Report on Empowerment Workshop on legal documents and its relevance law to inter-ethnic groups

Project: Decreasing Statelessness

Date: September 18, 2015

Place: Takeo Province

Project Officer: Phom Ravy


As part of MIRO’s Statelessness project, MIRO staff went on a three days’ trip to the Takeo Province from 17th Augustthrough to the19thSeptemberto conduct an empowerment workshop for mix the ethnic group and local authority. The purpose is to awareness Vietnamese and Khmer Krom minorities as well the local authorities are equipped with knowledge of the relevant national law and human rights, and know how to apply for nationality or citizenship as well as other identification papers.


Mr. Sourn Buthmao, the Director of MIRO, Mr. Noun Sovanarith, the Vice Director of MIRO, and Mr. Phom Ravy, the project officer leaded the workshop, and assist by the provincial staff Mr. Mom Monny. As well we had invited 2 speakers, Mr. Kob Sokhom, Vice_Chief of police administration post of Doun Keo town, and another one is Mr. Pong Pen, Chief of Roka Khnong commune. There were26 participants participated in this workshop (12male and 14 female) including 5 local authorities from difference location: Roka Khnong and Roka Kroav commune.


A week before the workshop day coming, the provincial staff Mr. Mom Monny had invited the local authorities as well the mix of ethnic groups, Khmer Krom and Vietnamese(CPs) to participate in the workshop and he had invited local authorities to being a speaker in the workshop as well.

In the workshop days, in the first section after registration Mr. Sourn Butmao had opened the workshop with the important speech of warm well come to the participants as well let them know about the purpose of the workshop. After that Mr. Noun Sovanarith, the Vice Director started to present about MIRO’s work and its projects to the participants by spending almost 20 minutes. After Mr. Sovanrith presented about MIRO and the projects people can get to know more about MIRO. Then Mr. Phom Ravy, the project officer started with the section of “Introduction about the lesson (Statelessness and related laws and conventions)”. By spending almost 30 minutes, Ravy explained a lot about definition of Statelessness, number of Statelessness around the world, report of UNHRC about statelessness, and national law, regulation and international convention about Statelessness. As well after explanation with the definition and lesson, Ravy and Mr. Butmoa had asked many questions to the participants about the lesson to make sure that all participants understanding well about the lesson that he explained. Mr. Butmoa had added something more about the lesson that Ravy presented to the participants for making sure all participants understand well.

After the break with refreshment with 15 minutes, the new section about the legal documents presented by Mr. Pong Pen, the Chief of Roka Khnong Commune. Spending almost 40 minutes to explain for clear with a good advice to all participants about the important of legal document and how to keep it in the safe place. After Mr. Pong Pen Presented about important of legal document, Mr. Kob Sokhom, started to present about how to get the legal document. By spending almost 15 minutes to explain about how to get a legal document, there were some questions from the participants had been asked. Mrs. Re Sokharaised the question to Mr. Pong Pen that her son is 3 years old and living without birther certificate, and she already tried to ask from the local authority but her son can’t get it yet. She asked that as a Khmer Krom people, so does her son have the rights to get birther certificate? What she should do to get the birth certificate for her son? Mr. Pong Pen reply in very gentle ways as he is the local authority and set the date for her to bring her son to make a certificate at the commune office. Mr. Butmao, the MIRO director also ask the provincial staff Mr. Mom Monny to assist to process this case too. After that Mrs.Khan Sreymom also raised her own problem with married certificate to Mr. Kom Sokhom that she got a traditional married but she and her husband as a Khmer Krom people didn’t go to Commune office to make married certificate, so what she should do? As the local authority, Mr. Kob Sokhom respond to the question of bad impact of married without married certificate, and the procedure to get it. Mr. Kob Sokhom encouraged her to go to Commune office to make the married certificate as fast as possible.

After questions and answer, the project officer Mr. Phom Ravy started with the new lesson on Law on nationality. Ravy had introduced many relevant law related to nationality to participants, and then he started to explain about nationality from birth. Not just explain the articles, but Ravy asked to the participants to make a role play of nationality from birth to make sure that all participants can understand the lesson well. Ravy also allowed all participants to ask question freely related to the nationality and legal document. After lunch times, at 1:30 pm as the schedule, Ravy start the lesson of Nationality by marriage and Nationality through naturalization. Ravy explained points by point with the play role joined  by participants to make sure all participants can understand well. And he allowed the questions from participants too during his explanation. After Ravy completed all the lesson, Mr. Butmoa leaded the group discussion on lesson that participants learned for the whole day. After a group discussion the leader in the group presented their answers to the program, and here are questions and Answer from a group discussion:

1) What kind of documents that we refer to legal document?

Family book, Birth Certificate, Khmer ID card, Married certificate, Resident book, Voting letter, Passport, immigration letter.

2) What are the difficulties of living without any legal documents?

– Can’t get a job because company or factory need legal document from the employees.

– Without Birth certificate children can’t register in the start school.

– Can’t get married because the authority requires the legal document

– Can’t buy a transportation such as motor bike because the seller also need a legal

– Can’t buy a land or own a land without Khmer citizenship

– We couldn’t get the rights as the normal people. document from buyer

3) How many ways of receiving Khmer nationality?

There are three types of receiving Khmer nationality

– Nationality by birth

Any legitimate child who is born from a parent ( a mother or father) who has Khmer nationality/ citizenship , or -any illegitimate child who is born from and recognized by a parent (a mother or father) who has Khmer nationality, or any child who is not recognized by the mother and father (parents), when upon the court passed a judgement stating that such child was really born from a parent ( a mother or father) who has Khmer nationality/citizenship.

– Nationality by marriage

A foreign man or woman who got married with a Khmer wife or husband, may demand for Khmer nationality/citizenship only if upon such man or women have been living together for a period of three (3) years, after registration of a marriage certificate.

– Nationality through naturalization

Foreigners may apply for Khmer nationality/citizenship through naturalization. Naturalization is not a right of the applicant, but only a favour of the Kingdom of Cambodia. In any case, such application may also be rejected by a discretionary power.

The program finished at 4:45 pm as the plain set with thanks giving word from the local authorities and participants to MIRO team and donor GIZ for supporting and conducting this important and useful workshop. Challenge of workshop During our workshop on “An empowerment workshop for mix the ethnic group and local authority” there were some challenges within some Vietnamese participants couldn’t participate even we already invited them a week before and called to follow up them 1 day before the workshop days coming. And we found the reason that, Vietnamese residents scare of arresting, from the migration police, in the early September there were 19 Vietnamese in that commune were arrested and not yet released yet. So all the 26 participants were Khmer Krom resident and Local authority.


Our workshop in Takeo Province on “An empowerment workshop for mix the ethnic group and local authority” had been completed well as the plain. The Khmer group and local authorities can understand well about the related law and their rights, and having these rights enforced; law and human rights, and know how to apply for nationality or citizenship as well as other identification papers with the with the law and regulation regarding to Human Rights. As well they look so happy after the workshop because they could have had a chance to ask directly to the local authorities in their commune and they can get the direct answer as well. But what we feel so sorry was that Vietnamese residents couldn’t join the workshop.



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