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International Labour Day 2019

May 1, 2019

More than 2,000 people in at least five provinces across the country marked International Labour Day over the last week, often in the presence of security forces. In Phnom Penh, around 500 mixed security forces were deployed, and workers and civil society members gathered at both Freedom Park and the Council for the Development of Cambodia. Municipal authorities stopped workers from marching to the National Assembly and instead allowed for a limited march around Wat Phnom in the presence of security officials.

Statement
Incarcerated Mothers and Pregnant Women: LICADHO Calls for Urgent Action

April 8, 2019audio available

On 18 February 2019, Prime Minister Hun Sen urged the Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Women’s Affairs to review the situation of women detainees in pre-trial detention. Through a speech and a post on his official Facebook account, the prime minister said women detainees face many challenges, such as having children living outside of prisons with no support and being abandoned by their husbands. LICADHO agrees with prime minister’s call for urgent action to address the needs of women in prison, specifically the situation of vulnerable populations – mothers with children and pregnant women in prison. This issue should be resolved through the use of existing legal measures, such as prioritising trials for women in pre-trial detention and expediting the processing of bail applications.

Flash Info
Missing Preah Vihear Community Representative Located

April 1, 2019 Sum Meun, a Preah Vihear community representative who was missing for more than two months, has been located by his family in Sihanoukville.

Sum Meun disappeared from the Koulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary Headquarters on January 21, a day after being arrested and beaten by soldiers who were hired as security guards for a land concession granted to Metrei Pheap Kase-Ousahakam Co. Ltd, in Choam Khsant district’s Yeang commune. The concession has links to tycoon An Mady.

The community representative was last seen by his son, Meun Mean, who was arrested along with Sum Meun. He left the province in January due to fears for his safety. Preah Vihear provincial authorities released a statement on 31 March confirming that they met with Sum Meun in Phnom Penh over the weekend.

The Choam Khsant district governor met with Sum Meun in Phnom Penh and said that an arrest warrant for the community representative, issued shortly after his disappearance, will not be enforced.

Sum Meun’s disappearance occurred as part of a series of arrests that led to 14 people from the community being sent to pre-trial detention, including Meun’s son. They have been charged under Articles 62 and 54 of the Law on Natural Protected Areas, relating to the clearing of forestland, and can face up to ten years in prison and 150 million riel in fines.

The arrests followed years of harassment of villagers in the community at the hands of authorities, including the burning of homes, arbitrary arrests and continued intimidation of villagers locked in this land conflict.

Related Material:

Article
Preah Vihear community representative missing for two months

March 21, 2019audio available

Today marks two months since Preah Vihear community representative Sum Meun disappeared after he was beaten and illegally arrested by armed military officials. The disappearance was part of a slew of arrests made over two weeks in January of villagers entangled in a conflict with a land concession granted to Metrei Pheap Kase-Ousahakam Co. Ltd. The company has links to tycoon An Mady.

The 54-year-old Meun and his son, Meun Mean, were arrested on January 20 by military soldiers from Battalion 261 under RCAF Intervention Brigade 6 - acting as security guards for the concession holder in Choam Khsant district’s Yeang commune. Witnesses reported that Meun was beaten following his arrest. The pair was then transferred to the Koulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary Headquarters where they were both detained overnight.

Video
Celebrating Cambodia's Women Activists

March 8, 2019audio available

Women activists continue to lead the struggle for human and environmental rights in Cambodia. To celebrate International Women's Rights Day, take a moment and listen to four Cambodian women describe their experiences as land, labour and environmental activists.

Photo Album
International Women Day 2019

March 8, 2019

About one thousand people across at least five provinces and Phnom Penh gathered to celebrate International Women's Day this morning. Mixed security forces physically blocked about 500 participants in Phnom Penh as they attempted to march from Olympic Stadium to submit a petition to the Council of Ministers, and authorities at one point forcibly pushed several women into the stadium grounds before closing the gate and locking them inside. Authorities attempted to prohibit community-led events in Tbong Khmum and Kampong Speu provinces, but participants went on to hold the events without major issues. Many celebrations around the country were held in the presence of security forces.

Video
Human Rights 2018: The Year in Review

February 12, 2019audio available

Cambodia's human rights situation continued to deteriorate in 2018, with the ongoing closure of democratic and civil society space as well as the silencing of government critics and independent media.

Article
UN Reviews Human Rights Situation in Cambodia

January 30, 2019

Cambodia’s human rights record comes under review at the UN Human Rights Council today as part of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process.

LICADHO contributed to two joint submissions with the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and Forum-Asia which catalogue state repression of human rights defenders, media and civil society, as well as the human cost of rampant land grabbing.

Article
Authorities Shoot Land Protestor in Latest Use of Lethal Force

January 26, 2019audio available

A man was shot and critically injured by mixed security forces after more than 100 police, gendarmes, and soldiers descended on Kokir village, in Preah Sihanouk province, on Thursday morning to enforce a Supreme Court decision awarding disputed land to nine families.

When the heavily armed security forces tried to enter the site in Bet Trang commune, protesters, some holding sticks, burned tires and threw rocks to prevent them. Security forces - including soldiers from Preah Sihanouk provincial sub-operational zone then withdrew, regrouped, and re-entered the village. This time they fired dozens of shots of live ammunition into the air as well as into the crowd in what was a clearly excessive use of force.

