Latest Flash News & ArticlesFlash News: Monks call for authorities to protect Prey Lang forest
Published on October 2, 2015
This morning, monks from the Independent Monk Network for Social Justice (IMNSJ) gathered in Battambang town to call for an end to deforestation in Prey Lang forest.
The group of monks, led by Venerable But Buntenh, urged authorities to conserve Cambodia’s natural resources, particularly the endangered Prey Lang forest. The event was the latest in an ongoing campaign to protect Prey Lang. In July, monks from IMNSJ, together with other land activists, had submitted a petition to the Forestry Administration demanding an end to illegal logging in the forest.
Published on September 21, 2015
This morning, three activists from NGO Mother Nature were again denied bail after an Appeal Court hearing in Phnom Penh.
The three – Try Sovikea, 23; Sun Mala, 23; and Sim Samnang, 28 – were arrested on August 17 amid an ongoing campaign to end alleged illegal sand dredging in Koh Kong. They have been charged under Article 424 of the Penal Code with threatening to cause destruction, defacement or damage and ordering others to do so, and are currently detained in Koh Kong prison.
The bail verdict came after more than a month of sustained protests outside Koh Kong provincial court calling for their release, as well as for the resolution of other Koh Kong land conflicts. The activists were first denied bail by Koh Kong provincial court on August 31.
Published on September 16, 2015
Two men from Andoung Trabek community were tried by Svay Rieng provincial court this morning under charges of clearing state forest as dozens of security forces, as well as soldiers, mobilized outside to prevent about 40 of their supporters from gathering.
Suon Seiha and Suon Hongly were charged under Article 97 of the forestry law in 2012 as an intimidation tactic against Andoung Trabek community, who have repeatedly contested multiple land-grabs by local authorities – allegedly including forestry administration officers – which date back to 2008. The verdict of today’s trial is due on 23 September.
The deployment of soldiers, which obstructed the community gathering in support outside the court, has become common practice in Svay Rieng whenever authorities perceive a risk of communities gathering in the provincial town.
Published on September 10, 2015
This morning, Ouk Pich Samnang was convicted of intentional violence and obstructing authorities, in defiance of testimony and lack of evidence, and sentenced to a further two years in prison relating to an October 2014 protest.
He was arrested following a protest outside the Prime Minister’s house by a Preah Vihear community calling for a solution to their land conflict. Police arrested him as he tried to recover from injuries caused by beatings from security guards during the protest, in which several other protesters were injured, including one who was hospitalised. No one has faced legal action for the excessive force used to disperse the protesters.
During his trial, not one civil party or witness who testified identified Ouk Pich Samnang as using violence, including the chief of the Daun Penh district security guards, and three civil parties actively said he was not responsible for their injuries. He was convicted nevertheless under Articles 218 and 503 of the penal code as well as being fined four million riel and ordered to pay 10 million riel in compensation to the civil parties.
Ouk Pich Samnang was among the 11 CNRP activists and supporters convicted under charges relating to insurrection following another protest in July 2014, and has been incarcerated in CC1 prison since their convictions in July 2015 after a show trial. With today’s judgement, he is set to serve a total of nine years’ imprisonment.
Published on August 19, 2015
Supporters of three arrested activists from Mother Nature have been blocked from entering Koh Kong city to protest their arrests.
The three activists – Try Sovikea, 23; Sun Mala, 23; and Sim Samnang, 28 – were arrested on August 17 amid an ongoing campaign to end alleged illegal sand dredging in Koh Kong. They have been charged under Article 424 of the Penal Code with threatening to cause destruction, defacement or damage and ordering others to do so, and are currently detained in Koh Kong prison. About 40 supporters, who were planning to gather outside Koh Kong provincial court to protest their arrests, have been blocked from entering the city by military police. Another 45 supporters, who managed to enter the city before the road block was in place, are protesting the arrests outside Koh Kong prison.
Published on August 16, 2015
Sam Rainsy Party Senator Hong Sok Hour, who was arrested yesterday, has been sent to CC1 prison.
He has been charged with forgery of public documents (Article 629 of Cambodia’s Criminal Code), use of forged public documents (Article 630), and incitement to commit a crime (Articles 494 & 495). The Senator was accused of treason by Prime Minister Hun Sen in a speech on Thursday for allegedly publishing an altered version of a 1979 treaty between Cambodia and Vietnam on his Facebook page on Wednesday.
Published on August 15, 2015
Sam Rainsy Party Senator Hong Sok Hour, who was arrested early this morning, has been sent to the Phnom Penh Commissariat following an interview in Phnom Penh’s Municipal Court this afternoon.
The Senator was accused of treason by Prime Minister Hun Sen in a speech on Thursday for allegedly publishing an altered version of a 1979 treaty between Cambodia and Vietnam on his Facebook page. He was arrested by a group of armed police at 6am this morning from the house of CNRP MP Yon Tharo, and there was a large presence of armed police surrounding the court throughout his appearance. He will be detained in the Phnom Penh Commissariat overnight and interviewed further by a prosecutor tomorrow.
Published on August 12, 2015
Today, a full session of the Constitutional Council declared the draft Law on Associations and NGOs (LANGO) constitutional in both its content and the process of its drafting and approval.
