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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.

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.

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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.

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