Lack of ID ‘root cause’ of ethnic Vietnamese problems

A lack of identification papers is the key obstacle preventing ethnic Vietnamese living in Kompong Chhnang province from enjoying the same rights as Khmer citizens, according to a survey released Tuesday. In the new report, the Minority Rights Organization (MIRO) found that ethnic Vietnamese are often denied identification papers—even when their families have lived in Cambodia for generations. This practice deprives them of access to education and leaves them economically, socially and politically ostracized. … The consequences of this deprivation of citizenship include “the poverty of their living conditions, the lack of access to education, the deplorable situations in floating villages on the Tonle Sap river and the denial of participation in an economic, social and political life.” … Last year, during the national election, Cambodians of Vietnamese descent reported being turned away from polling stations by angry mobs in Kandal province. MIRO’s report found that 97 percent of respondents were turned away when trying to vote because they lacked the proper paperwork.

Lauren Crothers