The LANGO was passed by the National Assembly on July 13 and by the Senate on July 24 amid widespread national and international criticism. It is now due to go before the King for final approval.
Published on August 12, 2015
This morning, about 200 youths aged 18-25 celebrated International Youth Day in Siem Reap with a bike ride, balloon release and public forum under the theme ‘Youth are important for development’.
About 200 more children joined the youths for the forum which also included traditional dancing, games and music. The question-and-answer session of the event revealed that the most common concerns among those present are poverty and economic opportunities, education and corruption in the education system, and youth engagement in such political, social and economic issues. Today's event was organised by about 10 youth groups from different districts and organisations across Siem Reap.
Published on July 26, 2015
Five men and one woman from youth groups based in Preah Vihear and Phnom Penh were arrested this morning after gathering in front of the National Assembly to protest the Law on Associations and NGOs (LANGO), which was approved by the Senate on Friday.
The six youths - Chum Hour and Chum Hout from Khmer Youth Empire group, Veoun Ratana, Moung Sony and Soun Veana from Khmer Student Intelligent League Association, and Meas Leakhena from the CNRP Chroy Chanvar women’s movement - were among about 45 people from three youth groups affiliated to NGOs Moha Norkor and Mother Nature protesting LANGO outside the National Assembly this morning, some wearing prisoners’ outfits in protest of the repressive law. They are currently detained in Chamkor Mon district police office in Phnom Penh, where land communities and monks’ networks have joined their youth groups protesting outside for their release. About 120 mixed riot police, traffic police and security guards are also present.
Published on July 24, 2015
The widely-criticized Law on Associations and NGOs (LANGO) was approved by the Senate at about 10 o’clock this morning as over 400 people from grassroots groups, unions, monks’ groups and other associations gathered outside to protest against it.
Amid widespread national and international criticism, including months of protests across the country against the law, attending ruling-party Senators voted to approve the LANGO which was passed by the National Assembly on 13 July. The 11 SRP Senators boycotted the vote.
Protesters had gathered outside the Senate in the early morning, singing, holding anti-LANGO banners, and distributing stickers as monks performed a Buddhist ceremony symbolizing rejection of the law. Protesters also submitted a petition from grassroots groups, unions and NGOs to the Japanese Embassy to take action over the law.
Published on July 22, 2015
Two days before the repressive Law on Associations and NGOs (LANGO) goes before the Senate, community and civil society groups across 13 provinces continue ongoing protests against the law.
Across the country, over a thousand people from community groups, monks’ networks, unions and NGOs released balloons with anti-LANGO messages, held community forums to discuss the impact of the law, distributed leaflets on the law, and in some areas marched through towns to provincial lawmakers’ officers. In Siem Reap, police blocked the road as marchers approached the hall and dispersed the protest.
The LANGO is a widely-condemned draft law that will give the government sweeping powers to restrict civil society. It was passed by the National Assembly on 13 July to national and international criticism, and is due before the Senate on July 24.
Published on July 20, 2015
This afternoon, about 250 farmers from Svay Rieng, Sihanoukville and Takeo gathered at the National Assembly in Phnom Penh to submit petitions relating to land disputes in Sihanoukville and Svay Rieng.
One petition called for the National Assembly to conduct an investigation into ongoing land disputes in Svay Rieng, including alleged corruption by officials in the sale of farmers' land to companies which has prevented farmers from obtaining land titles. The second petition called on the National Assembly to address ongoing land issues in Sihanoukville. Some of the land conflicts date from 2011, and together have affected nearly 2,000 families across the two provinces. After the farmers submitted the petitions, members of National Assembly committees agreed to investigate the disputes.
Authorities blocked a group of about 200 people from Romeas Heak district in Svay Rieng from going to Phnom Penh to join the rally this morning.
Published on July 18, 2015
Five women are currently being held in Phnom Penh’s 7 Makara police station after being arrested during a peaceful anti-LANGO (Law on Associations and Non-Governmental Organisations) event this morning. The event began at 8.30 at Phnom Penh’s night market when around 50 people gathered to hand out “Say NO to LANGO” stickers and fliers in some of the city’s main shopping areas. Shortly after 10 o’clock, when the group had reached O Russei Market, security guards and police arrived to prevent the group going any further. They then arrested the five women, four land rights activists from Boeung Kak community and one from Borei Keila. Having been held at the O Russei 2 commune police station for around two hours, they were then escorted through the streets by police to their current location. They have been told that they must wait for the arrival of Phnom Penh city governor Pa Socheatvong.
Around ten other activists and NGO staff are waiting with them. They have now been in detention for over four hours.
Published on July 13, 2015
At 8 o’clock this morning over 500 monks, farmers, land rights activists, unionists, tuk-tuk drivers, youth, students, and NGO staff gathered at Wat Ounalum in Phnom Penh to protest the proposed draft Law on Associations and Non-Governmental Organisations (LANGO) and the draft Trade Union Law. The group marched towards the National Assembly to join 200 NGO representatives who plan to hold a press conference there, but have been blocked several hundred meters away by police and security guards. The marchers are continuing their peaceful protest at the barricade.
The LANGO is a widely condemned draft law that will give the government sweeping powers to restrict civil society. It is being voted on at the National Assembly this morning.