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Life in Prison: A Mother's Story

December 2, 2019audio available

To mark the international campaign, 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence (25 November - 10 December), LICADHO is highlighting pregnant women and mother and children incarcerated in Cambodian prisons. Over the 16 days, we will profile women who will share their stories of pregnancy, motherhood and of survival in the Cambodian prison system.

Life is extremely harsh for people incarcerated in Cambodia’s prisons. Violations of basic human rights such as denial of access to food, clean water, time outside cells and legal representation occur on a mass scale and the realities of prison life are such that if prisoners do not have money to pay for these basic necessities, then they will go without.

Article
10 Years in Review: Rights Abuses in Cambodia

December 1, 2019

To mark International Human Rights Day on December 10 2019, LICADHO is publishing summaries of major events and human rights abuses spanning the last decade. Each day will feature a new year, starting on December 1 with a summary of events in 2010 and culminating on December 10 with a look back at 2019.

Video
Life in Prison: A Mother's Story

November 25, 2019audio available

To mark the international campaign, 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence (25 November - 10 December), LICADHO is highlighting pregnant women and mother and children incarcerated in Cambodian prisons. Over the 16 days, we will profile women who will share their stories of pregnancy, motherhood and of survival in the Cambodian prison system.

Life is extremely harsh for people incarcerated in Cambodia’s prisons. Violations of basic
human rights such as denial of access to food, clean water, time outside cells and legal
representation occur on a mass scale and the realities of prison life are such that if prisoners
do not have money to pay for these basic necessities, then they will go without.

Photo Album
Armed Forces Deployed Across Cambodia

November 7, 2019

Soldiers, military police and police have mobilised across Cambodia this week ahead of the planned return of former leaders of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party. In many provinces this has included public processions of armed security forces down main thoroughfares, sometimes with children lining the streets to observe the armed forces, as organised by their public schools. Government-aligned media and official Facebook pages have shared videos of armed forces alongside machine gun turrets, grenade launchers, artillery, assault rifles and sniper rifles. LICADHO has confirmed that convoys of security forces have traveled through public streets in Banteay Meanchey, Battambang, Kampong Thom, Koh Kong, and Svay Rieng provinces.

This deployment of armed forces takes place amid an unprecedented wave of arrests of former opposition members, with at least 50 people arrested since August 2019.

Flash Info
Supreme Court Denies Bail For Activist Arrested Over Kem Ley Memorial

November 4, 2019 The Supreme Court issued a verdict this morning denying bail to Kong Raiya, who was arrested on 9 July 2019 after advertising in a Facebook post that he was selling t-shirts featuring the image of slain political analyst Kem Ley.

Raiya was charged with “incitement to commit felony”, along with Soung Neakpaon, who was arrested the day after Raiya at a memorial event for Kem Ley and faces the same charges. Both men are currently being held in CC1 prison in Phnom Penh.

Eighty-seven civil society groups, unions and grassroots communities, including LICADHO, issued a statement calling for the release of both Raiya and Neakpaon a few days after their arrest in July. The statement noted their arrests were arbitrary and a clear violation of the pair’s right to freedom of expression under the Cambodian Constitution. Five current human rights special rapporteurs from the United Nations (UN) also called for the dropping of all charges against both Raiya and Neakpaon and urged the Cambodian government to release both men. International human rights organization Amnesty International has labeled Raiya and Neakpaon “Prisoners of Conscience” and also called for their release, as has the ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR).

Related Material:

Video
Selling Land to Repay MFI Debt

August 19, 2019audio available

Farmers often take microfinance debt, but then struggle to repay it due to falling crop prices or crop failures. Selling their land is sometimes the only way they can repay their microfinance loans.

Video
Debt-driven Migration

August 13, 2019audio available

Many Cambodians have had family members migrate to pay off microfinance debts. A report by the IOM in 2016 found that more than 40% of Cambodians who migrated abroad did so to pay debts. End debt-driven migration.

Video
Vicious Cycle of Debt

August 8, 2019audio available

The average size of a microloan in Cambodia is now the highest in the world. Many farmers are trapped in a cycle of debt, forced to get larger and larger loans to survive. Watch the video below to learn one man's story.

Statement
Collateral Damage: Land Loss and Abuses in Cambodia's Microfinance Sector

August 7, 2019audio available

More than 2 million Cambodians currently have a loan with a microfinance institution, or MFI. Levels of debt have skyrocketed in recent years, leading to a number of human rights abuses, including coerced land sales, child labour, debt-driven migration, and bonded labour, according to a joint report from the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO) and Sahmakum Teang Tnaut (STT), two Cambodian human rights NGOs. Collateral Damage: Land Losses and Abuses in Cambodia’s Microfinance Sector details the size and scope of Cambodia’s MFI sector and seeks to highlight the human rights abuses that researchers discovered. The research spans 10 communes in 4 provinces as well as Phnom Penh and features seven detailed case studies of abuses, chosen from the 28 MFI clients who suffered human rights abuses that were interviewed by researchers.

