News Archive

Year 2013 in Review: Land, a Country in Crisis
Published on March 21, 2014

Elections aside, land remained the single most contentious issue in Cambodia in 2013, as it has been for at least the last 10 years. Over 2.2 million hectares of Cambodian land have been granted to large firms in the form of economic land concessions (ELCs).

Read the full article... audio available

Year 2013 in Review: Impunity in the Cambodian Courts
Published on March 20, 2014

As the swelling protests were met with increased suppression, the judicial system remained true to form. 2013 saw a number of high-profile cases in court, with mixed results.

Read the full article... audio available

Year 2013 in Review: A shrinking space for assembly and expression in Cambodia
Published on March 19, 2014

If 2012 was the most violent year ever documented in terms of authorities using lethal force against individual human rights defenders (HRDs), 2013 saw the Cambodian authorities turn that force towards public protests.

Read the full article... audio available

Year 2013 in Review: Cambodian Elections
Published on March 18, 2014

2013 was dominated by one event: the National Assembly elections.

Throughout the year, to shouts of “Change! Change!”, Phnom Penh saw some of its largest demonstrations in decades. Nine days before the elections, which fell on July 28, opposition leader Sam Rainsy returned from France to a crowd of more than 100,000 people and there was a mood of excitement and anticipation as voting day approached.

Read the full article... audio available

On Global Day of Action, Cambodians Release Balloons to Sky in Solidarity with 23 Arrestees
Published on February 10, 2014

Cambodians nationwide and people across the globe demonstrated unity today with the 23 workers and rights defenders arrested in last month’s violent clampdown on striking garment workers, where at least four died and 38 were hospitalized, 25 of which suffered from bullet wounds.

Read the full article...

When Freedom Meets Oppression: Timeline of Recent Events
Published on February 9, 2014

LICADHO has compiled a timeline summarizing the series of event leading to and following the January 2-3-4, 2014, lethal clampdown on labour and political demonstrations in Cambodia's capital.

Read the full article...

2012 in Review: Crackdown on Freedom of Expression and Freedom of Assembly
Published on February 15, 2013

The most shocking attack on freedom of expression in 2012 came in September, when muckraking journalist Hang Serei Oudom was murdered. His battered body, hacked at least six times with an axe, was found in the trunk of his car. Oudom’s work had focused on exposing illegal logging and forest crimes involving the local elite.

Meanwhile, as Cambodia’s ASEAN chairmanship unfolded and the 2012 commune election approached, the government demonstrated increased intolerance for peaceful assembly and expression.

Read the full article... audio available

2012 in Review: The Judiciary, a Useful Weapon to Silence Critics
Published on February 14, 2013

Authorities continue to resort to the judicial system to silence those who assert their rights or question entrenched interests. Throughout 2012, court summonses and the threat of arrest were increasingly used to intimidate human rights defenders.

Read the full article... audio available

2012 in Review: Use of Force Against Peaceful Protests
Published on February 13, 2013

As the frequency of land grabs has grown, so has the sense of desperation for Cambodians faced with eviction. The perpetrators of land grabs – from business leaders to police to hired hands who carry out actual evictions – operate with near complete impunity. Recourse to the notoriously corrupt judiciary is not an option. For the average Cambodian, the only avenue that offers the prospect of success is civil disobedience, namely public protest and individual action.

The government has become increasingly aggressive in attempting to shut down this avenue as well, despite the fact the vast majority of citizen protests documented by LICADHO during 2012 have been peaceful. Violence is often the government’s tactic of choice.

Read the full article... audio available

2012 in Review: Land Grabbing, the Roots of Strife
Published on February 12, 2013

The human rights situation in Cambodia began 2012 teetering on the edge of a precipice, and by the end of the year had fallen off the cliff.

