Latest Flash News & ArticlesFlash 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.
Published on January 27, 2014
Violent suppression of peaceful protests continued today as municipal security guards, civilians wielding electric batons as well as military police and riot police blocked Mam Sonando supporters from protesting in Freedom Park and at the Ministry of Information, leaving at least ten people injured including six hospitalised.
Mam Sonando, owner of Beehive radio station, and approximately 1,000 supporters were prevented from entering Freedom Park by municipal security guards and civilians carrying electric batons early this morning. The guards and civilians attempted to block their route from the park to the Ministry of Information, where protesters demanded that Beehive - one of the few independent broadcasters in Cambodia - be allowed its own TV station and nationwide broadcasts. Arriving at the Ministry at about 10am, they were met by locked gates and about 800 military police and riot police. Soon after, more security forces emerged from nearby City Hall, blocking Monivong Boulevard to the crowd. Authorities warned supporters and journalists to vacate the area. Within minutes, more than 1,000 security forces advanced in formation on the group. In a 20-minute period, forces detonated smoke grenades and used electric batons on the supporters and bystanders, severely beating and shocking at least eight people. At least two civilian thugs carrying slingshots similar to those used in previous protests were beaten by some in the crowd. At about 10.30am, protesters re-grouped outside the nearby US embassy and were forced away by riot police, pushing a small group to march towards Independence Monument on Norodom Boulevard. At about 11am, about a hundred riot police armed with guns dispersed the crowd for a final time, chasing protesters from the Boulevard.
Published on January 26, 2014
Today, a CNRP forum has been disrupted in Kampong Cham following hours of intimidation.
Yesterday afternoon, dozens of trucks carrying military police and soldiers drove around Kampong Cham town into the evening, focusing on the CNRP headquarter offices. CNRP leader Kem Sokha arrived late in the evening following a forum in Prey Veng. This morning, entrances to Kampong Cham town were blocked to prevent CNRP activists from attending the forum. Kem Sokha was prevented from leaving his hotel, Leap Vireaksa, by over one hundred civilians wearing CPP logos and carrying CPP flags tied to large wooden batons who surrounded the building. At the same time, another group of civilians similarly dressed surrounded the CNRP office in Kampong Cham where Kem Sokha was due to speak. At around 8.30am, the group outside the hotel joined those outside the office, creating a crowd of over 2,000 people waving flags tied to large wooden batons and shouting anti-CNRP and anti-Kem Sokha slogans with loudspeakers. Inside the office, other CNRP MPs are speaking to about 1,000 CNRP supporters who had managed to pass the blocks into the town.
Published on January 26, 2014
A union and association gathering inside Freedom Park this morning has been violently blocked as hundreds of military police and riot police armed with guns and electric batons joined municipal security guards and thugs wielding slingshots, rocks and batons, with both groups indiscriminately targeting union supporters, journalists and rights observers. So far, at least eight people are known to have been injured.
The peaceful gathering, organised by 9 unions and associations including IDEA, CATU, CITA, CICA, CFSWF, NTUC, BWTUC, FTUWC and CYN, called for the release of 23 workers and rights defenders arrested earlier this month, a rise in the minimum wage to $160 a month, and end to violence against human rights defenders and justice for the deaths during the Jan 2 and 3 clashes. The gathering was blocked by at least 400 riot police and municipal security guards in Freedom Park, who forced hundreds of union organisers and supporters from Freedom Park and surrounding streets to Dragon Bridge, Wat Phnom and Preah Aung Dong hospital. During sporadic bouts of violence from 9.30am, security guards threw rocks in to the crowd and shocked and hit participants with electric batons. Two people believed to be undercover authority have been beaten by the crowd. Two people have reportedly been arrested during the clashes.
Published on January 24, 2014
On Jan 24, 2009, Dey Krahorm community was razed to the ground in a violent eviction carried out by company 7NG and state authorities. Hundreds of families were left homeless. Some residents were sent to a relocation site 45 kms from Phnom Penh.
This morning, communities, including Boeng Kak lake, Borei Keila and Thmor Kol, unions and other civil society groups joined former Dey Krahorm residents in solidarity to mark the 5-year anniversary of their brutal eviction. Outside the Dey Krahorm land, where new buildings have just started construction, communities spoke of their own eviction experiences and their determination to continue fighting forced relocation. The groups also called for the release of the 23 workers and human rights defenders imprisoned in early January. One of the detainees, Chan Puthisak, is a leader of the Boeung Kak Lake community.
Published on January 21, 2014
The eleven human rights defenders detained this morning during an embassy march to petition diplomatic intervention to release the 23 protesters held in CC3 have been released from the Phnom Penh municipal police station. They were released without charge, but only after signing a letter promising not to participate in future demonstrations.
Published on January 21, 2014
Eleven people have been detained following a gathering outside the US embassy in Phnom Penh this morning to deliver a petition signed by 182 groups calling for the release of the 23 jailed during violent crackdowns earlier this month. The arrested people are: Rong Chhun, president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers Association (CITA), Boeung Kak lake activists Tep Vanny, Yorm Bopha, Song Sreyleap, Pan Chunreth, Bov Sorphea, Erm Sreytouch, and Ngoun Kimlang, as well as Choung Sopheap, activist from Thmor Kaul airport-area community, Long Kim Heang, staff member of Housing Rights Task Force (HRTF), and Cheang Thida, activist of the Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions (CATU).
