting in Phnom Penh); questions about financial management (1 one-day meetings).Capacity building of Phnom Penh staff: Attendance of workshop of SEA network on gender and force migration in Bangkok2.
3. Expected Results/Outcomes
• Ethnic Vietnamese communities as well as authorities in Pursat province are aware of MIRO’s project aim to ensure the enforcement of laws regarding nationality;
• Long-term relations with ethnic Vietnamese communities have been built;
• Authorities understand the negative impact of statelessness among Vietnamese;
• Relations have been established with ethnic Vietnamese communities for future
• Data has been collected about the legal status and the possession of identification
• On the basis of the selected and evaluated data, a detailed preparation of goals and
• MIRO staff has received skills training in selected fields and is well prepared for
activities and contact with authorities have been made; papers of Vietnamese minority members in various communities in Pursat; the data has been analyzed in relation with national and international law activities has been made for April until December to implement in Phase II; efficient project implementation.
B. Development of the Project
1. Project Activities
Briefing meeting of all project staff3 The briefing meeting of all project staff on the 26th February 2015 was a useful opportunity for regional staff to get to know each other and understand the mission and vision of MIRO and the Statelessness Project. Staff discussed the 1 year and 3 year project plan plans. In the meeting, each member of staff had to introduce themselves and their feeling of working with MIRO, and then Mr. Sourn Butmao introduced the purpose of the meeting. He explained that the purpose of meeting was to let all of staffs know each other and find the ways to work together as well as share experience and discuss the 3 years project plan for our Statelessness Project to enhance understanding.
Mr. Noun Sovanrith, the project support staff, presented the mission and vision as well the activities of MIRO. He explained that MIRO is the human rights non-governmental organization working to support ethnic people. He mentioned that MIRO envisions a society in which all Cambodians from all walks of life, including minority groups and Khmer Krom, jointly participate in freely and equally rebuilding a lawful Cambodian society based on peace, justice, democracy and human rights respect as well as obtaining benefits from social development. He also outlined that MIRO’s major mission is to defend and promote the human rights and the development of minority groups and Khmer Krom. He went on to explain that MIRO devotes itself to working with ethnic minority groups and Khmer Krom with honesty, non-profit and non-discrimination. After Mr. Sovanrith had presented the mission, vision and activities of MIRO, Ravy, the Statelessness Project officer, shared the plan and purpose of Statelessness Project to all of staff members. Ravy mentioned the goal of Statelessness Project is to decrease statelessness among Vietnamese and Khmer Krom refugees in Cambodia and project their rights and as well to decrease the discrimination faced by those ethnic people. After that, to get an idea of the 1st year to 3rd year project plan of the Statelessness project, Ravy put this topic to discussion and let all project staff share their ideas. After learning about Statelessness Project, all project staff members shared their idea on the timescale of the project plan and we created the 1 years and three years project plan4 The meeting was attended by three regional staff as well as four staff members from Phnom Penh and one international intern: Mr. SournButmao, the executive director, Mr. Noun Sovanrith, the project officer, Mr. Phom Ravy, the project officer, Mrs. SuonSovann, the project officer, Mr. MeasChanthorn, the provincial staff, Mr. Mom Mony, the provincial staff, Mr. Tort KimSroy, the provincial staff, Mr. Abraham Wapner, the international intern.
Method used in briefing meeting: Staffs do the presentation, discussion, sharing experience.
Capacity building of provincial staffs5 After getting to know each other and each project work and plan, all members of staff shared their knowledge and experience with each other to exchange skills that might help each other with the successful implementation of the project.
During the workshop, Mr. Butmao, the executive director, shared about research skills. First, he shared how to develop an appropriate questionnaire and mentioned that developing the questionnaire is an important step of research and when we have a right questionnaire then the result of the research will be correct with the research goal, so we have to know clear about the goal of the research. Second, he mentioned the testing of questionnaire after developing a right questionnaire form. He said that after developing a questionnaire we have to test it with one to two people to get to know that if the answer to the questionnaire is going to reach to the goal we want. Mr.Butmao mentioned that research skill is very important for project work, so all staffs have to understand researching skills.
After Mr.Butmao shared about research skills, Ravy the project officer shared his skills in investigation, report writing and giving the interviews to media to all project staff members. For report writing Ravy shared the formal ways of using 5W1H (When What, Who, Why, Where, and How) and mentioned that to get a good report we have to write with 5W1H style. Linked to investigation skill, Ravy mentioned that we have to understand how to write a good report after the investigation. To get good information, we have to follow the case and interview the people, get involved with the case and try to get all information from them. Ravy also mentioned that is important to not forget to make a good relationship with authority to make a good flow to investigation. For being interviewed by media, Ravy mentioned that giving interview to media is very important, if we report with the wrong information there will be the problem and if we report the right information there will be a good result and farmhouse for our NGO. Ravy mentioned that when giving interviews to any media, we have to know and understand clearly the topic or questions that they ask, and if we are not clear with the answer then we should not report to those media. It is important to get to know the answer and topic before we give the answer to them.
