Latest Flash News & Articles

Flash News: Thousands of balloons released across Cambodia in protest against repressive draft laws
Published on June 29, 2015

This morning at 10 o’clock, over a hundred community groups, Cambodian NGOs and international NGOs, including Oxfam, Action Aid and Transparency International, held events around Phnom Penh and in 13 provincial towns to protest against the draft the Law on Associations and Non-Governmental Organisations (LANGO) and the Trade Union Law. From offices and other locations they released balloons bearing the message "Say NO to Union, Association and NGO laws".

The LANGO has been widely condemned for its potential to repress NGOs, informal networks and community groups not favoured by the government. It is currently under review by three National Assembly commissions after which it is expected to pass to the National Assembly to be voted on.

The campaign to stop the laws will continue tomorrow morning with a march starting from four different locations around Phnom Penh and ending at the National Assembly.

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Flash News: Cambodian protests against repressive draft laws gain momentum
Published on June 28, 2015

At 9 o'clock this morning around 350 land activists from Phnom Penh and the provinces, unionists, local and international NGO staff, garment workers, tuk-tuk drivers, monks, farmers, youth, media, and representatives of LGBT groups gathered in front of Cambodia's National Assembly in Phnom Penh to protest against two draft laws: the Law on Associations and Non-Governmental Organisations (LANGO) and the Trade Union Law.

Protesters carried lotus flowers and held banners and released balloons bearing the message "Say NO to Union, Association and NGO laws". They marched twice around the National Assembly, danced and played and sang a pop song with lyrics specially-written by Cambodian youths and Boeung Kak Lake activists rejecting the laws and asserting their right to gather and express themselves freely.

Before the event started, security guards seized and destroyed a thousand white ballons intended for release later in the morning.

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Flash News: Hundreds gather to protest repressive draft laws at Cambodia's National Assembly
Published on June 23, 2015

At 8:30 am today, hundreds of civil society members gathered peacefully in front of the National Assembly, before marching to call for the withdrawal of the draft Law on Associations & Non-Governmental Organizations (LANGO) and protest against the draft Trade Union Law (TUL). The protestors comprised around 250 youths, farmers, land-activists, NGOs, media, monks and citizens.

Protestors held banners saying “We will not vote for a party that passes LANGO” and “Say NO to Union, Association & NGO laws”, shouted anti-LANGO slogans, and sang songs. The National Assembly Permanent Standing Committee is expected to meet today to decide which National Assembly Commission will review LANGO.

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Article: World Day Against Child Labour: The Plight of Child Labourers in Cambodian Brick Factories
Published on June 12, 2015

To commemorate June 12 World Day Against Child Labour (WDACL) 2015, LICADHO is publishing personal testimonies of five children and one adult who work in Cambodian brick factories.

These testimonies provide a glimpse into brick factory child labour, which is considered to be one of the worst forms of child labour, and demonstrate the negative effects of brick factory child labour on children.

Read the full article... audio available

Flash News: Siem Reap communities come together to seek solution to land disputes
Published on May 22, 2015

This morning, around 700 members of communities affected by land disputes gathered in Siem Reap town to march and submit a petition to the provincial governor. Around 100 police and military police prevented the group from marching, citing the possibility of traffic disruption and also stating that the governor was not in the office. This afternoon 17 community representatives were allowed to meet with the governor whilst the other community members waited outside.

The petition listed ten land cases from seven districts within the province and gave details of the number of affected families and the location of the disputed land. It also named the parties with whom the communities are in dispute, including the Apsara Authority, private companies and members of the military.

Flash News: Peaceful Workers’ Day rallies take place in Phnom Penh
Published on May 1, 2015

This morning, in celebration of International Workers’ Day, marches and rallies were held at three sites around Phnom Penh. One group of around 500, representing amongst others, garment workers, farmers, and informal sector workers marched and rode in tuk-tuks from the Olympic Stadium to the Ministry of Labour where they delivered a statement calling for greater respect for workers’ rights. As they marched, they carried posters calling for draft legislation on unions and NGOs and associations to be dropped. The group was joined by some of the Boeung Kak activists recently released from prison. The march took place despite Phnom Penh city hall denying permission.

