Khmer Krom Project

MIRO Projects in Support of Khmer Krom

Monitoring Khmer Krom Rights:

The Cambodian Khmer Krom are regularly subjected to human rights violations. Khmer Krom are barred from speaking out for their rights and do not enjoy the benefits of fair procedure in either the Cambodian or Vietnamese legal systems. As well as this, Khmer Krom are subject to substandard living conditions – many have no access to identification papers, resulting in a lack of access to education or secure land tenure, reduced employment opportunities and diminished access to travel documents. In response, MIRO seeks to conducts a number of activities to protect the human rights of Khmer Krom, supporting them in the struggle to receive the rights and protections they are entitled to. This project, funded by the Norwegian Human Rights Fund, focuses on the rights of both the Khmer Krom community in Cambodia as a whole, as well as the specific rights violations faced by Khmer Krom activists. The project’s main activities are:

  • Conducting investigations and reporting on Khmer Krom human rights violations, as well as follow-up investigations. This is integral to understand the changing nature of Khmer Krom human rights.
  • Providing legal assistance and finding lawyers for both Khmer Krom human rights activists and other Khmer Krom people in need of legal support.
  • Advocating and lobbying Cambodian government authorities to address rights issues regarding Khmer Krom.
  • Compiling reports, press releases, petitions, and statements to increase public awareness of the challenges facing the Khmer Krom.

Decreasing Statelessness Among Khmer Krom in Cambodia and Protecting Khmer Krom Asylum Seekers and Refugees in Thailand:

As many as 360 000 Khmer Krom currently live as stateless people in Cambodia, without the rights protections and access to social services provided by citizenship. This situation exists despite guarantees of citizenship from the Cambodian government, as Khmer Krom face many challenges and burdens in the process of receiving documentation. As well, Khmer Krom people seeking protection under refugee status abroad struggle to do so. In response, MIRO projects aim to reduce statelessness by improving access to Cambodian citizenship, and supports Khmer Krom asylum seekers.

The project focuses on the following activities:

  • Conducts training sessions for Khmer Krom seeking citizenship on relevant domestic and international laws, and application processes for Khmer identification cards.
  • Conducts discussions between community members, NGOs, local and national authorities on issues of Khmer Krom statelessness.
  • Advocates for the enforcement of existing nationality laws guaranteeing citizenship for Khmer Krom.
  • Advocates for Cambodian parliamentarians to create new policies addressing statelessness.
  • Provides legal support for stateless Khmer Krom persons.
  • Conduct further research into issues of statelessness.
  • Conducts training for Khmer Krom seeking asylum and refugee status in Thailand on the UNHCR refugee status application process.
  • Lobbies and advocates for the UNHCR to protect the rights of Khmer Krom asylum seekers in Thailand.
  • Collaborates with local, national, regional, and international refugee and stateless persons networks, as well as the media, to safeguard the rights of Khmer Krom stateless people and refugees.

Khmer Krom women:

Based on research conducted in August and September 2013, MIRO found that the social and political issues facing the Khmer Krom disproportionately affect women. In particular, MIRO found that women were subject to an inability to meaningfully participate in the political process in Cambodia, gender-based discrimination and domestic violence. As well, MIRO found that when women were subjected to human rights abuse, they were incapable of bringing complaints to appropriate authorities. To address these issues, MIRO has developed a project based on increasing Khmer Krom women’s understanding of human rights and gender discrimination, increasing knowledge about political processes, and informing women on legal processes to seek justice regarding their human rights.

The main activities carried out in this project are:

  • Providing legal assistance on writing complaints to police and courts, and seeking lawyers and advocates to help represent Khmer Krom women in court.
  • Conducting investigations and reporting on women’s issues (domestic violence, assault, and rape) in the Khmer Krom community, for dissemination through the government, NGOs, general public and international community.
  • Strengthening women’s community networks and providing them with advocacy skills to address their issues.
  • Advocating and lobbying authorities to reform policy to end the exclusion of Khmer Krom women from the political process.
  • In cooperation with the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung e.V.( Heinrich Böll Foundation), MIRO conducts workshops to increase Khmer Krom women’s knowledge of the political process, deepen understanding of gender discrimination, and create a greater understanding of the human rights they are entitled to.

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