has the ability to sanction governments that restrict freedom of religion, a US congressman
Trent Franks, a Republican representative from Arizona, said international religious groups actively
encourage the US
to put pressure on countries that restrict religious and political freedom.
International activists "empower the United States in a lot of different
ways" to pressure or put sanctions on countries that restrict such
freedoms, Franks told VOA Khmer.
Countries like Vietnam
should understand "the basic commitment to religious freedom for all
making," he said.
have come under pressure in recent years for the treatment of Khmer Kampuchea
Krom minorities, including the defrocking and jailing of Khmer Krom monk Tim
The Vietnamese government has attempted to erase the
religion and nationality of the Khmer Krom, said Prak Sereyvuth, vice president
of the Khmer Kampuchea Krom Federation.
"On behalf of a Khmer Krom, I think that the religious
issue is very important, because Kampuchea Krom Buddhism is a religion for our
nation," he said. "More than 500 pagodas are still maintaining our culture,
traditional and Buddhist religion. The communist Vietnamese government is using
cruel activities through secret politic to destroy our religion and our nation.
Several Khmer Kampuchea Krom monks and politic prisoners are still detaining in
Vietnam Embassy spokesman Trinh Ba Cam said only those who
violate Vietnamese laws are put in prison.
"There is no political prisoners or [imprisoned] monks in Vietnam,"
he said. "There are only people who violate Vietnamese law."
ambassador-at-large for International Religious Freedoms is expected to travel
in October to seek the release of political and religious prisoners.