Project: Statelessness Project
Date: 25-28 May, 2015
Place: Takeo Province
Project Officer: Phom Ravy
As part of MIRO’s Statelessness project, MIRO’s staff went on a four day trip to the Takeo Province from the 25th May to the 28th May to research the situation regarding the legal documentation with communities and authorities. The purpose of the trip was to investigate and record the concerns and problems faced by the ethnic Khmer Khrom communities in the Takeo Province, including the impact of the legal status of the community. The trip included stops at two ethnically Khmer Krom communities in the province, Roka Kroav and Roka Khnong Commune.
Two MIRO staff members from Phnom Penh, Mr. Noun Sovanrith and Mr. Phom Ravy, one local MIRO staff member, Mr. Morm Monny, and two MIRO interns, Mr. Samuel Beckton and Mr. Khorn Sokheng, participated in the research trip.
MIRO provincial staff, Mr. Morm Monny, had contacted and informed the local authorities as well the target group a week before the research trip days that were planned from Phnom Penh staffs. On the first day of arrival to the Takeo province, MIRO’steam from Phnom Penh conducted a small meeting with provincial staff talking about the research questionnaire to the provincial staff, as well as the daily work and situation of the target groups. After the meeting, Mr. Morm Monny walked around and showed the rest of the team the Roka Kroav and Roka Khnong communities to see the general situation of the residents. The next day we started our interview in Roka Kroav Commune, and started by introducing MIRO’s project’s plan and work to those target groups by Mr. Phom Ravy. Finally we got 46 participants to give interviews in the Ro Ka Krouv by going house by house for a whole day and we also got an interview from Roka Kroav Police chief too to get data of residents. The third day of the trip, we went to the second target group Roka Knong commune, which is located in the Doun Keo district as well. For a whole day we interviewed with 21 ethnic Khmer Krom residents by firstly Mr. Phom Ravy and Mr. Noun Sovanith introducing MIRO’s Statelessness project purpose and our work to those Khmer Krom residents. The Khmer Krom residents looked very happy to give an interview to MIRO’s team and share information about their difficulty to MIRO’s staff and show their willing to work with MIRO. On the last day of the trip, MIRO’s team went to Roka Kroav commune office to get an interview from the commune chief. Roka Kroav’s commune chief had shared resident’s data and the situation in the commune that he governs. The commune chief showed his willing to work with MIRO as well.
Residents expressed many of their concerns when interviewed by MIRO’s team. These concerns included that Khmer Khrom people lived with bad condition, such as up to 9 families sharing one home and have to sleep above or alongside their livestock in some cases. Most of their children are unable to go to school because of their family’s living condition and some children have no legal documentation to register in state schools. Furthermore, most Khmer Krom families living without owning any properties, they have no house or land to their own, by just rent the house to stay. All Khmer Krom families wish to get a social land concession from the government.
All communities’ that were investigated reported the vast majority of their population living under poor conditions with some of them living without legal documentation and find it difficult to gain access to work on the mainland partly because of it. Residents worry about their children’s future because of being unable to access state schools because of the family’s living condition and lack of legal documents. The living conditions were very concerning, as MIRO noticed a possible infection in a group of canines in Roka Kroav.
Challenge of research trip
During the research trip in the Takeo province, there were some challenges because of Khmer Krom families living in a small group by group basis. They have to leave home for work early morning because of their financial condition, so it was so hard to get an interview with them.
After our research we found that members of all communities continue to remain open and willing to work with MIRO in order to help support efforts for these communities to have an opportunity and rights as well a better living condition. We found that all of Khmer Krom residents living with a bad condition they do not have a house of their own or any properties.
The local authorities also show their willingness to work with MIRO as well. Further dates for analyze the feedback and gather further legal research on how to best support the needs of these Khmer Krom communities in order to be able to better plan how to undertake its Statelessness project plan. Furthermore, MIRO sent a report to a Veterinary in Phnom Penh in case the canine infection was impacting the Roka Kroav community’s health and how they could be able to treat it.