PHNOM PENH, 19 September 2013 (IRIN) – That he speaks, thinks and dreams in Khmer, the official language of Cambodia, is nothing unusual for Liv Yang Bin, an ethnic Vietnamese man whose great-grandparents settled generations earlier in the Trouy Sla commune, about 50km south of the capital, Phnom Penh.
“We are all Cambodians here. But the Khmer families, they own land or run shops. They live in the front of the village; we live here in the back,” said the 66 year old, whose community depends on fishing.
About 5 percent of Cambodia’s 15 million people are ethnic Vietnamese. Like Liv, most have lived here for generations and identify themselves as Cambodian, yet they do not hold citizenship and are barred from access to basic rights, according to activists.