Empowerment of Khmer Krom Women to Political Participation and Gender Equality

A) Brief Description of the project

With funding from Heinrich-Böll-Foundation, MIRO has implemented its project“Empowerment of Khmer Krom Women to Political Participation and GenderEquality” from January to December 2015. The project is a component of the three years project plan 2015-2017.

1. Project Goals and Objectives

Goal: Khmer Krom Women access to equal rights and participation in decision making processes as well as their rights are protect by law.

Objective: 1. To increase the understanding of women rights and gender equality in Khmer Krom communities and build the capacity of Khmer Krom women to advocate for their rights. 2. To encourage Khmer Krom Women to actively participate in communal development and political decision making.

2. Project Indicators

– 40% of Khmer Krom female and male participants of the training workshops have a better understanding of gender equality;

– 60% of Khmer Krom female and male participants of the training workshops have a better understanding of commune development and political participation;

– 15% of Khmer Krom women seek outside help to deal with issues of domestic violence within their families;

– 15% of Khmer Krom women can successfully solve their problems with the authorities;

– 15% of Khmer Krom women participate actively within the community;

– 45% of Khmer Krom women and men participants confront issues of gender inequality and domestic violence in their homes and the wider community, resulting in reduced domestic violence and gender inequality;

– 20% of Khmer Krom women participants file a rights complaint on behalf of themselves or another community member;

– 70% of the workshop participants express an understanding of the importance of commune development and political participation;

– Stakeholders pay more attention to the situation of Khmer Krom and the media covers their issues.

3. Project Outline

As a preparation for the main activities which consisted the whole day workshop to approx. 25 Khmer Krom women in three different communities in three different provinces, first training materials were compiled. Provincial staff sought a venue with adequate facilities and invited the participants from nearby communities. During the workshop, the concept of relevant human right, gender equality, domestic violence and advocacy were explained and their implications for the lives of participants discussed. Afterwards, advocacy and communication skill were trained so that the women are equipped with practical experiences on how to proceed in cases of problems related to domestic violence or other issues within the commune, who to address to seek resolution and how to address the commune or provincial authorities, police, courts and other stakeholders. After the workshop, provincial staff followed up on how participants made use what their have learned in the training workshop by conducting interview with at least 3-5 persons after each event. They also provide advice and support in individual cases, when required. The project will incorporate these needs of Khmer Krom women and reach its goal by following the consecutive and interrelated steps

1. Build a sound foundation of awareness of women rights and gender equality

2. Incorporate women rights into the broader context of the commune in the communities; build capacity to deal with issues thwarting gender equality (for instance domestic violence) and provide advocacy skills. development and encourage activities for social and political participation of Khmer Krom women.

4. Planned project activities

– To disseminate information and raise awareness among Khmer Krom women in three

– To disseminate information to and raise the awareness of Khmer Krom women for communities(in Takeo, Koh Kong and Sihanouk vile province) for women’s right, gender equality and domestic violence as well as built their capacity to advocate for their rights(one day workshop with 25 participants, in three communities); communal development and political participation and build their capacity to actively participate in their communal life (a one day workshop for at least 25 participants); seek joint approaches to women’s involvement in communal life;

– To advocate with local authorities about women’s rights and domestic violence, and

– To provide assistance in obtaining identification papers and other relevant documents.

B) Development of project


Training workshop

Two Training Workshops were organized during April and May 2015.MIRO has conducted the training workshops on women’s rights, gender equality, domestic violence and advocacy to the Khmer Krom women and men. First held in Sre Ambel town of Koh Kong province on 28 April  2015. There were 25 Khmer Krom participants attended the workshop. 5 out of 25 participants were men. The second workshop held in Sihanoukville of Preah Sihanouk province on 29 May 2015. 25 participants were attended, of which5 were men. Total number of Khmer Krom for two provinces that attended the workshop were 50 participants, there were 10 men. The main issues of the training are: Domestic violence, gender equality, human rights, women’s rights, children’s rights and advocacy skills. All topics were give a new knowledge to participants because most of them never join workshop like this before. Participants were learn, discussion, share new idea, ask a question and answer with trainers and other participants, so their understand and can bring many important points to share with other people in community for apply all knowledge to their lives. All participants were got a learning material and other documents were collected from other NGOs that related to the workshop were distribute to participants , allow them to read and study more at home, when their understand clearly ,they can share the information with friends, family and community members. The facilitators/trainers of the training workshop (Koh Kong and Preah Sihanouk) were fromMIRO namely:

1-Mr. Sourn Butmao, Executive Director of MIRO as trainer

2-Mr. Noun Sovanrith, Deputy Director of MIRO as trainer

3-Mrs. Suon Sovann, Project Officer of MIRO as trainer

4-Ms.Hang Saruon MIRO’s key person at Koh Kong province as assistance

5-Mr.Khieng Vankhet MIRO’s key person at Preah Sihanouk province as assistance

6-Mr. Sam Backton MIRO’s intern as assistance

7-Ms.Lauren MIRO’s intern as assistance

8-Mr. Khorn Sokheng MIRO’s intern as assistance.

Method use in the training workshop: presentation and explanation, questions and answers, small group discussion or all participants together, brainstorming, exercises , role play, feedback, illustrated and picture, storytelling, sharing personal experiences and some real life story of participants. The trainer made use of these methods because is a good way for participants easy to understand and remember , please note that some of them are low education .During workshop participants were raise a question related to the topics of the workshop and their live. At the end of lecture of the workshop at Koh Kong province, three participants were raise a question and common: Ms. Kop Chantha asked a question, She said that, she live with family that often have a domestic violence, when her husband drunk he was curse her and bite their children, she said that what can I do for stop violence in my family?. Ms. Phalla was said that gender equality and women rights are very useful for Khmer Krom community, because women always think that, their only a house wife, all work outside and inside, men are decide and manage in their family, but after training workshop, women’s have gain a knowledge about their rights, so she said that she will share with women in communities. Mr. Thach Vanna said that is a first time for me to attend a workshop, I ‘m very happy to be here because I can learn, share some idea, have a group discussion and share a real life story with all participants. I will bring important points from the workshop to share with my relative and people in community. For workshop at Preah Sihanouk province, two participants raised a personal problem and concern regarding domestic violence and three more participants were raised a questions and comments. Ms. Nop Nguon complained that her husband always curse her and her son. She asked MIRO for help to educate her husband to stop this violence. She said that the commune chief used to educate him but he would keep doing it again and again, and she also requested to lower the cost to make a family book (now it costs around 50$). Ms. Roeung Ren also has a problem with her husband in regard to domestic violence. She said that her husband gets drunk every day, and when he comes back home, he tortures her and their children, psychologically and sometimes physically. She needs help from the authorities and NGOs because she gets very sad on a daily basis. Ms. So Suong asked how does the Cambodia Constitution classify Khmer Krom (Khmer Krom as Khmer or Khmer Krom as a minority)? They asked MIRO to explain this situation to them. The participants suggested that the next workshop should be clarifying about this case. . Mr. Yim Yorn said that they were interested in this workshop because they can learn more about domestic violence and who can help them when this problem happens. Ms. Sreng Sam Art commented that the workshop gave her a lot of knowledge related to living in the community, and said some people still think that women should only stay at home to take care of the children and the family, but now women have the right to attain all kinds of jobs in society. Training workshop follow- up : MIRO provincial staff in the three provinces were conduct follow-up activities by interview the participants after workshop , their families and other people in community for measure how their apply new knowledge with people in community. The provincial staffs were also responsible to provide assistance to people in community as to help Khmer Krom in community to get Khmer certificate, family book , birth certificate , mediate problem were happened in community, make good cooperation with local authority for reduce discrimination to Khmer Krom.

