Latest Documents

Briefing
The Dangers of Dissent: Attacks on Cambodia’s Human Rights Defenders

Released in July 2017

As Cambodia’s human rights situation continues to backslide, exposing and speaking out against state-perpetrated abuses is ever more crucial. In the last two years, however, human rights defenders and other critical or independent voices have been among the main victims of Cambodia’s fractious political situation. In July 2016, one human rights defender who regularly offered dissenting views paid the ultimate price. Political analyst Kem Ley was shot dead in broad daylight; although the main suspect was subsequently convicted of murder after a four-hour trial, to date, there has been no credible thorough investigation into the killing.

In this latest in a series of recurring briefing papers, LICADHO sets out threats facing those who stand up for human rights in today’s Cambodia. Long-standing tactics used to silence human rights defenders – judicial harassment by a politicized court system; state-sponsored violence; and intolerance of peaceful protest – have been reinforced by new incapacitating laws and targeted digital surveillance. Although the examples presented in this paper are by no means exhaustive, taken together they provide a snapshot into the kinds of abuses that human rights defenders have been routinely subjected to in Cambodia over the last two years. With a national election only a year away, it is more than likely that these trends and tactics provide a window into the future, and that attacks on human rights defenders will continue to be part of the government’s ongoing efforts to further restrict the basic constitutional freedoms of Cambodian citizens.

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Document
Joint Open Letter: Request to Create a Commission of Inquiry into the killing of Kem Ley

Released in July 2017

Ahead of the one-year anniversary of the killing of Kem Ley, we, the undersigned, reiterate our concerns regarding the apparent lack of progress in investigating this case, as well as the inadequate investigation and trial of Oeuth Ang, the only person yet convicted or charged in relation to Kem Ley’s death. In light of the inadequacy of the investigation, we urge the Royal Government of Cambodia (“RGC”) to establish an independent and impartial Commission of Inquiry, in line with international standards, to continue the investigation.

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Report
Human Rights 2016: The Year in Review

Released in February 2017

On 10 July, 2016, prominent political analyst Kem Ley was shot dead in the middle of Phnom Penh. His murder sent shockwaves across Cambodia, and his funeral saw hundreds of thousands of Cambodians take to the street in numbers not seen since the 2013 elections to accompany his body from the capital city to his home village in Takeo province.

His shocking murder took place amid mounting political tensions. Elections are set for 2017 and 2018, and throughout the year the Cambodian government appeared increasingly determined to shut down civil and political dissent through use of force, legal attacks and a legislative assault before the country goes to the polls. By July, there were 29 documented political prisoners in Cambodia’s jails. At the end of the year, 27 remain imprisoned still.

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Report
Built on Slavery: Debt Bondage and Child Labour in Cambodia’s Brick Factories

Released in December 2016

On the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, LICADHO publishes its report “Built on Slavery: Debt Bondage and Child Labour in Cambodia’s Brick Factories” which presents evidence of the widespread use of contemporary forms of slavery in Cambodia’s brick manufacturing industry. It finds that despite the existence of comprehensive and long-standing legislation criminalizing the use of debt bondage and prohibiting child labour, competent authorities are making no efforts to eradicate them and are in fact enabling their survival.

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Briefing
Getting Away With It – 2016 Update

Released in November 2016

A year ago, to mark the 2015 16 Days Against Gender Based Violence campaign, LICADHO published a report Getting Away With It: The Treatment of Rape in Cambodia’s Justice System. The report was based on cases investigated by LICADHO in 2012, 2013 and 2014 and found that there were grave and systemic flaws in how rape cases are prosecuted in Cambodia and as a result, a disturbingly low number of convictions. There were several reasons for this: the extensive use of financial compensation to settle cases, widespread corruption amongst the police and the judiciary, poor understanding and application of the law by judges, and the prevalence of discriminatory attitudes towards women.

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Document
Joint Open Letter: Seeking Clarification Regarding Sand Exports

Released in October 2016

We, the undersigned civil society organizations, write to His Excellency Mr. Suy Sem, the Minister of Mines and Energy, to request clarification regarding sand exported overseas by Cambodia from 2007 to 2015. A Ministry spokesman has been quoted as saying that Cambodia’s global sand exports amounted to just over 17 million tons between 2007 and 2015. However, the only official export data issued to date by the Cambodian government in relation to sand exports, from the Ministry of Commerce, only discloses sand exports to Singapore for the same period, totaling about 2.8 million tons. The Cambodian government is yet to explain to which other countries it is exporting sand to, or at what price this sand is being sold for.

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Report
Human Rights 2016: Six Months in Review

Released in August 2016

Under the shadow of approaching commune and national elections set for 2017 and 2018, the first six months of 2016 saw the Cambodian government engage with a campaign to systematically shut down processes of democratic expression and ways to express dissent.

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DocumentOpen Letter: Call on the Human Rights Council to Adopt a Resolution Addressing Cambodia's Gravely Deteriorating Human Rights Situation

Released in August 2016

We, the undersigned international, regional, and Cambodian non-governmental organizations, urge your delegation to support the adoption of a resolution addressing Cambodia's gravely deteriorating human rights situation at the 33rd session of the Human Rights Council.

This resolution should highlight and condemn the ongoing and systematic human rights violations in the country and impunity for their perpetrators; build on the concerns expressed by a number of States at the Council's 32nd session; and urge the Cambodian Government to urgently take corrective action to preserve the legacy of the Paris Peace Agreements, ahead of their 25th anniversary and of key municipal and general elections.

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BriefingTimeline of harassment of opposition MPs, members, and supporters

Released in April 2016

Over the past nine months, members, supporters, and elected representatives of Cambodia’s main opposition party, the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), as well as the Sam Rainsy Party (SRP), have faced increasing harassment, attacks, arbitrary arrests, and imprisonment.

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Briefing
Cambodia's Law on Telecommunications: A Legal Analysis

Released in March 2016

Behind a façade of “technical” intent, the new Law on Telecommunications (Telecoms Law) poses a severe threat to freedom of expression in Cambodia, targeting not only online public expression but also any private communications made using telecommunications devices.

In a briefing paper released today, LICADHO analyses the law’s most egregious provisions – which, among others, allow the government to secretly intrude into the private lives of individuals, destroy evidence before criminal trials, and seize control of the entire telecoms industry if arbitrarily deemed warranted. Its excessive measures, particularly those creating new criminal offenses, reveal the true intent of the law: to intimidate individuals, punish the exercise of fundamental rights and freedoms and quash individual and group dissent.

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