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Youth to Protest Vietnam Land Grabs

May Titthara / Khmer Times Share:
The Cambodian Youth Party is urging the public to join their protest against Vietnam. Supplied

The Cambodian Youth Party (CYP) is urging the public to join a mass demonstration on October 10 against Vietnam, due to what they say is a continued encroachment by the neighboring country on Cambodian territory through two settlements currently under construction.
 
In an announcement sent out to the media yesterday, the CYP said that the demonstration will start at the Vietnamese embassy in Phnom Penh before protesters are expected to march south to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
 
“The Vietnamese side has violated the country’s eastern territory without respecting the country’s sovereignty and they aren’t afraid of international law either,” the announcement read, adding that the public should take to the streets to “protect the territorial integrity” of Cambodia.
 
The announcement added that this came after the Vietnamese government failed to respond to the CYP’s letter of demand, sent on August 29, urging Vietnam to cease all activities being carried out inside Cambodian territory.
 
CYP president Pich Sros told Khmer Times that according to data he received last week, approximately 500 participants were ready to join the demonstrations against Vietnam next month.
 
Minority Rights Organization official Seorn Chumsothun added that it supported any initiative to protect the sovereignty of Cambodia, including the CYP’s protest.
 
“We do not mind which political party it is. As long as it is to serve society, we will support it, such as this case against Vietnam because Vietnam is defiantly violating Cambodia’s sovereignty and has never responded to the requests from Cambodia, although Cambodia has sent diplomatic notes to postpone the action [construction of the settlements],” he told Khmer Times.
 
In July, provincial authorities in Ratanakiri province said Vietnamese soldiers had built two settlements in the O Koma area near border pole No. 30 in Pok Nhai commune in O Yadav district, violating an agreement between both countries that prohibits any constructions near boundary lines that have not yet been demarcated.
 
Apart from the two settlements, at least eight ponds, approximately four by eight meters wide and three to four meters deep, were dug by Vietnamese soldiers in the area near Pok Nhai commune in April according to local residents in the area.
 
Provincial officials in Ratanakiri later rejected a request by the Vietnamese government to allow them to construct buildings and a border checkpoint in O’Yadav district, yet soldiers from across the border have continued to dig ponds and build structures in the area. Residents, police and provincial government officials have reported non-stop construction by Vietnamese soldiers over the past year.
 
Government officials have sent more than 20 diplomatic notices to the Vietnamese embassy – the most recent coming at the end of July – but have yet to receive a response.
 
The issue of border demarcation between Cambodia and Vietnam has been one of the biggest political issues over the past year, with the opposition having accused the government of intentionally ceding large portions of land to Vietnam by using unverified border maps.
 
In August, a Joint Border Committee meeting between both countries ended with no resolution as the two nations could not agree on a variety of issues, including the need for arbitration by France in the demarcation process.
 
Authorities report that the land border between Cambodia and Vietnam is 1,270 kilometers long. In March, National Police officials claimed that 89 percent of the demarcation had been completed after they had planted 282 border posts from a total of 314 along the Cambodia-Vietnam border.

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