Latest Flash News & Articles

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.

Flash News: Smoke grenades used by military police in violent dispersal of protesters
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.

Flash News: CNRP forum disrupted in Kampong Cham province
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.

Flash News: Union & association gathering turns to violent clashes
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.

Flash News: Remembering Dey Krahorm: 5 years since violent eviction
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.

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