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A Boat Without Anchors: Ethnic Vietnamese Minority Populations in Cambodia By Lyma Nguyen & Christoph Sperfeldt.

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Presentation on theme: "A Boat Without Anchors: Ethnic Vietnamese Minority Populations in Cambodia By Lyma Nguyen & Christoph Sperfeldt."— Presentation transcript:

1 A Boat Without Anchors: Ethnic Vietnamese Minority Populations in Cambodia By Lyma Nguyen & Christoph Sperfeldt

2 Overview of the Project Ethnic Vietnamese Survivors of the Khmer Rouge regime applied to participate as civil parties in the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia Cambodian Nationality was raised as a reparation measure for damage suffered during the Khmer Rouge Regime Pilot project implemented in 2012, in collaboration with Jesuit Refugee Service Cambodia to assess the legal status of these individual claims.

3 Historical Context Ethnic Vietnamese groups have lived in Cambodia throughout contemporary history, migrating throughout the lower Mekong region, reached a height during French colonial time ( ) First wave of persecution occurred after independence, culminating in the Khmer Rouge’s policy of expelling and forcefully deporting ethnic Vietnamese minority from Cambodia

4 Contemporary Context During People’s Republic of Kampuchea ( ), the Vietnamese backed government encouraged new phase of immigration from Vietnam into Cambodia After UNTAC mission, violent attacks on ethnic Vietnamese communities occurred again. The situation is more peaceful today, but tension do sometimes boil over, and there exists social and political reluctance for recognition

5 Kampong Chhnang Focal group comprises approx 1,500-1,600 families residing on ‘floating villages’ All respondents were born in Cambodia, forcibly deported by the KR regime then returned after 1980.

6 Why Citizenship Matters Without citizenship, the group faces an array of legal, political, economic and social disadvantages: ◦ Difficulty in accessing employment ◦ Inability to access healthcare and education ◦ Inability to open bank account ◦ Inability to purchase land

7 Cambodian Law 1996 Law on Nationality ◦ Article 2: Any person of Khmer nationality/citizenship is a Khmer citizen. ◦ Provides for gaining citizen under both jus sanguinis (right of blood) and jus soli (right of territory) principles ◦ Law stipulate (Article 16) for the creation of sub-decree with regards to naturalisation, but no sub-decree have been issued.

8 Findings None of the interviewees were able to show documents establishing or proving current nationality status Difficult to establish documentary evidence to allow their claim to citizenship No effective formal administrative mechanisms and procedures to receive and determine their claims

9 Findings - Conclusion Cambodian authorities do not consider this group as Cambodian nationals under its law, they are treated as ‘foreign residents’ or ‘immigrants’ Vietnamese authorities does not currently view the group as its own citizens. The study therefore concluded that the group appears to be stateless. However, given the limited information available, further research is needed for more conclusive determination

10 Recommendations Expand universal birth registration Build the capacity of local authorities Raise awareness among ethnic Vietnamese communities on rights and avenues Explore the recognition of Cambodian citizenship to minority populations Expand development activities for communities at risk of statelessness Interpret national legislations in accordance to international human rights obligations

11 Questions / Comments


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