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Former Opposition Leader’s Trial Must Allow Open Participation of Families, Independent Media and Civil Society Groups

January 16, 2020audio available

We, the undersigned Cambodian civil society groups, call on the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to ensure that the long-awaited trial of former opposition leader Kem Sokha is open to the public, independent media outlets and the full participation of civil society organisations. We also call on the court to record and broadcast the trial proceedings live, as they have done in the past. Kem Sokha’s trial on charges of “conspiring with a foreign power” – for which no credible evidence has yet been made public and which carries a sentence of up to 30 years in prison – is of significant public interest both to Cambodians across the country and those living overseas.

Flash Info
NagaWorld Union Leader Reinstated After Thousands of Workers Strike

January 10, 2020 NagaWorld has reinstated suspended union president Chhim Sithar after a two-day strike that gathered thousands of workers in front of the central Phnom Penh casino. NagaWorld representatives also told the assembled workers this evening that the company would be raising workers’ salaries after further negotiation. Workers are expected to return to work tomorrow.

The agreement came after union officials including Chhim Sithar, who was indefinitely suspended with pay in September 2019 while campaigning for better wages and working conditions, met this afternoon with NagaWorld representatives and senior officials from the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training to negotiate a settlement.

Hundreds of NagaWorld staff including housekeeping and food and beverage workers staged a mass walkout this morning to join the second day of a peaceful strike attended by thousands of workers demanding a living wage, better working conditions and the reinstatement of their union leader.

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court issued an injunction on Wednesday declaring the strike illegal and calling on participants to return to work, despite workers being guaranteed the right to strike under Cambodian law as well under International Labour Organization conventions.

Article
Families, Activists Mark Sixth Anniversary of Veng Sreng Violence

January 3, 2020audio available

About 70 unionists, land activists, workers and rights activists gathered in Phnom Penh this morning to mark the sixth anniversary of security forces opening fire on striking workers on Phnom Penh’s Veng Sreng Boulevard on January 3, 2014, leaving four dead, one missing and dozens injured.

Participants held a Buddhist ceremony and memorial service at the office of the Center for Alliance of Labor and Human Rights (CENTRAL), which was also attended by several family members of the killed and missing workers.

Photo Album
International Human Rights Day 2019

December 10, 2019

December 10 - Around 6,000 community members and civil society activists participated in events in Phnom Penh and provinces across Cambodia to celebrate International Human Rights Day between December 7 and December 10, 2019. Several communities reported being threatened by local authorities to not hold events, particularly in Sihanoukville, Kampot, Koh Kong, and Kampong Speu provinces. Some communities went ahead with planned events despite pressure from authorities. In Phnom Penh, representatives from civil society groups, unions, Buddhist monks and youth groups gathered alongside representatives from various embassies to discuss the importance of human rights at Freedom Park.

Video
Life in Prison: A Mother's Story

December 9, 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.

Video
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.

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.

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