Latest Flash Info & Articles

Article: Authorities Detain Seven People for Marking Third Anniversary of Kem Ley’s death
Published on 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.

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Flash Info: Missing Preah Vihear Community Representative Located
Published on April 1, 2019audio available

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.

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Article: Preah Vihear community representative missing for two months
Published on 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.

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Article: UN Reviews Human Rights Situation in Cambodia
Published on 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.

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Article: Authorities Shoot Land Protestor in Latest Use of Lethal Force
Published on 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.

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Flash Info: Still no justice for murdered trade union leader
Published on January 22, 2019audio available

About 100 people including trade unionists, teachers, and tuk-tuk drivers gathered in central Phnom Penh this morning to commemorate the fifteenth anniversary of the murder of Chea Vichea, one of the country’s most prominent trade unionists.

On 22 January 2004, Vichea was shot in broad daylight at a newspaper stall near the capital’s Wat Langka temple. Trade union activists and members of civil society gathered metres away from the site of his murder this morning to hold a Buddhist ceremony and give speeches honouring the former union leader, who served as President of the Free Trade Union of the Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia (FTUWKC).

The injustice of Vichea’s murder was later compounded by the false convictions of two innocent men, Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeurn, who were falsely accused of his murder. Both men spent five years in prison before their sentences were overturned. Participants at the commemoration called on authorities to find the real perpetrators and provide justice for Vichea, his family and friends.

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Article: Civil Society Marks Five-Year Anniversary of Veng Seng Killings
Published on 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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Flash Info: Borei Keila Residents Commemorate 2012 Violent Eviction
Published on January 3, 2019audio available

Residents of Phnom Penh’s Borei Keila community today commemorated the seven-year anniversary of their violent and forced eviction in 2012, to make way for a high-rise development project owned by an influential businesswoman.

Around 40 community and civil society members gathered at the site to perform a religious ceremony and addressed the media on their eviction and land rights issues. However, 10 police officers were present at the site to monitor the event, and prevented residents from hanging or holding banners highlighting their grievances.

On 3 January 2012, residents of the community were evicted from the site when Phan Imex Corporation, owned by well-connected tycoon Suy Sophan, demolished their homes without any notice, with the aid of the armed state forces.

Phan Imex was given the land under a deal that would see them develop ten buildings on the site to relocate the residents, leaving 2.6 hectares to be developed by the firm. However in 2010, it reneged on the deal after developing only eight buildings, leaving out 300 families from the original agreement.

While many families moved to relocation sites outside the city, which lacked access to basic services, some have returned to the site and continue to live in decrepit conditions demanding a fair resolution to the evictions.

Article: Cambodia Civil Society Restrictions Still in Place on Human Rights Day
Published on December 10, 2018audio available

Phnom Penh municipality banned a Human Rights Day march planned for this morning but celebrations went ahead nonetheless amid a heavy police presence at a government-approved location four kilometres from the city centre. Security forces wearing crash helmets outnumbered participants and cordoned off the square.

Several hundred garment workers, farmers, teachers, trade unionists, community representatives and youths attended the event organised by trade unions and associations at the so-called “new” Freedom Park in Russey Keo district. The municipality threatened legal action if the organisers went ahead with a march affecting “security and public order”, despite the fact that 10 December is an annual public holiday with far less traffic in the city.

Despite recent government declarations about the lifting of restrictions on civil society groups, authorities continued to restrict the movements of communities across the country, preventing them from gathering in public, demanding letters of permission and dictating where they could meet.

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Article: 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence: Sor Sorn
Published on December 7, 2018audio available

To mark the international campaign 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence (25 November – 10 December) LICADHO is highlighting women land campaigners and human rights defenders (HRDs) who face state violence in Cambodia.

At least a half a million Cambodians have lost their land and homes in forced evictions over the last two decades and women have been at the forefront of peaceful protests demanding justice and fair compensation. Their activism has often been met with violent attacks by security forces as well as judicial harassment and arbitrary detention.
Over the 16 days, we are publishing profiles of women who – despite many hardships – continue to speak out in solidarity with others to demand justice.

