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NGOs demand ID cards for Kampuchea Krom

Zahron Sokry / Khmer Times Share:
Son Chum Chuon, senior programme director at the Khmer Kampuchea Krom for Human Rights and Development Association. KT/Chor Sokunthea

Three local NGOs are to request a meeting with the Interior Minister to discuss the granting of ID cards to Kampuchea Krom people living in Cambodia.

Son Chum Chuon, senior programme director at the Khmer Kampuchea Krom for Human Rights and Development Association, said his organisation would send a letter next month to ask for a meeting with Minister Sar Kheng.

The Alliance for Conflict Transformation and the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights will also sign the letter.

He said his association and other rights organisations want the ministry to grant and renew ID cards for Khmer Krom people living in the country.

Khmer Krom citizens in Siem Reap province claimed local officials refused to issue ID cards to them without giving any clear reasons, saying they were waiting on orders from top officials, said Mr Choun.

“Some authorities alleged those citizens were from the opposition party and immigrants,” Mr Choun said.

More than 100 Khmer Krom people who live in Siem Reap province have not yet received ID cards, he added.

Some citizens have had their old documents confiscated because of alleged irregularities with their names and dates of birth, which were said to differ from birth certificates, residential books and ID cards, Mr Choun said.

Khmer Krom people were not only denied ID cards, but the authorities also refused to issue land titles to them when they bought plots of land or houses, he said, accusing authorities of discrimination.

Identification officials in Siem Reap could not be reached for comment.

However, Siem Reap deputy police chief Koam Sophal said the issue was related to the technical processes required to issue ID cards, saying the Khmer Krom people might have lacked the necessary documents to show officials.

He advised people who were refused ID cards to take up the matter with local authorities and commune chiefs.

Mr Choun added the ministry must intervene to grant ID cards to Khmer Krom people across the country, not only in Siem Reap.

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