After Ravy shared about the skills of report writing, investigation, and giving interview to media, Mr.Sovanrith shared about developing skills in advocacy, empowerment, contacting target communities, and approaching authorities. Mr.Sovanrith mentioned that making a good relationship with residents and authorities is very importance in advocacy work. To get a good relationship with residents, we have to let them know about our purpose and mission. When people get understand our work, they can cooperate with us as well as the authorities. We should inform them with a formal letter before we do any activity, and he mentioned that to do so we will get a good relationship and good cooperation with the target group and authorities. If we do this, then our work will be smooth and the project will run well.
As well, Mr.Abraham Wapner, the international intern also shared his skill with online advocacy to all project staff. He mentioned that online advocacy is very important for advocacy work, and he had mentioned about using Facebook for advocacy work. He mentioned that all information and our work we can share through Facebook which everyone using around that world, so everyone will get the information and news we shared, and when people get see they will share so our work will be known around that world.
The meeting was attended by three regional staff as well as four staff members from Phnom Penh and one international intern: Mr. SournButhmao, the executive director, Mr. Noun Sovanrith, the project officer, Mr. Phom Ravy, the project officer, Mrs. SuonSovann, the project officer, Mr. MeasChanthorn, the provincial staff, Mr. Mom Morny, the provincial staff, Mr. Tort KimSroy, the provincial staff, Mr. Abraham Wapner, the international intern.
The capacity building meeting on the 27th February 2015 was a useful opportunity to build skills for the regional staff and an important forum for them to share their experience and knowledge of the field with the head office in Phnom Penh. All provincial staffs could get acknowledge of research skills, advocacy skills, investigation skills, report writing skills, how to give an interview to media, and how to communicate with authority and target group6
Method used in Staff Capacity building: Staffs do the presentation, discussion and sharing experience.
Establish contact with VN communities and authorities in Pursat7
MIRO staff went on a three day trip to establish contact with Vietnamese communities and authorities in Pursat Province to the communities of , KoshKaEk, KampongLoung from 2nd-4th March. During the trip in RaingTeul commune, MIRO team had a meeting with the village chief Mr. MengHourt and MIRO team presented the purpose of MIRO and Statelessness Project. After understanding the vision mission of MIRO and statelessness Project, the village chief expressed his happy feelings and his willingness to cooperate with MIRO. He shared about the situation as well the number of resident in his village to MIRO. After meeting with RaingTeul village chief, the MIRO team went on the trip to KoshKaEk village to meet Mr. Oeung Yang the village chief. Mr. Oeung Yang and his 8 village members prepared the meeting place at the Vietnamese community’s floating house. Ravy and Sovanrith present about MIRO and Stateless vision and mission to them, and those residents shared the difficulty of their living without legal documents. After understanding the purpose of MIRO and Statelessness project, they all showed a happy feeling and their willingness to work with MIRO. They showed their warm welcome to MIRO team. Kampong Loung is the last place that MIRO team visited during the trip. Mr. Yang Lai, the village chief of KamongLoung commune, and few of village members had meeting with MIRO staffs at Mr. Yang Lai’s house. Village members shared their difficulty living life when MIRO staffs asked about the situation regarding legal document. MIRO staffs explained MIRO and the Statelessness Project’s purpose to them. After that, they were so happy and showed their willingness to work with MIRO. Mr. Yang Lai shared the situation of the village and the number of residents in village to MIRO staff and exchanged contact with MIRO staff.
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. We found that the trip was very successful because the target group understood MIRO’s Statelessness Project goal, a strong relationships begun between MIRO staffs and the target group, and they showed their willingness to work with MIRO in future activities8 Method used in trip to establish contact: Provincial staff contacted and informed leaders of the communities and local authorities before the trip. During the trip, Phnom Penh staff had made a good relationship with community’s residents and local authorities and presented the “Decreasing Statelessness among Former Vietnamese Refugees in Cambodia” project to them. MIRO staff exchanged contact information with community leaders and established a time and place for the community to participate in future MIRO activities.
Community Concerns: 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 in the region.
There were four MIRO’s staffs participated in the trip:
– Mr. Phom Ravy, Project Officer
– Mr.NounSovanrith, Project Support
– Mr. MeasChanthorn, Provincial Staff
– Mr. Abraham, International intern
Research of situation regarding legal documents of ethnic Vietnamese MIRO staff returned to the three ethnically Vietnamese communities visited previously from the 19th -21st March, 2015. The purpose of the trip was to investigate and record the concerns and problems faced by the ethnic Vietnamese communities in the Pursat Province, including the impact of the legal status of the community. MIRO staffs interviewed 20 residents in each community(RaingTeul, KoshKaEk, KampongLoung) that were made available by each community’s leaders.
