Vietnam Populist Party
Jobs, schooling and state resources are closed to those without papers
After a lifetime in Cambodia, a battered carnet de residence bearing poorly transliterated Vietnamese names is all that 41-year-old Nguyen Thi Kim has to show for it. Though she, her parents, and her children were born in Cambodia, none possess any other papers suggesting ties to the country.
“We don’t have an ID card because no one has offered it to us,” she says with a shrug. “Maybe it’s not our time yet?”
Rivalries among the political elite are exacerbating divides and allowing urgent problems to fester. Can anyone stop the rot?
In the past few months, I've been unable to escape an ominous sense that the political situation in Burma is on the wrong track. There are two main reasons for my anxiety. First, Burma is undergoing a leadership crisis. Second, the possibility of large-scale social unrest is increasing.
Eight months ago, I wrote a post explaining why the deepening divisions within the country's political elites were undermining my previous feeling of cautious optimism. I tried to describe a general state of anxiety caused by rising communal violence, widespread hate speech against religious minorities, worsening poverty, and intensifying political rivalries. Back then, however, the substantive reasons for the disagreements within the troika of President Thein Sein, House Speaker Thura Shwe Mann, and democracy champion Aung San Suu Kyi weren't entirely clear.
But now the contenders have taken off their gloves, and their fundamental political differences are starting to come out into the open.
A Speculative Assessment by Derek Tonkin
29 March 2014
After three years of remarkable progress, commentators are wondering whether the reform process in Myanmar might be running out of steam. Some Western politicians undoubtedly cherished unreasonable expectations about the pace of the transition to democracy. More generally, the outcome of the Arab 'Spring' has shattered many illusions. Transitions are seen to be fraught with difficulties.
There has been a concerted, possibly inspired campaign against the National Census which is due to start on 30 March 2014, counting the population as at midnight tonight. In some cases, I suspect an intention to destabilise, as there is never likely to be a good time for a Census in any nation in transition. It is on balance better that the deed were done now, rather than wait until later.
There is trouble in Sittwe. Almost 100 years ago in 1917, Arakan Commissioner RB Smart recorded the serious problems which Sittwe (Akyab) faced as a result of the influx of Chittagonians which, he feared, might well mean that "the Arakanese proper might not survive long". Today, however, it is the Rakhine who have driven most residents of Islamic faith from Sittwe, leaving the ghetto of Aung Mingalar as their last bastion, under constant threat.
Limbo on Earth: The Situation of Stateless Ethnic Vietnamese in Cambodia. A Case Study from Kampong Chhnang
For immediate release: 18 March 2014
Minority Rights Organization launches fact-finding report
Barred from Citizenship, Ethnic Vietnamese in Kampong Chhnang Suffer Deprivation from Basic Human Rights
Today, the Minority Rights Organization (MIRO) presents its new report “Limbo on Earth: The Situation of Stateless Ethnic Vietnamese in Cambodia. A Case Study from Kampong Chhnang”. The report reveals how ethnic Vietnamese, who have been living in Cambodia for several generations, hold no identification papers and are consequently deprived of their most fundamental human rights.
The importance of national identity is still not recognized effectively by the Government of Cambodia. This report illustrates the consequences for ethnic Vietnamese who are deprived citizenship in Cambodia. It highlights the poverty of their living conditions, their lack of access to education, the deplorable situations in the floating villages on the Tonle Sap River and their exclusion from economic, social and political life.
The lack of identification papers is the root cause of all other difficulties faced by stateless Vietnamese in Cambodia and due to this lack of identity they face widespread discrimination and exploitation. This has dire consequences on their access to healthcare, education, justice in court, social security, freedom of movement, transfer of assets, and housing.
Obtaining identification papers is the most crucial requirement for ethnic Vietnamese, following the procedure provided in the 1996 Law on Nationality. As the status of all those born after 1996 complies with the law, at least the young ethnic Vietnamese should be granted citizenship. It is of paramount importance to act upon these issues, as the problems will only exacerbate and intensify if not solved in the near future.
This is particularly important for the children who are subject to this discrimination. Children have an inherent and fundamental right to be registered. This is the only way they can enjoy other fundamental human rights, such as education.
As ethnic Vietnamese hold neither Cambodian nor Vietnamese identity cards, they must be considered as stateless.
Please find attached the full report.
Minority Rights Organization (MIRO)
For further information please contact:
Mr. ANG Chanrith Tel. 012-934 802
Mr. SOURN Butmao Tel. 011-919 979
Ms. Judith KUNZE Tel. 017-875734
For thousands of years under harsh rule by Chinese invasions, the Vietnamese never escaped from their native country. However at the end of the so-called “Vietnam War”, millions of people risked their lives seeking freedom. Unfortunately it is widely believed that hundreds of thousands people perished in the open water while escaping Vietnam. In the meantime another hundreds of thousands of people who moved to Cambodia for their own safety and survival are not living in a stable present, or with the assurance of a certain future.
The people of Vietnam and Cambodia have been victimized by along history of political crisis in their own countries, and between the two countries as well.
Laos and Cambodia share the same West border of Vietnam, but only Cambodian has a rough relationship with Vietnam. It is not only caused by the change of border between two countries, but the political climate affects the region. People from both countries have made serious accusations. The main problems, though, are clearly not from the people but the policies of both current governments.