Latest Flash News & Articles

Article: 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.



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Flash News: Villagers block access to their endangered community in eastern Koh Kong
Published on March 16, 2014

Today, dozens of villagers have staged a road block in Koh Kong's Thmar Bang district to prevent Chinese company Sinohydro from bringing heavy machinery into the area for a large scale hydroelectric dam project which would force hundreds of families off their land.

This marks the third consecutive day villagers have blocked the road. Sinohydro's local partner Pheapimex, owned by CPP senator Lao Mengkin, has been involved in some of Cambodia's most notorious land conflicts, including the Boeung Kak lake dispute.

Flash News: Gatherings continue for justice and release
Published on March 3, 2014

This morning, civil society groups gathered once again to call for the release of 21 detainees, including garment workers and human rights activists, arrested in early January.

The group, including land communities, monks, youth networks, unions and NGOs, chanted, banged drums and sang outside Wat Ounalom for about an hour from 8am. The gathering was disrupted after authorities confiscated the drum and loudspeakers; a smaller group of about 200 participants, mainly from land communities, moved to Daun Penh district office to ask for the return of their confiscated equipment. They were confronted by security guards outside the office, leading to a minor clash which saw two women injured.

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Flash News: Kbal Thnal verdict: One man jailed while killing remains un-prosecuted
Published on February 28, 2014

This morning, three among the six men arrested at Kbal Thnal during deadly clashes on September 15, 2013, were found guilty of intentional violence and intentional destruction of property. The other three were cleared of the charges. All six men were tried at Phnom Penh Municipal Court on February 17, 2014.

Nguyen Thydoc, who has been held in CC1 since his arrest, was was sentenced to three years in prison with two years suspended. Van Neun and Lach Sameun, who were released on bail on October 22, 2013, were also sentenced to three years with all their remaining sentences suspended. All three men plan to appeal the verdict.

Meanwhile, no one from the armed forces has been prosecuted for ordering the use of live ammunition against unarmed civilians which resulted in the death of a bystander on September 15.

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Flash News: Kbal Thnal verdict delayed
Published on February 21, 2014

The verdict of the Kbal Thnal case, in which six men were arrested following clashes on September 15, 2013, has been delayed to February 28.

The men were arrested when roadblocks led to a clash between armed forces and people trying to return home near Kbal Thnal sky bridge. They were tried at Phnom Penh Municipal Court on February 17. Of the group of six men, four were released on bail on 22 October, one on 22 November and one remains in CC1 prison. All six are accused of intentional violence and intentional damage to property, which carry a combined possible sentence of four to ten years and in prison and fine of 8 million to 20 million Riels. During their trial, none of the men were identified by witnesses and all the police officers who testified denied that their unit had conducted the arrests. According to the presiding judge, the verdict has been delayed due to the complexity of the case.

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Flash News: Short-lived occupation by dispossessed Borei Keila ends in violence
Published on February 14, 2014

This morning, security forces violently ended Borei Keila community's two-day occupation of a building on their land once promised to them.

At about 7am this morning, the road leading to Borei Keila was blocked and riot police, military police and security guards were deployed to remove the families from the building. Six people were seriously injured in the ensuing clashes, including one 7-month-pregnant woman. On Wednesday, over 150 dispossessed Borei Keila families moved in to the building - once promised to them in a land-sharing agreement in 2003 - after the government again failed to remedy the loss of their homes following their violent eviction in January 2012.

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Flash News: Appeal Court denies release for rights defenders and workers
Published on February 11, 2014

This morning, 21 rights defenders and workers arrested early in January were refused bail by the Phnom Penh Appeal Court. The men, who were not present for the closed hearing, belong to the group of 23 arrested in early January amid a lethal clampdown of garment worker strikes and have been detained in CC3 since then. About 200 of their supporters, including their families, remain outside the court building where they have been peacefully gathered since early morning.

On Saturday, two of the group were released on bail prior to today's hearing.

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Article: 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.