Additionally, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court just informed NGO lawyers that the 22 of the 23 arrested earlier this month and detained in CC3 have been refused bail release. The Phnom Penh Appeal Court deadline for announcing the bail decision for Vorn Pao, president of Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association (IDEA), is February 3, 2014.
Published on January 20, 2014
At 10:20AM, Sokchhun Oeung, Vice President of the Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association (IDEA), was released from Phnom Penh municipal police station where he had been detained 17-hours overnight following his arrest during yesterday's gathering.
The 23 rights defenders and workers arrested earlier in January remain detained in CC3 prison. They include Vorn Pao, President of IDEA.
Published on January 19, 2014
A gathering this afternoon calling for the release of the 23 workers and rights defenders arrested earlier this month, and for an increase in the minimum wage, has ended with the arrest of Sokchhun Oeung, Vice President of the Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association (IDEA). Vorn Pao, President of IDEA, was among the 23 rights defenders and workers arrested earlier in the month.
At 4pm, before the gathering began, media and human rights observers waiting at Wat Ounalom for the main group to arrive were forced out of the grounds by about 50 security guards and civilians wearing black motorcycle helmets. The group moved to Preah Ong Dongkau spirit house in front of the Royal Palace, closely followed by the guards and civilians. At about 5pm, there were multiple standoffs which involved the guards intimidating and pushing demonstrators for over an hour. Organisers and rights observers responded by linking arms, singing the Cambodian national anthem and songs of peaceful resistance. During this period, at least two trucks of riot police arrived at the palace. At 5.30pm, they arrested Sokchhun Oeung, who was standing towards the back of the gathering. He has been taken to the Phnom Penh municipal police station. Lawyers are currently on their way there to try and secure his release. According to Cambodian law, he can be detained for up to 24 hours without seeing a lawyer and up to 48 hours without charge.
Published on January 8, 2014
At 10 am, Sem Sakola, a Phnom Penh investigation judge, called LICADHO lawyers to confirm that six clients arrested and charged during the violent crackdown of garment protesters in the Canadia Industrial Area on Veng Sreng Road last week are being held in CC3 prison. The six clients include Vorn Pao, president of union Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association (IDEA), Theng Savoeun, president of the Coalition of Cambodian Farmer’s Community (CCFC), and Chan Puthisak, a land activist from Boeung Kak Lake.
As well, the CC3 prison director has permitted a LICADHO doctor to treat all 23 individuals this afternoon. CC3 prison is an isolated prison located two hours from Kampong Cham town northeast of the capital, Phnom Penh. As of December 2013, CC3 prison held 1,496 male prisoners.
Published on January 6, 2014
Five female representatives of Boeung Kak Lake community were arrested this morning as they prepared to protest in front of the French Embassy for the release of other imprisoned human rights defenders.
Meanwhile authorities continue to refuse to disclose the place of detention of at least 23 other people who were arrested and charged during recent brutal crackdowns in Phnom Penh. One of them is 17 year old boy. For the past three days their families, lawyers and independent medical professionals have been denied information about their location and health condition. Some were savagely beaten during arrest in Phnom Penh and are in urgent need of medical attention.
Those arrested this morning are Tep Vanny, Yorm Bopha, Pan Chunreth, Bop Chorvy and Sok Srey Leap. They are currently held at a police station on National Road 5.
Published on January 3, 2014
Yesterday, January 2, 2014, ten men, including Vorn Pao, President of IDEA, Theng Savoeun, Coordinator of CCFC, and Chan Puthisak, community leader from Boeung Kak Lake, were arrested by Cambodian soldiers in front of the Yak Jin factory on National Road #4. This morning they were taken to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court t and charged with two offences: intentional violence with aggravating circumstances and intentional damage with aggravating circumstances. The men were finally given access to medical attention before being sent to CC1 prison.
The ten men are represented by lawyers from four organizations. They face up to 18 months of pre-trial detention and up to 5 years’ imprisonment as well as fines from $1,000 - $2,500.
Published on November 22, 2013
After more than 14 months detention, Yorm Bopha was finally released from Police Judiciaire prison (PJ) at 5.45 this evening. Her much-anticipated Supreme Court hearing began this morning at 9.45 as more than 400 supporters, including monks and civil society, joined her family and community outside the courtroom. After a 2-hour hearing, the Supreme Court granted bail to Bopha pending her re-trial at the Appeal Court.
Clearly emotional to be reunited with her eight-year-old son, and expressing gratitude to her fellow community members for their unstinting support, Bopha headed to Boeung Kak surrounded by well-wishers to celebrate her release.
Get the details of today's release via our live stream.
Published on June 28, 2013
The government has imposed shocking and expansive measures to censor Cambodia’s local news media ahead of July 28 elections, banning FM radio stations from rebroadcasting “foreignbased programs” in Khmer and from reporting on foreigners who are campaigning “to support or oppose” political parties or candidates.
The ban will stay in place through the July 28 National Assembly election day.
Published on June 18, 2013
Imprisoned Boeung Kak Lake land activist Yorm Bopha filed an appeal with the Supreme Court on June 17, 2013, in a bid to overturn or reduce her two-year prison sentence. She was convicted for her alleged involvement in a physical assault, but it is widely believed that the charges came in retaliation for her land rights activism.
Bopha was arrested in September 2012 and convicted of “intentional violence” in December; she was originally sentenced to three years imprisonment. The Court of Appeal suspended one year of her sentence on Friday, June 14, meaning she is scheduled for release in September 2014. Both Bopha’s original trial and her appeal were characterized by a stunning lack of evidence