The Khmer Kampuchea Krom Charity Association (KKKCA), co-founded by a group of Khmer Krom living and studying in Cambodia, was recently registered and officially recognised by the Ministry of Interior.
KKKCA president Soeung Sotheany said the organisation was formed to carry out humanitarian activities to help Khmer Krom living in the Kingdom who encountered difficulties.
While there were Khmer Krom associations active in Cambodia across various fields, the focus of KKKCA would be on social and humanitarian activities as there were none yet in these areas, he added.
“Our most important areas are in social and humanitarian work. We have seen that some Khmer Krom who come to live in Cambodia have encountered problems such as a lack of work, poverty or illness, and they are unable find solutions," he said.
Sotheany said the association would also offer legal services to Khmer Krom when needed, as well as provide assistance in finding jobs both inside and outside the country to help them improve their lives.
Seun Chumchuon, programme director of the Khmer Kampuchea Krom for Human Rights and Development Association (KKKHRDA), welcomed the new registration.
He said the KKKCA's official listing in accordance with the Law on Associations and Non-governmental Organisations (LANGO) would benefit needy Khmer Krom youth by offering opportunities to access scholarships for further study, among other assistance, regardless of their political affiliation.
"For my association [KKKHRDA], I would say that activities related to education and gatherings, and so on, are generally still limited as there is always monitoring and observing by the authorities.
"So I hope the KKKCA charity association will be able to carry out their work effectively and not face challenges like us,” Chumchuon said.
Katta Orn, spokesman for the state-run Cambodian Human Rights Committee (CHRC), said the right to form associations and unions in Cambodia is open, as guaranteed by the Constitution, LANGO and the law on unions.
He noted there are more than 6,100 civil society organisations in Cambodia to date.
"When we give the opportunity to the Khmer Krom youth, who are Khmer and have the right to form an association in Cambodia, the spirit of the Constitution as well as other laws created to protect and promote our people must be followed," Orn said.
The KKKCA was officially registered on January 5, with its headquarters in Stung Meanchey I commune of the capital’s Meanchey district.
According to the objectives submitted by the association to the ministry, KKKCA has a number of important goals, such as to assist in the development of the Kingdom in accordance with the government's Rectangular Strategy.
It also aims to contribute to improving the living standards of people in poor communities, as well as expanding charitable activities to the general population and target groups.