For Immediate Release: Wednesday March 18, 2015
Activists call for an end to US deportations to Cambodia at the United Nations
Geneva, Switzerland – Naroen Chhin, Chanravy Proeung, and Chhaya Chhoum hail from Cambodian-American communities in Philadelphia, Providence, and the Bronx. This week they represent the Southeast Asian Freedom Network (SEAFN) delegation to the United Nations for the 22nd Session of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the United States of America with the US Human Rights Network. The UPR is a mechanism of the United Nations Human Rights Council to review the human rights performance of all 193 UN Member States. The US is reviewed every four years, and this time will include the voices of Cambodian-American communities calling for an end to US deportations to Cambodia.
The SEAFN delegation will cite US human rights violations against the Cambodian community from 8 years of illegal US bombing of the Cambodian countryside beginning in 1965, to the secret signing of the US-Cambodia Repatriation Agreement that began the deportation crisis in the Cambodian-American community in 2002. SEAFN will call for “immediate recourse to begin to rectify over five decades of US human rights violations that have torn Cambodian families apart from Cambodia to the US, and back again.”
Chhaya Chhoum of Mekong NYC, stated, “US militarism in Southeast Asia led our country into genocide and war. Our families continue to experience deep trauma, and we must organize to heal our communities every day, this includes holding the US accountable for these conditions in our families and communities.” In addition to war trauma, “As Cambodian-Americans we were placed into a system of policing, criminalization, and incarceration rooted in structural racism and discrimination. On top of that, the 1996 US immigration laws took away our right to due process and fairness. We didn’t stand a chance against the US School-to-Prison-to-Deportation Pipeline,” said Naroen Chhin of 1Love Movement.
Citing systemic US violations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights against the Cambodian community over the last 50 years – including Right to Life, Liberty and Security; Right to Education; Right to Due Process; Right to Family Unity; and Right to Democracy – the SEAFN delegation will call for an immediate suspension of all US deportations to Cambodia, an open review process of the US-Cambodia Repatriation Agreement that prioritizes democratic oversight and input from directly impacted communities, and the right to return. Chanravy Proeung, National Organizer of the Southeast Asian Freedom Network stated, “We have been rooted in an intergenerational struggle over the last five decades to keep our families together against unjust forces of US militarism, war, systemic poverty, education inequity, imprisonment, institutionalized racism, discrimination, and deportation. With over 500 Cambodian-American families broken apart since 2002, and over 4000 more awaiting the same fate, our human rights fight today, is deportation.”
- Full document of US human rights violations and SEAFN demands HERE
- More information on the Universal Periodic Review process HERE
- Follow #SEAFN2Geneva on social media HERE
The Southeast Asian Freedom Network (SEAFN) is a national collective of Southeast Asian grassroots organizing groups that works towards radical and transformational change led by those most impacted by systemic injustice.