The Right to Have Rights in the Mekong - How Hannah Arendt and the Khmer Krom Illustrate the Failures of the International Rights Regime
Sammanfattning: The Khmer Krom are an indigenous people living in the Mekong delta with a complex historical relation to the majority population. Vietnamese legal climate and treatment of minorities has been shaped by this complex history. Contemporary Vietnam has ratified several significant human rights treaties and voted in favour of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This thesis has through field work set out to document some of the lived reality of the Khmer Krom with regard to the legal frameworks provided by Indigenous \& Human Rights and found that many several of their most significant rights are being denied. These are rights from both spectra, such as cultural, linguistic and religious rights as well as freedom of expression, association and assembly. Why are these rights being continually denied when we supposedly have an international human rights regime? I argue that the framework of human rights have failed the most marginalized people by not taking the right to have rights into consideration. By exploring that concept, which was first formulated by Hannah Arendt it becomes clear that in order to meaningfully institute rights, a political community that can enact those rights is necessary. In the case of the Khmer Krom, such a right could be meaningfully implemented by self-determination. Unfortunately, however, international law has instead used indigenous rights as remedial human rights and thus not realizing their emancipatory potential for instituting conditions where indigenous peoples have the right to have rights. In order to do this we need to reassess human rights and focus less on them as a full course menu and more on the material conditions of their implementation.
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