Sor Sorn (58) has faced repeated harassment, arrests and detentions for protesting against the violent forced eviction of Borei Keila community in Phnom Penh.

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Article: 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence: Um Sophy
Published on December 5, 2018audio available

To mark the international campaign 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence (25 November – 10 December) LICADHO is highlighting women land campaigners and human rights defenders who face state violence in Cambodia.

At least a half a million Cambodians have lost their land and homes in forced evictions over the last two decades and women have been at the forefront of peaceful protests demanding justice and fair compensation. Their activism has often been met with violent attacks by security forces as well as judicial harassment and arbitrary detention.

Over the 16 days, we are publishing profiles of women who – despite many hardships – continue to speak out in solidarity with others to demand justice.

Um Sophy (39) has faced serious harassment, multiple criminal cases and even lost her job as a teacher as a result of her tireless activism to defend her community’s land against a politically connected company.

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Article: 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence: Phav Nherng
Published on November 29, 2018audio available

To mark the international campaign 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence (25 November – 10 December) LICADHO is highlighting women land campaigners and human rights defenders who face state violence in Cambodia.

At least a half a million Cambodians have lost their land and homes in forced evictions over the last two decades and women have been at the forefront of peaceful protests demanding justice and fair compensation. Their activism has often been met with violent attacks by security forces as well as judicial harassment and arbitrary detention.

Over the 16 days, we are publishing profiles of women who – despite many hardships – continue to speak out in solidarity with others to demand justice.

Phav Nherng (39) has been at the forefront of a decade-long struggle to secure land for hundreds of farmers in Koh Kong province, braving harassment, threats, and detention because of her activism on behalf of her community.

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Article: 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence: Tep Vanny
Published on November 26, 2018audio available

To mark the international campaign 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence (25 November – 10 December) LICADHO is highlighting women land campaigners and human rights defenders (HRDs) who face state violence in Cambodia.

At least a half a million Cambodians have lost their land and homes in forced evictions over the last two decades and women have been at the forefront of peaceful protests demanding justice and fair compensation. Their activism has often been met with violent attacks by security forces as well as judicial harassment and arbitrary detention.

Over the 16 days, we will publish short profiles of women who – despite many hardships – continue to speak out in solidarity with others to demand justice.

We start with Tep Vanny (38), who has been at the forefront of Boeung Kak Lake community’s fight against forced evictions in Phnom Penh as well as being a fervent defender of human rights.

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Flash Info: Cambodia’s First Lèse Majesté Conviction
Published on October 5, 2018audio available

Cambodia’s new repressive lèse majesté law was used for the first time yesterday to convict a former opposition party official who was handed a one year sentence.

Ban Somphy, a 70-year-old barber and former district leader of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), was detained on 20 May 2018. He was accused of sharing a Facebook post allegedly criticising King Norodom Sihamoni which included a picture of Prime Minister Hun Sen and his wife and a video of angry villagers affected by flooding.

He was sentenced by Siem Reap provincial court under Criminal Code article 437 bis which was amended by the National Assembly in February amid strong opposition from civil society groups who warned that it would be used to silence government critics.

The law was introduced along with a series of vaguely phrased constitutional amendments targeting the opposition and civil society, including making “any activity” that directly or indirectly “affect[s] the interests” of Cambodia or its citizens” illegal.

Somphy has already spent four months in pre-trial detention. Five months of his one-year sentence was suspended, meaning he will remain in jail for a further three months.

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Article: Authorities Stop Communities Collecting Garbage and Discussing Land Rights
Published on October 1, 2018audio available

At least two communities have been prevented from celebrating the United Nations’ World Habitat Day by Cambodian authorities and others have cancelled events out of fear of reprisals.

More than 2,000 people in at least 30 communities nationwide have planned events to raise awareness of this year’s theme – “municipal solid waste management” – as well as the annual theme: the right to housing. Activities are taking place between 28 September and 5 October 2018, many of them in communities affected by land grabbing and forced evictions or threatened by new developments.

According to the UN, World Habitat Day (WHD) is an opportunity to “reflect on the state of our towns and cities, and on the basic right of all to adequate shelter”.

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