Advocacy work and legal aid During the project implementation time, MIRO advocated on the legal status of Khmer Krom as well as on behalf of Khmer Krom communities and individuals. As well, MIRO key’s person at Takeo province were facilitate with local authorizes to issue national identity papers to ensure citizenship to Khmer Krom, intervene when have land issue and other case as happened in communities. For example MIRO’s key person was went to Deum Ampil village,Rorka Krau commune ,Krong Donkeo, Takeo province to meet 5 targets families for statistic’s checking who not yet have identity card, family book, staying book and other documents related to their daily use , because MIRO will bring them to make its. MIRO’s provincial staff have contact with district police already, Mr. Sokhom statistic’s police was said that he always coordinate with Khmer Krom for make all needed documents for them, no have discrimination between Khmer Krom and Khmer. So MIRO’s key person will bring them to do it’s on early July,2015.Another case related to land issues at SangkomThmey village, Borey Choulsa district, Takeo province that 6 Khmer Krom people were have to call to court for investigate ,in the case of cut down forest illegal , please note that their were lives there long time ago from 1984 .Now 6 Khmer Krom were need some help from civil society to find attorney ,MIRO’s key person at Takeo province were run to ask attorney at ADHOC association for help them, attorney accept to help this case without pay. The process of this case will proceed of mid-July, 2015. MIRO’s key person at Preah Sihanouk province was mediate domestic violence case at Phum 1, Sangkat 4. MIRO’s key person will support one more case about the three children dropt the school after their mother was die and their farther who is the worker’s income is very low can’t support their study .MIRO’s key person will go to meet local authority and the school director to find the solution for those three children to go on their study. This poor family is live in group 21, Phum 1, Sangkat 4, Preah Sihanouk province. MIRO’s Key person at Koh Kong province was mediate domestic violence case in Trapeang village, Trapeang commune, Sre Ambel district , son in law always bite and curse his mother in happen family become unhappy and very dangerous to family member if serious case happen , and himself will against anti- domestic violence law. So now he understands and stops violence to his family. MIRO provincial staff will continues to help people in communities by advocate through good cooperation with all level of authority and NGOs in the province, we hope that Khmer Krom people will have more better of life living, discrimination will reduce; right of life will be recognized as Cambodian people too.


After having attended the training workshop, over 85% of the participants said that their very interesting all topics in the workshop, especially human’s rights, domestic violence, gender equality, and advocacy, they were show strong commitment that, their will bring new knowledge and understanding from the workshop to share with friends and family and will be direct practice what their gain from the workshop to promote human rights in their communities. For example: Two participants in Koh Kong province were show their interested after workshop Ms. Phalla said that gender equality and women rights are very useful for Khmer Krom community, because women always think that ,their only a house wife , all work outside and inside men are decide and manage in their family , but after training workshop, women’s have gain a knowledge about their rights to join all activities in society depend on their capacity and skill, so she said that she will share with women in communities. Mr. Thach Vanna said that is a first time for me to attend a workshop, I ‘m very happy to be here because I can learn, share some idea, have a group discussion and share a real life story with all participants. I will bring important points from the workshop to share with my relative and people in community. At Preah Sihanouk province after workshop participants were give idea related to the workshop, Mr. Yim Yorn said that he was interested in this workshop because he can learn more about domestic violence and who can help victim when the problem happen. Ms. Sreng Sam Art commented that the workshop gave her a lot of knowledge related to life living in community, before some people still think that women should only stay at home to take care of the children and the family, but now based on gender equality and women right, women have rights to attend all kinds of jobs in society. After the end of the workshop, 70 % of participants had shared about their happy feeling of getting knowledge from the workshop. They mentioned that, this workshop is very important for them and the whole Khmer Krom community’s members to understand about their rights for living and be protected by local authority as Cambodian people. Advocacy is good way for people use when they want to change everything become better, it a message or activities that people use when meet problem in their life or their work. Example: Land abuse is the facing problem were happened all over Cambodia long time ago until now, for resolution by authorities of those cases some positive, some negative and sometime got a serious. So 70 percent of participants focus on skill of advocacy because when problem happened, if we use non-violence advocacy, they will got a good result, like some people live in Boeung Kok their try to advocate until success. Some factory worker also have a problem with small benefit, so they find what their want by advocacy to all level of government institute and stakeholder ,so finally their got result like monthly benefit were better than before. Domestic violent is the main issue for Khmer Krom community and after participated in workshop all participants can understand a lot with the related law and regulation against domestic violent. 80% of participants mentioned that they just only though that domestic violent is only the problem of the own family so other people beside family members shouldn’t care of those family issue, but after participants this workshop they can understand that domestic violent is not only each family’s issue but the whole community’s issue and all communities member have authorize and duty to stop, intervene, and report to local authority when the violent happen. All participants in the workshop said that they will share these important knowledge to their neighbors and they hope that the community will living in peace and develop. Most of participants showed strong interest in the topic presented, they said that will bring their have learn and documents to distribute with people in community .They appreciate in particular to share their new knowledge in their communities and practice it when cases of domestic violence take place in the communities. Therefore, the participants and who not yet attend the workshop were requested MIRO to conduct more training workshop in the future, are the same and new topics, but should be focus on human rights, domestic violence and gender equality as well as have a more intense application of their knowledge i.e. spend more time with explanation, questions and answers, group discussion, use more picture for easy to understand and practicing their skill in role plays.  For the result of interview with 15 participants in communities after workshop for three provinces namely: Takeo, Koh Kong and Preah Sihanouk, 80 % of participants were very interesting the topics of domestic violence, women rights, child right ,they said that, ” in communities domestic violence still a big problem because some people not yet know how to stop it, who can help them, what the law can protect them before ,during and after domestic violence happened , so now they were share their knowledge that with family, friends and people in communities, now some problem were cut down step by step.70 % of participants interest on gender equality, human rights and advocacy because in community some Khmer Krom people rarely have chance to join a meeting or workshop , so that workshop was very useful for them to improve new knowledge for themself and all people in communities. Some of them said that after people understand about their rights, anti- domestic violence law and advocacy, they can know how to use it’s for become better lives and peaceful in communities. Most of them were recommends to have continues more workshop as the same topics and add more new topics for all Khmer Krom to learn and use for their daily life. They believe that communities, society will become more better if people know about their right, rights to attend, stop discrimination between men and women and find solution by using advocacy without