The sheer volume of shocking turns makes it difficult to choose where to begin a summary of 2012: Independent radio station owner Mam Sonando was sentenced to 20 years in prison on politically-motivated charges. The country’s most prominent environmental activist was shot dead in the forest while investigating illegal logging. A journalist working on logging issues was murdered in Ratanakiri province. A town governor opened fire on protesting garment workers and has yet to spend a day in prison. And 17 leaders from Phnom Penh communities facing eviction spent time in prison.

Read the full article... audio available

Civil Society Demands Transparency and Consultation on the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration
Published on April 8, 2012

In a joint statement released today, over 100 civil society organizations and networks across the ASEAN region have called for the release of the draft ASEAN Human Rights Declaration and the initiation of meaningful public consultations on its content. The Declaration is being drafted by the ASEAN Inter-governmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR), which is meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, April 9-11, 2012.

The draft has been in development for nearly a year, but has not yet been released to the public.

Read the full article...

Cambodia: Withdraw Flawed Draft NGO and Association Law; Revised Draft Does Not Address Rights Concerns
Published on April 7, 2011

Bangkok - Cambodia's draft law regulating associations and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) should be abandoned because it will undermine rather than promote civil society in the country, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Forum-Asia, Global Witness, Southeast Asia Press Alliance, Frontline Defenders, and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) within the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders said today. On April 6, a total of 62 international organizations working in Cambodia called upon the country's international donors to make strong public and private statements opposing passage of a law that poses the most significant threat to the country's civil society in many years.

Read the full article...

Supporters Gather Outside Cambodia's National Prison to Seek Release of Imprisoned Union Leader
Published on January 21, 2011

On the morning of January 16, 2011, over a hundred garment workers and civil society members gathered outside Cambodia's Prey Sar prison to seek the release of their union leader, Sous Chantha. Joined by Chantha's wife and toddler, the group held a religious ceremony and proceeded to launch balloons in the air for Chantha to see from within the prison's walls.

The gathering highlighted the fact that Sous Chantha has spent nearly two months in pretrial detention on drug trafficking charges. His arrest on November 18, 2010, followed his 1,000-member union's migration to the pro-workers Coalition of Cambodia Apparel Workers Democratic Union (CCAWDU).

Read the full article...

International Human Rights Day 2010
Published on December 10, 2010

More than 20,000 Cambodians celebrated the 62nd International Human Rights day on Dec 10th, 2010.

In 65 events across the country, civil society groups including trade unionists, students, farmers, fishermen, musicians, youths, entertainment workers, tuk tuk drivers, motorcycle drivers and NGO workers celebrated IHRD within their communities.

Throughout Cambodia, the celebrations were held under the common theme of 'We all want justice and sustainable livelihoods!' and a common symbol representing the role of human rights defenders in Cambodia, the blue Kramar.

IHRD is celebrated every year on December 10, marking the day that the UNDHR was signed in 1948. Since then, the Declaration has been and continues to be a source of inspiration for national and international efforts to promote and protect human rights.

Read the full article...

LICADHO Awarded at WITNESS Focus for Change dinner
Published on December 2, 2010

LICADHO President and Founder Dr Pung Chhiv Kek and Venerable Luon Sovath accepted an award on behalf of LICADHO as guests of honor at the 2010 Annual Focus for Change benefit dinner held in New York by LICADHO partner WITNESS, an international human rights organization which uses video to open the eyes of the world to human rights violations.

The 2010 benefit dinner saw WITNESS honoring LICADHO with an award for its use of video to document evidence in the ongoing struggle to end forced evictions in Cambodia. The partnership begun in 2007, when WITNESS provided LICADHO with 50 small handheld FLIP cameras for use by community activists in 18 Cambodia provinces to film and document cases of human rights abuse. Since then, LICADHO and WITNESS have worked closely together to produce advocacy videos on the plight of land-grabbing victims, creating international support to halt specific evictions.

Read the full article...

Prison Population Watch
12,780 Occupancy Rate: ↘153%

Click here for the latest report on prison overcrowding
Monthly population figures as of February 27, 2014, from the 18 prisons monitored by LICADHO

The Great Cambodian Giveaway

Visualizing Land Concessions over Time