Another group of around 1,000 workers gathered at the National Assembly. The group listened to speeches and made several demands including for an increase in the minimum wage to $177. At Freedom Park another group of over 500 workers held a rally and listened to speeches on worker conditions, the minimum wage and freedom of expression.

Flash News: Last of the "Free the 19" detainees, Ly Seav Minh, granted bail by Supreme Court
Published on April 24, 2015

Ly Seav Minh was released on bail this morning following a decision by the Supreme Court. She spent more than five months in pre-trial detention at Prey Sar’s CC2 prison after she was arrested on November 18, 2014. She is charged with violence against the possessor of immoveable property and a potential two years in prison and $6,250 in fines.

She and her family are involved in a long-running land dispute with the municipality and well-connected tycoon Khun Sear, to which the municipality sold their land in 2010.

Ly Seav Minh is the last of the Free the 19 activists to be released from Prey Sar’s CC1 and CC2 prisons.

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Flash News: Five CNRP and three defrocked monks released following political negotiations
Published on April 13, 2015

This afternoon, eight more of the Free the 19 activists were released from detention in Prey Sar’s CC1 prison.

Three defrocked monks – Venerable Seung Hai, Venerable Khith Vannak, and Venerable Sang Kosal – and five CNRP members and supporters – Meach Sovannara, Sum Puthy, Tep Narin, Ke Khim, and Ouk Pich Samnang – were released on bail. All eight were arrested between September and November last year and face a variety of charges. The cases against all those released remain open.

The five CNRP members and supporters will be required to post bail by April 20. Meach Sovannara bail was set at 10 million riel while Sum Puthy, Tep Narin, Ke Khim, and Ouk Pich Samnang have been requested to post 3 million riel each.

Today’s bail decisions follow the release on Saturday of 10 Boeung Kak land rights activists who were granted a royal pardon having spent five months in prison for the offence of obstructing public traffic.

All 18 releases result from the latest round of political negotiations between leaders of the ruling CPP and opposition CNRP.

The last of the Free the 19 activists, Ly Seav Minh, remains in pre-trial detention facing charges of violence against the possessor of immoveable property and a potential two years in prison and $6,250 in fines. She and her family are involved in a long-running land dispute with the well-connected tycoon Khun Sear.

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Flash News: 10 Boeung Kak Lake activists freed following royal pardon, more releases expected
Published on April 11, 2015

Shortly before 4 pm, 10 Boeung Kak Lake activists who were imprisoned in November 2014 were freed following a royal pardon from King Sihamoni. The release was part of the latest political deal between the ruling and opposition party leaders on Thursday.

Additional releases of opposition activists and monks are expected this coming Monday, April 13, 2015.

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Flash News: Trial of 11 CNRP to continue on April 20
Published on March 27, 2015

The trial of 11 members, officials, and supporters of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court has concluded for the day.

The court denied another bail request for both Ouch Pich Samnang and Tep Narin, while concluding testimony of Ouern Narith and beginning testimony of Khin Chamreun. All defendants will reappear before the Phnom Penh Municipal Court at 8 am on April 20.

CNRP national election candidate for Banteay Meanchey and online radio owner, Meach Sovannara, Official of Public Affairs Department, Ouern Narith, and Chief of Phnom Penh Youths, Khin Chamreun, have all been charged with participating in and leading an insurrectionary movement (Criminal Code articles 456, 457, and 459). CNRP Chbar Ampov council member Sum Puthy, Chbar Ampov district youth leader, Neang Sokhun, Tuol Kork district youth leader San Kimheng, youth members Tep Narin, San Seihak, and An Batham, along with CNRP supporters, Ouk Pich Samnang and Ke Khim, have all been charged with participating in an insurrectionary movement (Criminal Code articles 456 and 457).