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 Retreat on resolving statelessness in the Asia Pacific held on 15-16 June 2015 at Bangkok, Thailand co-hosted by APRRN and UNHCR. During the report period, MIRO will start running three projects as following:1. 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 and plan to recruit 25 needy children for one more class “grade 1”. needy children 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.

2. Project “Decreasing Statelessness Among Former Ethnic Vietnamese and Khmer Krom Refugees in Cambodia”. Funded by GIZ Cambodia. Through this project, MIRO seeks to empower stateless VN and KK by helping them to understand the related law and their rights, to have these rights enforced, to increase the awareness on Cambodian local and national authority levels for the need to review existing or formulate new policies on statelessness and to fill the gaps in and enforce the laws concerning stateless persons, and to seek justice and legal solutions for discrimination and human rights violations against ethnic Vietnamese and Khmer Krom. The project is implemented in three provinces: Kampong Chhnang, Pursat, and Takeo.

3. 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.


In the next following report period, MIRO will conduct of new topic for the workshop on Awareness raising for communal developments and political participation ,which will take place in Takeo town /Takeo province, Sre Ambel district in Koh Kong province and in Sihanouk town/province. Subsequently, MIRO provincial staff will assist to advocate Khmer Krom are not obtaining any legal documents with relevant authorities.

C) Developments and events in the project country

Khmer Krom communities suffer from dire poverty, health problems, unemployment and lack of income sources, education and landlessness. If their living condition is not improved, this will violate their most basic human rights. These grievances are ignored by both the Cambodian society and government, despite of legal promises to Cambodian citizenship. Although, Cambodia National Rescue Party MPs have taken their seats in the National Assembly at the end of July 2014, after the 2013 election deadlock, and have started raising contentious issues such as the legal and social status of Khmer Krom. This is important to allow Khmer Krom to be able to exercise their right to vote in the national election in 2018. Based on their needs, MIRO pursues its own mission to support the minority groups in particular to improve their social, political and economic integration in the near future. MIRO plans to approach the Cambodian Government and request a clarification of its policy regarding Khmer Krom and to issue guidelines that allow for Khmer Krom to become Cambodian nationals. If omitted, the rights of Khmer Krom in Cambodia will continue to be violated and their access to state services denied.

D) Concluding the report

MIRO work is slowly trying to improve the quality of life for the Khmer Krom and ethnic Vietnamese communities in Cambodia, especially for women, by using its projects and workshops, such as by trying to help educate them of Human, Women and child rights. Though there has been some initial success so far, MIRO is going to continue to advocate to the Cambodian Government and request a clarification of its policy regarding Khmer Krom and to issue guidelines that allow for Khmer Krom and ethnic Vietnamese to become Cambodian nationals.

E) Appendices

Report of the training workshop in Koh Kong on 28 April 2015 and Preah Sihanouk on 29 May 2015 and picture of training activities are included in the report.

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