Living on the margins: On the Status and Standing of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples in Cambodia

Cambodian minorities and Indigenous Peoples differ in terms of their migration history, their means of living, the way they practice and preserve their cultural traditions, and their sense of identity. This report attempts to provide an overview of 4 different minority groups in general; and in particular, it will examine and compare the situation of the Cham Muslims, the Khmer Krom, the ethnic Vietnamese, along with the Indigenous Peoples of Cambodia. These 4 minority groups are selected as target groups in this study, because they are identified as being subject to a number of serious problems and they are struggling to have their voices heard. On top of that their histories and living conditions are at times surrounded by prejudices and myths in Cambodian society. It is significant to understand the origin and diversity of these different groups. Since minorities are disempowered groups; meaning they have less power than other groups ranging across society, it is a major concern if the Cambodian minorities are experiencing hostility and if they are fully being protected by state authorities. Disadvantages among vulnerable communities can take a variety of forms after all. Furthermore it is the aim of this report to raise awareness about the minorities’ problems and to shed light onto the root causes for their difficulties. By emphasizing historical facts and data and drawing from diverse viewpoints, the paper tries to create a more differentiated understanding about the living conditions of the Cham, the Khmer Krom, the Vietnamese and the Indigenous Peoples in Cambodia. It also seeks to help producing a change in perspectives in the Cambodian society and provide for social integration of minorities.


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Table of contents

1. Introduction
1.1 Study questions
1.2 Study structure

2. The Cham
2.1 Size and location
2.2 Tradition and culture
2.3 Cham history
2.4 The Cham in Cambodia today
2.5 The Cham and terrorism
2.6 Conclusion

3. The Khmer Krom
3.1 Khmer Krom culture
3.2 Khmer Krom history
3.3 Right violations in Vietnam
3.4 Khmer Krom in Cambodia today
3.5 Khmer Krom asylum seekers in Thailand
3.6 Conclusion

4. The Vietnamese
4.1 Brief history
4.2 Culture, religion and living conditions
4.3 Difficulties faced by ethnic Vietnamese today
4.4 Conclusion

5. The Indigenous People
5.1 Size and location
5.2 Indigenous culture
5.3 Difficulties faced by Indigenous People
5.3.1 Change of traditional roles
5.3.2 Land grabbing and dams
5.3.3 Poverty and lack of education
5.3.4 Representation in politics
5.4 Conclusion

6. Internal conflicts among minorities

7. Discussion
7.1 Major differences between the minority groups
7.2 Major similarities between the minority groups

8. Conclusion

9. References