Representatives from the United Nations and European Union were present throughout the trial.

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Flash News: Free The 19-land activist, Ly Seav Minh, denied bail
Published on March 19, 2015

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court today denied a bail request for 'Free the 19' activist, Ly Seav Minh. Whilst today was originally scheduled for a trial, the judge agreed to hear a request for bail. After listening for about 20 minutes to arguments raised by the defense lawyers, the prosecutor and Ly Seav Minh herself, the judge denied bail after 5 minutes’ deliberation and without providing any reasons.

Ly Seav Minh was arrested on November 18, 2014 and has been imprisoned under pre-trial detention ever since. She is charged with the offence of violence against the possessor of immoveable property (Land Law article 253) following a complaint filed by the Khun Sea Company, a well-connected company that has long sought to oust Ly Seav Minh and her family from their property. The complaint relates to events on April 29, 2013 but was only filed at court on September 5, 2014.

After leaving the courtroom today Ly Seav Minh said, "Today I feel very disappointed about court decision because I didn’t get justice. But because I have all the support from community and NGO I feel strong and can continue to struggle for justice." Her trial was re-scheduled for 2pm on March 25, 2014. No reason was given for the postponement.

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Flash News: Protesters seek Michelle Obama’s support in cases of imprisoned activists
Published on March 17, 2015

This morning, a group of more than 100 protesters from Boeung Kak, Borei Keila, Thmor Kol and Tuol Sangke communities, including around 60 children and a number of monks, gathered in front of the US embassy to call for the release from prison of their fellow community and family members. The group collected signatures in support of a request for intervention by Michelle Obama in the cases of the imprisoned land rights activists. Michelle Obama will visit Cambodia on March 21 and 22 as part of the Let Girls Learn international education initiative.

The imprisoned activists belong to a group of 19 men and women who were all arrested towards the end of 2014. Eleven of the activists were tried, convicted and sentenced within days of their arrest. The remaining eight are still awaiting their trials and are held in pre-trial detention. All 19 are detained in Prey Sar’s CC1 and CC2 prisons.

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Article: Cambodian Women on the Front Line: Six Stories of Resistance
Published on March 13, 2015

To celebrate International Women’s Day 2015 LICADHO, together with the Highlanders Association of Cambodia, organised a forum in Ban Lung, Ratanakiri for people affected by land grabbing. The forum was attended by over 100 representatives from eight different indigenous communities from within Ratanakiri and by land rights activists from other provinces around the country. The theme of the forum was the effect of land conflicts on women and the majority of the participants were women. The participants shared their experiences and ideas and many performed songs they had written telling the stories of their land disputes. We profile six of the women who attended the forum. Their stories illustrate the many hardships faced by women affected by land disputes as well as their remarkable spirit and resilience.

Read the full article... audio available

Flash News: Over 500 march to call for release of female land activists in Phnom Penh
Published on March 8, 2015

Over 500 activists and monks marched from the Ministry of Women's Affairs to Prey Sar's CC2 prison to call for the release of 11 women land rights activists on International Women’s Day. The peaceful protesters travelled over eight kilometres to call for the release of the 11 women who are among the group of 'Free the 19' activists who have been in prison since late 2014.

Authorities did not block marchers but confiscated two coffins that protestors used to signify the death of rights and justice in Cambodia.

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Flash News: 19 communities in Preah Sihanouk province demand resolutions to land conflicts
Published on February 24, 2015

Today approximately 160 villagers from 19 different land communities in Preah Sihanouk province marched over 8km from Kampenh Chas community to the Provincial Governor’s Office.

The group submitted a petition requesting a resolution to a land conflict affecting the Kampenh Chas community. Today marks the end of three days of activity which began on February 22 with religious prayers. Yesterday the group marched to the Provincial Cadastral Commission to submit the petition.

Today the Provincial Governor was unavailable but community leaders met with the Deputy Provincial Governor this morning.
“We want to be able to live on our land. We need justice for our communities,” said land activist and co-organiser of the event, Hang Chenda.