First, MIRO team interviewed 20 village members both male and female in KoshKaEk village prepared by the village chief Mr. Eoung Yang. Village members were happy to give interviews because they understood about MIRO and Statelessness Project’s purpose. After 3 hours, the interview was finished and Mr. Ravy, the project officer, shared more about the goal and mission of Statelessness Project.
After interviews at KoahKaEk, MIRO team went on to RaingTeul village. As the same to KoshKaEk village, 20 village members prepared by the village chief Mr. MengHourt were ready to give testimony to the MIRO team. After 3 hours, the interview was finished and MIRO team gave thanks to all residents who cooperated with MIRO and shared information about future activities with all of them. Kampong Loung was the last place for interviews. The same as the first 2 places, 20 residents (male and female) were ready to give an interview to MIRO team as prepared by the village chief Mr. Yang Lai. In Kampong Loung MIRO team spent over 3 hours giving interviews. Mr. Noun Sovanrith, the project supporting staff, shared MIRO’s future activities with those residents. Residents as well the village chief shared their difficulty and worry with MIRO staff and they were so happy with MIRO’s work.
All three communities reported the vast majority of their population have no legal documentation that they find it difficult to gain access to work on the mainland and scarcity of fish in the area due to overfishing effecting livelihoods. Children are unregistered at school due to their legal status as not being Cambodian citizens, so they cannot gain any form of qualifications. This further limits job opportunities for them in the future. Lastly, the leaders of these communities expressed fear for themselves and their people of further discrimination by the Cambodian Government. Even the threat of deportation to Vietnam, which may not recognize them either and continue the vicious cycle of these communities being stateless. Methods used in the research trip: Provincial staff contacted and informed the community leaders and local authorities a few days before the research day trip, used research forms made by MIRO to record the information, interviewing 20 residents (both men and women) in each of the three communities, and explained more about purpose of MIRO’s project to residents and authorities.
Community Concerns: 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.
There were four MIRO’s staffs participated in the research trip:
– Mr. Phom Ravy, Project Officer
– Mr.NounSovanrith, Project Support
– Mr. MeasChanthorn, Provincial Staff
– Mr. Sam Beckton, International intern
Result achieved by the Project The briefing meeting of all project staff on the 26th February 2015 was a useful opportunity for regional staff to get to know each other and understand the mission and vision of MIRO and the Statelessness Project. Furthermore, 1 year and 3 years project plan and strategy plan had been conducted. Now project staff can work well together after knowing each other well, understand their role and the project’s purpose and understand the 1 year and 3 years project plan and strategy plan. All staff looked happy and enjoyed getting to know each other and preparing the plan to work together.
Furthermore, a capacity building meeting on the 27th February 2015 was a useful opportunity to build skills for the regional staff and an important forum for them to share their experience and knowledge of the field with the head office in Phnom Penh. MIRO staff has received skills training in selected fields (Research skill, investigation skill, advocacy skill, report writing skill, giving interview to media), and is well prepared for efficient project implementation. The field trips established contact with community residents and local authorities. MIRO’sstaff found the leadership of all three communities open and willing to work with MIRO to reduce statelessness in their populations. After explaining MIRO’s work and project purpose, residents and local authority were very happy with MIRO. MIRO’s staff built a strong relationship with the community’s residents and local authorities (village chief) within those three target communities, RaingTeul, KoshKaEk, and Kampong Loung. After building a relationship with the targeted communities, MIRO conducted a trip for research regarding legal document in those communities. 60 residents from those three communities ( RaingTeul, KoshKaEk, Kampong Loung), 20 residents from each community, has given an interview to MIRO’s staff regarding legal documents and concerns, whose feedback will guide MIRO’s work and future projects within these communities.
2. Overall development of the organization
MIRO seeks to develop good cooperation with donors, national and international organizations and other stakeholder involved in minority rights and statelessness issues in Cambodia and beyond. For instance MIRO was invited to attend short course on Gender and Forced Migrant10 at Bangkok, Thailand by Asia Pacific Regional Refugee Network (APRRN) from 17-20 February 2015. And also invited finance consultant to set up quick book and financial system, advice, and answer questions about financial management11. During the report period, MIRO is start running three projects as following and be negotiated and apply proposal to The Minga Foundation for the project “Support School Attendance for Khmer Krom Needy Children” in three provinces: Takeo, Koh Kong, and Sihanouk Ville. And also fund.
