Thach Rine

Current Status: Released - at risk

Photo of Thach Rine

Date of Birth: 1960

Gender: M

Religion: Christian (Protestant)

Ethnicity: Khmer Krom

Areas of Activism:

  • Indigenous rights

Communities At Risk:

Highlighted Human Rights Concerns:

  • Former Political Prisoner
  • Denial of Legal Representation

Thach Rine was imprisoned in a facility far from his hometown and released from prison on April 13, 2022. Vietnam's response to the UN Joint Allegation Letter on his case claimed that his arrest was temporary detention according to Article 331, which contradicts Mr. Thach Rine's account of his unjust treatment while imprisoned.

May 2023:

Vietnam’s May 10 response to the Joint Communication from the UN Special Procedures, dated October 18, regarding Duong Khai, Thach Cuong, Danh Set, Tang Thuy and Thach Rine, has been released and can be read here.

Details - Background, History of Activism.

Thach Rine is a member of the Khmer Krom ethnic community in Tra Vinh in southern Vietnam.

Profile photo source: VOA Vietnamese

Thach Rine is an activist in the fight for the rights of the Khmer Krom indigenous people. 

He has also advocated for the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals; their group printed shirts with the SDG logo and he himself has used the logo for his Facebook avatar. The group has also printed and worn shirts of the Khmer Kampuchea-Krom map, with the flag. 

Thach Rine has also raised the issue of land disputes between Cambodia and Vietnam. 

He is accused of posting pictures of Ho Chi Minh on his Facebook page that allegedly “smear the leader.”

June 25, 2021: interrogation and confiscation of UN documents

  • Police interrogation
  • Property confiscation
June 25, 2021
Public security
Tra Cu district (map)

freedom of expression
  • Khmer Kampuchea Krom Federation
  • Unrepresented Nations & Peoples Organization

On May 25, 2021, provincial police confiscated 150 copies of UN documents from Thach Rine, copies of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), and Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (DRIP). Thach Rine was also detained and questioned for ten hours over his wearing of a t-shirt with a UN logo.

In June, the The Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation (KKF) raised their concern about the case, and in July, 2021 the UNPO (Unrepresented Nations & Peoples Organization) raised concerns about police harassment of Thach Rine.

Arrested October 14, 2021. Sentenced to 6 months in prison under Art. 331 (2015 Code). Released April 13, 2022.

October 14, 2021
  • Art. 331 (2015 Code)
Tra Cu County public security, Tra Vinh province
At home in Kim Son Commune, Tra Cu County, (map)
January 24, 2022
The People's Court of Tra Vinh Province
6 months in prison
April 13, 2022
  • freedom from arbitrary arrest or detention
  • liberty and security of the person
  • freedom of expression
  • fair trial
UN Special Rapporteurs

VOA reported that as a Khmer Krom Protestant, Thach Rine had been a target of police surveillance and harassment for some time, and that “they have been waiting for the right excuse to arrest him.” 

The pressure was stepped up after he recorded himself reading the UN Covenant on the Rights of Indigenous People and posted that on Facebook.

The police also stopped him in the streets when he was taking his grandchild to school. They later went to his house to confiscate t-shirts printed with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) logo and other Khmer Krom shirts and 150 copies of the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (DRIP).

On June 25, 2021, Thach Rine was detained and interrogated for sharing an animated image of Ho Chi Minh on his Facebook. Some observers believed he was detained because he wore a T-shirt with the SDG logo.

Most state media, however, emphasized that Rine was arrested for falsifying the history of the territory of southwestern Vietnam. The debates between the origin and history of the territory of southwestern Vietnam have always been a contentious issue between the Vietnam authorities and Khmer Krom nationalists. This leads to the question of whether Khmer Krom should be granted the status of indigenous population and enjoy relevant incentives.

Thach Rine was arrested on Octobe 14, 2021, at his home, wuthout an arrest warrant.

After being held for approximately three months in Tra Cu district, on January 24, 2022, Thach Rine was sentenced to six months in prison in a closed-door trial by the provincial court of Tra Vinh province without legal representation or the presence of his relatives.

He was imprisoned in a facility far from his hometown and released on April 13, 2022.

Police report about arrest posted on Website, October 14, 2021

Bắt tạm giam Thạch Rine vì tuyên truyền, xuyên tạc lịch sử, Quân đội Nhân dân, October 14, 2021 

VOA Report with photos, October 15, 2021

UNPO statement on Thach Rine, July 1, 2021

KKF Statement, June 26, 2021

Vietnam's Response to Joint Allegation Letter, May 2023

Some information from KKF,  directly familiar with the case

Profile last updated: 2023-07-18 03:40:32

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