Video
Authorities Shoot Land Protestors in Latest Use of Lethal Force

January 26, 2019audio available

Video
Dey Krahorm Community Demands Justice a Decade after Brutal Eviction

January 24, 2019audio available

Today marks the 10th anniversary of the brutal forced eviction of the Dey Krahorm community in central Phnom Penh. LICADHO shares this community-made video and continues to stand in solidarity with them in their calls for justice and an end to forced evictions.

On 24 January 2009, Dey Krahorm residents attempting to stop bulldozers destroying their homes were beaten back by 7NG construction workers and security guards, backed up by more than 300 riot police armed with electric cattle prods, batons, tear gas, water cannons and firearms. At least 18 were injured, some of them seriously.

Article
Civil Society Marks Five-Year Anniversary of Veng Seng Killings

January 3, 2019audio available

Around 100 unionists, workers and rights activists gathered for a memorial ceremony this afternoon to mark five years since security forces opened fire on striking workers at Phnom Penh’s Veng Sreng Boulevard, killing four and injuring dozens.

Today’s commemoration was held at association and union coalition Solidarity House and attended by garment workers, unionists and families of the victims. Participants took part in a religious blessing ceremony and a discussion on the minimum wage protests, where workers were demanding a $160 living wage, and the ensuing violence.

Victims of the violence called for security forces members to be held accountable for the killings and for protest-related charges against workers and union leaders to be dropped immediately.

Photo Album
Celebrating Human Rights Day 2018

December 10, 2018

Communities, associations, trade unions and other civil society groups celebrated Human Rights Day in Cambodia between 5 and 10 December 2018. Despite ongoing intimidation and restrictions from authorities more than 7,000 people in 14 provinces and the capital participated in theatre, music, parades and discussions. They called on the government to respect human rights and tackle long standing violations, not least unresolved land grabbing cases.

Video
"Our Tears Are Our Strength": Women Human Rights Defenders

December 10, 2018audio available

This video, part of the campaign 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence, highlights the determination and resilience of Cambodia’s Women human rights defenders, who stand up to state violence aimed at silencing them.

Article
Cambodia Civil Society Restrictions Still in Place on Human Rights Day

December 10, 2018audio available

Phnom Penh municipality banned a Human Rights Day march planned for this morning but celebrations went ahead nonetheless amid a heavy police presence at a government-approved location four kilometres from the city centre. Security forces wearing crash helmets outnumbered participants and cordoned off the square.

Several hundred garment workers, farmers, teachers, trade unionists, community representatives and youths attended the event organised by trade unions and associations at the so-called “new” Freedom Park in Russey Keo district. The municipality threatened legal action if the organisers went ahead with a march affecting “security and public order”, despite the fact that 10 December is an annual public holiday with far less traffic in the city.

Despite recent government declarations about the lifting of restrictions on civil society groups, authorities continued to restrict the movements of communities across the country, preventing them from gathering in public, demanding letters of permission and dictating where they could meet.

Article
16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence: Sor Sorn

December 7, 2018audio available

To mark the international campaign 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence (25 November – 10 December) LICADHO is highlighting women land campaigners and human rights defenders (HRDs) who face state violence in Cambodia.

At least a half a million Cambodians have lost their land and homes in forced evictions over the last two decades and women have been at the forefront of peaceful protests demanding justice and fair compensation. Their activism has often been met with violent attacks by security forces as well as judicial harassment and arbitrary detention.
Over the 16 days, we are publishing profiles of women who – despite many hardships – continue to speak out in solidarity with others to demand justice.

Sor Sorn (58) has faced repeated harassment, arrests and detentions for protesting against the violent forced eviction of Borei Keila community in Phnom Penh.

Article
16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence: Um Sophy

December 5, 2018audio available

To mark the international campaign 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence (25 November – 10 December) LICADHO is highlighting women land campaigners and human rights defenders who face state violence in Cambodia.

At least a half a million Cambodians have lost their land and homes in forced evictions over the last two decades and women have been at the forefront of peaceful protests demanding justice and fair compensation. Their activism has often been met with violent attacks by security forces as well as judicial harassment and arbitrary detention.

Over the 16 days, we are publishing profiles of women who – despite many hardships – continue to speak out in solidarity with others to demand justice.

Um Sophy (39) has faced serious harassment, multiple criminal cases and even lost her job as a teacher as a result of her tireless activism to defend her community’s land against a politically connected company.

Article
16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence: Phav Nherng

November 29, 2018audio available

To mark the international campaign 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence (25 November – 10 December) LICADHO is highlighting women land campaigners and human rights defenders who face state violence in Cambodia.

At least a half a million Cambodians have lost their land and homes in forced evictions over the last two decades and women have been at the forefront of peaceful protests demanding justice and fair compensation. Their activism has often been met with violent attacks by security forces as well as judicial harassment and arbitrary detention.

Over the 16 days, we are publishing profiles of women who – despite many hardships – continue to speak out in solidarity with others to demand justice.

Phav Nherng (39) has been at the forefront of a decade-long struggle to secure land for hundreds of farmers in Koh Kong province, braving harassment, threats, and detention because of her activism on behalf of her community.

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