Cambodia: Roza Dao speaks at the 6th UN Forum on Minority Issues in Geneva
At the UN Forum on Minority Issues in Geneva on 26-27 November 2013, Mrs Roza Dao spoke to delegates on behalf of the Cham National Federation of Cambodia, an NGO representing the interests of the Champa minority community. The theme of the intervention was "beyond freedom of religion or belief: guaranteeing the rights of religious minorities".
Read the full text of Roza Dao's speech below:
Madam Chair, Ladies and Gentlemen;
My name is Roza Dao, and I represent for interests of some 1 million of the people of Champa descent living in Cambodia, and their organization “The Cham National Federation of Cambodia” in Sweden.
The Cham National Federation of Cambodia was legally founded in 2003 as a Cambodian NGO, and operates at a national level. It is working towards revitalization and spread of the Cham history, culture and language in Cambodia.
The people of Champa descent in Cambodia practice two types of religion, such as a larger group called “Khmer Islam Orthodox Branch" and a small group called “Cham Kan Imam Sann Traditional Branch”.
The Cham National Federation of Cambodia has an essential role in advocating for protection of the human rights of small group “Cham Kan Imam Sann Traditional Branch”, or called Cham Bani Community.
The population of Cham Bani Kan Imam Sann community is 50 thousand people. They practice Champa ancestral belief.
Though the Cham Bani Kan Imam Sann community are generally free to practice their religion in Cambodia, but their Cham language is not used as medium of instruction in state schools, even in areas where Cham Bani Kan Imam Sann community are concentrated.
I welcome the undertaking by the Royal Government of Cambodia to pursue guaranteeing the rights of religious minorities in accordance with its international human rights obligations.
I request to the UN Forum on Minority Issues to recommend the following:
That the Royal Government of Cambodia protects Cham Bani Kan Imam Sann community through the promotion and protection of their Cham culture and language, including by taking measures in the field of education to foster knowledge of the Cham culture and language within a Cambodian society.
That the Royal Government of Cambodia considers providing support to the work of Academy on Issues Related to People of Champa Descent legally based in Sweden to initiate research programs and projects relevant to the Cham Bani Kan Imam Sann community as a people of Champa descent living at diasporic condition in Cambodia.
For more information on the Cham National federation of Cambodia, visit their website here: www.peoplechampadescent.com