Project “Support of School Attendance for Needy Children in Kampong Chhnang”. Funded by ViDan Foundation, Inc. Through this project, MIRO seeks to increase education opportunities for children whose families live in dire poverty in Kampong Chhnang province. At the same time, this project aims at strengthening the human rights of ethnic Vietnamese and improving interethnic community empowerment. Through this project, we support 95 needy children12 in the target area by helping them to receive an education according to the state curriculum, to receive additional private Vietnamese language classes, and have better employment opportunities.
Project “Empowerment of Khmer Krom Women to Political Participation and Gender Equality”. Funded by Heinrich Böll Stiftung Foundation Cambodia. Through this project, MIRO seeks to increase the understanding of women rights and gender equality in Khmer Krom communities, to build the capacity of Khmer Krom women to advocate for their rights and to encourage Khmer Krom women to actively participate in communal development and political decision making. And this project is implemented in three provinces: Takeo, Koh Kong, and Sihanouk Ville.
Project “Protection and Empowerment of Khmer Krom Human Rights Defenders in Cambodia”. Funded by The Norwegian Human Rights Fund. Through this project, MIRO seeks to provide access to justice for Khmer Krom at the courts of Cambodia and ensure that they have legal representation, to protect the rights of Khmer Krom in Cambodia by preparing intervention letters and statements and by meetings with stakeholders for information and discussion, and to raise the awareness and strengthen the understanding of the civil, political and social rights of Khmer Krom HRDs, including their physical and mental integrity, their right to life and safety, and the protection from discrimination on grounds of origin, as well as the right to freedom of expression, assembly, association, religion and movement.
3. Administration-related issues
MIRO support staff issue: through recruit process policy, in February 2015 Ms. SUON Sovann is appointed as project officer with project “Empowerment of Khmer Krom Women to Political Participation and Gender Equality”, Mr. PHOM Ravy is appointed as project officer with the project “Decreasing Statelessness Among Former Ethnic Vietnamese and Khmer Krom Refugees in Cambodia”, and Ms. MEN Sokuntheary is appointed as finance officer of MIRO. And through board of director decision-making by extraordinary meeting session was promoted Mr. NUON Sovanrith, project officer as a deputy director and Mr. SOURN Butmao, acting director as executive director. And Ms. Judith KUNZE was resigned from her position with MIRO from March 2015.
• Due to the funding for transportation during field trip, there was the problem because of travelling on water ways by boat is too expensive. The transportation fee we had prepared was not enough for spending.
• It was a dangerous trip for travelling to the target groups areas, because staffs have to travel by boat almost 2 hours to reach the place, accidents can happen anytime and it will be more dangerous during the rainy season because of frequent storms.
• Due to little funding per-diem for staff during the trip, it was difficult for staff because of goods and things are too expensive in the field and sometimes staff have to pay their own money.
• During the field trips, Provincial staff did not make a good preparations by informing and contacting communities and local authorities before the trip, so it make the work flow slow and some issue happened during the trip.
• Even though some residents and local authority in target groups understand about MIRO’ work and Statelessness Project purpose, there were some who didn’t understand MIRO’s purpose. Some were scared that MIRO might serve one of the political parties. Furthermore, some ethnic residents did not speak Khmer so it was hard for MIRO staff to communicate or give interviews.
• For the phase II period, project need a national intern to assist the project officer during project implementation, but now the project officer alone finds it hard to control all tasks without an intern’s assistance.
C. Concluding the report
According to its objective, MIRO was successful in making a briefing meeting with all project staff as well as a staff Capacity building meeting. All staff got to know each other and MIRO’s purpose clearly and the 1 year and 3 years project plan as well as strategy plan of Statelessness project were conducted. Staff can gained skills during the workshop such as report writing, investigation skills, advocacy skills, research skills and how to give interview to media. Staff had to share their own experience to the workshop and they learned from each other as well found the ways to make a good cooperation to implement the project work with getting a good result in an effective way. With the first trip of establishing contact, MIRO established contact and built a strong relationship with ethnic Vietnamese communities and local authorities in its target groups (RiangTeul, KoshKaEk, and Kompong Loung). After understanding the purpose of MIRO and the project, residents and local authorities were open to cooperation with MIRO. MIRO had learned about their living situation as well as their situation regarding their legal document. With the second trip to research the situation regarding legal document, MIRO successfully interviewed 60 residents (20 residents from each communities), analysed the recorded data and found the needs those ethnic residents without legal documents. According to the record we found that all three communities’ reported the vast majority of their population have no legal documentation, find it difficult to gain access to work on the mainland and have their livelihoods affected by the scarcity of fish in the area due to overfishing. Children are unregistered at school due to their legal status as not being Cambodian citizens, cannot and face further limited job opportunities in the future.
According to its objective, MIRO was successful with project implementation.
– Staff briefing meeting report
– Staff capacity building report
– Establish contact with VN communities and Khmer local authorities in Pursat
– Research trip report regarding legal document of ethnic VN