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Flash News: Day before appeal: Groups take to the streets
Published on February 10, 2014

Today, groups, communities, and monks are releasing balloons in 57 places in Phnom Penh and the provinces in support of 23 rights defenders and workers arrested last month. After two were released on bail on February 8, the remaining 21 are set to appear at a bail hearing tomorrow at the Appeals Court. These actions are happening in conjunction with today’s global day of action for the arrested rights defenders and workers, which will see international unions IndustriALL, Global Union and ITUC mobilizing workers around the world to protest at Cambodian embassies in Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Canberra, Berlin, Brussels, Geneva, Hong Kong, Manila, Jakarta, London, and Seoul.

This morning, 100 land activists delivered a petition calling for their release to the Ministry of Justice. Several NGO representatives attempted to deliver a joint civil society petition with 197 signatures to the Vietnamese embassy but their petition was not accepted. At 10am, the Pochentong airport area community will release balloons at their community center.

At 11:30am, in over 40 locations throughout Phnom Penh, groups will gather to release 23 balloons. A larger group will release balloons in front of the Royal Palace. Other groups will simultaneously release balloons in Siem Reap, Poipet, Kampong Som, and Kampot.

Additionally, people from eight unions and NGOs plan to march to the US, Chinese, French, and British embassies to deliver a petition calling for the release of the jailed protesters in January’s violent clampdown and for a $160 minimum wage for garment workers. Their march will culminate at the Royal Palace at 11:30am, where they will join the large group to release balloons.

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.



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Flash News: Two of the 23 now free prior to appeal bail hearing
Published on February 8, 2014

This morning, Bou Sarith, 27 years old, and Yon Sok Chea, 17 years old, were released on bail from CC3 prison and Kampong Cham provincial prison respectively. The two belong to the group of 23 workers and rights defenders arrested in early January during the garment worker strike, and have been detained since then.

They are currently at a Kampong Cham pagoda with their families for a blessing before returning to Phnom Penh.

All 23 men workers and rights defenders were initially refused bail at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on January 21. The bail hearing at the Appeal Court for the remaining 21 workers and human rights defenders is still set for February 11.

Flash News: Two among the 23 to be freed prior to bail hearing
Published on February 7, 2014

This morning, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court granted bail to two garment factory workers: Bou Sarith, 27 years old, and Yon Sok Chea, 17 years old. The two belong to the group of 23 workers and rights defenders arrested in early January during the garment worker strike.

Their families and lawyers are currently on their way to CC3 prison and Kampong Cham provincial prison.

All 23 men were refused bail at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on January 21. The bail hearing at the Phnom Penh Appeal Court for the remaining 21 workers and human rights defenders is still set for February 11.

Flash News: Another round of religious prayers to release the 23 detainees
Published on February 7, 2014

This morning about 100 civil society members and monks gathered at Preah Ong Dongkau on Riverside to call for the release of 23 detained workers and rights workers in anticipation of their bail hearing, set for Tuesday, February 11.

23 monks prayed for the release of the 23 men, who were arrested during the garment protests in early January, as the group released birds and balloons into the air. This gathering comes ahead of a planned Global Day of Action which will see global unions including IndistrALL Global Union, UNI Global Union and the ITUC mobilising workers around the world to protest at Cambodian embassies on February 10, the day before the bail hearing, to demand the release of the 23.

Flash News: Praying for justice & release on site of deadly clampdown
Published on February 1, 2014

This afternoon, about 80 people, including 20 monks, gathered on Veng Sreng street, the site of the Jan 2 and 3 clashes, to call for a release of the 23 imprisoned workers and human rights defenders and for justice for those injured and killed during the violence.

The ceremony took place in front of Canadia business park, where the two days of violence resulted in more than 40 people hospitalized and four people confirmed dead.

Flash News: Civil society continues to petition for freedom
Published on January 29, 2014

This morning, unions, associations, communities and other civil society groups submitted petitions to six embassies and two UN offices calling for the release of the 23 human rights defenders and workers arrested earlier this month, an end to violence against protesters, an inquiry into the violent clashes of Jan 2 and 3 and reparations to victims of the clashes.

Shortly after their first stop at the embassy of Singapore, the group of about 80 people was briefly obstructed by about 15 municipal guards and a line of riot police. Once they were allowed to continue, the protesters successfully submitted the petitions to the UNDP and UNFPA offices and the embassies of Brunei, Myanmar, Indonesia, Philippines, and China. The petitions have 197 civil society signatories so far.