Video
Collateral Damage: Land Loss and Abuses in Cambodia's Microfinance Sector

August 7, 2019audio available

More than 2 million Cambodians currently have a loan with a microfinance institution, or MFI. Levels of debt have skyrocketed in recent years, leading to a number of human rights abuses, including coerced land sales, child labour, debt-driven migration, and bonded labour, according to a joint report from the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO) and Sahmakum Teang Tnaut (STT).

Collateral Damage: Land Losses and Abuses in Cambodia’s Microfinance Sector details the size and scope of Cambodia’s MFI sector and seeks to highlight the human rights abuses that researchers discovered. The research spans 10 communes in 4 provinces as well as Phnom Penh and features seven detailed case studies of abuses, chosen from the 28 MFI clients who suffered human rights abuses that were interviewed by researchers.

Statement
Arrest Of Two Activists Highlights Authorities’ Lack Of Respect For Freedom Of Expression And Assembly

July 12, 2019audio available

We, the undersigned civil society groups, denounce the unjustified use of security personnel during the third anniversary of political commentator Kem Ley’s death and call for the immediate and unconditional release of two activists, Kong Raiya and Soung Neakpaon, from detention and the dropping of all charges against them. Both men were arrested for peacefully exercising their freedom of expression while commemorating the anniversary of the death of political commentator Kem Ley, who was murdered on 10 July 2016. Shortly after their arrests, both men were charged with criminal incitement under Articles 494 and 495 of the Criminal Code and are being detained at Phnom Penh’s Correctional Center 1.

Article
Authorities Detain Seven People for Marking Third Anniversary of Kem Ley’s death

July 10, 2019audio available

Authorities detained seven people on July 9 and July 10 for expressing their condolences and support for murdered political commentator Kem Ley, while people marking the third anniversary of his killing at the site of his murder in Phnom Penh were surrounded by police. These detentions mark the continuation of a heavy-handed crackdown by authorities on Cambodians’ right to free expression and assembly.

This morning, three activists were detained outside Caltex Bokor petrol station in Phnom Penh – the location of Kem Ley’s murder on July 10, 2016 – after they joined other youth activists, union leaders and civil society members to mark the anniversary. The detainees included environmental activists Chum Hout and Chum Hour.

Statement
Cambodia: Three Years And Still No Effective Investigation Into Dr. Kem Ley’s Killing

July 9, 2019audio available

Today, on the third anniversary of the killing of prominent political commentator and human rights defender Kem Ley, the 24 undersigned organizations renew calls on the Cambodian government to establish an independent and impartial Commission of Inquiry to conduct a thorough and effective investigation into his killing. On 10 July 2016, Kem Ley was shot and killed while having a morning coffee at a gas station located on Monivong Boulevard in central Phnom Penh. This killing occurred amidst a backdrop of attacks on human rights defenders and members of the political opposition, and a documented history of killings of human rights defenders with impunity in Cambodia.

Statement
Occupational Health and Safety for Construction Workers and Safe Building Standards Must Be Guaranteed

July 2, 2019audio available

We, as workers, communities, associations, trade unions, civil society organisations and human rights defenders working for the promotion of human and labour rights in Cambodia, extend our heartfelt condolences to the families of those who lost loved ones in the tragic deadly collapse of an under-construction seven-storey building in Village 3, Sangkat 4, Sihanoukville Province on 22 June 2019 at 4:00 a.m. We are grateful to the mixed rescue team for their persistent efforts to locate victims during the critical sixty hours of searching. As of 27 June 2019, at least 28 construction workers were confirmed dead, including five women and rescue teams had pulled out another 26 injured. Amongst the injured were two 16-year-olds, a girl and a boy. All victims are now at Preah Sihanouk Referral Hospital. The victims were migrant workers from other Cambodian provinces.

Statement
On World Day Against Child Labour, LICADHO calls for the government to enforce existing child labour laws

June 12, 2019audio available

Today, LICADHO marked World Day Against Child Labour by organising community events in two brick factories in Kandal province: Tboung Pich in Mukh Kampul district and Kheng Hok in Ksach Kandal district. Around 200 people attended the events, including brick factory owners, workers, and children. The events sought to raise awareness in the brick production sector about the criminality and consequences of employing child labour and debt bondage, and the importance of prioritising workplace safety. The events were organised at the two brick factories to ensure that both factory owners and their employees were brought together to have a better understanding of the risks of employing child labour and the use of debt-bonded labour. Presentations were made and leaflets were handed out to the owners and workers about the legal provisions in the Labour Law and Cambodia’s commitments to the International Labour Organisation’s Convention 182 to stop the worst forms of child labour.

Statement CSOs express serious concern and call for a stop to the ongoing judicial harassment of former Cambodia National Rescue Party members

June 1, 2019audio available

We, the undersigned civil society groups, express serious concern regarding the recent and ongoing judicial harassment of former Cambodia National Rescue Party (“CNRP”) elected officials and members through baseless arrests, summonses, and detentions across multiple provinces. We urge the Royal Government of Cambodia to immediately cease the harassment of members of the political opposition and instead take concrete measures to restore civic space and enable all individuals to exercise their rights to free expression, association, assembly and political participation.

Photo Album
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.

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