Boeung Kak LakeStatement The Dangers of Dissent: Attacks on Cambodia’s Human Rights Defenders
July 3, 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 this latest in a series of 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.
May 9, 2017
We, the undersigned Cambodian and international civil society organizations, condemn the removal by district and commune police authorities of banners calling for the release of six human rights defenders. Banners were removed from the offices of the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC), the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO) and Mother Nature in Koh Kong’s Smach Meanchey commune on 2 May 2017, as well as from three residences in Koh Kong province’s Srae Ambel district on 3 May 2017.
February 23, 2017
We, the undersigned civil society groups, condemn today’s unjust conviction and sentencing of Tep Vanny and the latest outrageous violence perpetrated by para-police against her supporters outside Phnom Penh Municipal Court.
February 15, 2017 Boeung Kak Lake representatives Tep Vanny, Bo Chhorvy, Kong Chantha and Heng Mom faced a hearing this morning to appeal convictions handed down to them last September by Phnom Penh Municipal Court in relation to a 2011 protest. Appeal Court judge Nhoung Thol will announce the verdict on 27 February. Neither plaintiff was present at the hearing, preventing cross-examination, and evidence presented was limited.
In their first trial, all four women were found guilty of obstruction of a public official with aggravating circumstances and insult and sentenced to six months' imprisonment. Since then, Tep Vanny has remained in pre-trial detention in CC2 prison – where she has now been for half a year – for separate charges relating to a protest held by Boeung Kak Lake community in 2013 in front of the Prime Minister's house. Bo Chhorvy, Kong Chantha and Heng Mom were not arrested as the sentences will not be enforced until all appeals are exhausted. None of the evidence presented at the original trial or the appeal hearing sufficiently proved the guilt of the four women.
About 40 community members and supporters from land communities and civil society groups gathered outside the court during today's hearing.
February 7, 2017
Two human rights defenders have been summonsed as suspects in relation to violence that occurred when para-police blocked a peaceful World Habitat Day march in October 2016. During the altercation, both men – LICADHO’s Monitoring Manager Am Sam Ath, who was monitoring the event at the time, and Boeung Kak Lake community representative Chan Puthisak, who was documenting the march – were badly beaten by para-police in targeted attacks against them.
October 10, 2016
We, the undersigned civil society groups, are outraged by this morning’s unjustified use of violence by district para-police officers during a march to peacefully celebrate World Habitat Day, and we strongly condemn this reprehensible attack.
August 18, 2016
We, the undersigned civil society groups, demand the immediate release of two Boeung Kak Lake activists – Ms. Tep Vanny and Ms. Bov Sophea – who were charged and sent to provisional detention in Prey Sar’s CC2 prison on 17 August 2016, in relation to their involvement in the “Black Monday” campaign. We also call on authorities to drop the spurious incitement charges against them, and allow for peaceful assemblies, such as those in support of the Black Monday campaign, as protected under Cambodian and international law.
December 17, 2015
To celebrate International Human Rights Day (IHRD), about 10,000 people from rural and urban communities participated in 20 marches and events across the country from December 6 to December 10. These were organized by the informal network Friends of December 10th, which includes youth, land communities, associations, farmers, monks, and NGOs. On December 10, groups peacefully marched from various locations in Phnom Penh toward the Ministry of Justice to demand that the government resolve Cambodia’s land conflict epidemic; reform the judicial system and release human rights defenders and activists; raise the minimum wage and respect labour rights; end state-sponsored violence; and respect freedoms of expression, association and peaceful assembly. This year’s IHRD theme was ‘Justice’.
October 5, 2015
This morning, over 1,400 community members, monks and grassroots groups from across Cambodia gathered in Phnom Penh to celebrate the 30th World Habitat Day and to call on authorities to respect Cambodian people’s right to housing.
January 26, 2015
We the undersigned civil society groups condemn the indefensible verdicts issued this morning by the Court of Appeal in the cases of ten land activists and one monk.
December 15, 2014
To celebrate International Human Rights Day (IHRD) this year, 600 monks marched alongside land activists, associations, unions, rural and urban residents, and NGOs, on six national roads towards Phnom Penh from December 5 to December 10. This year’s IHRD theme was “Respecting Human Rights Leads to Peace!” For the first time, indigenous communities in Ratanakiri province participated in IHRD by organizing their own march on National Road 7, which began on December 4.
December 8, 2014
On November 10 and 11, 10 Boeung Kak land rights activists were arrested while staging peaceful protests in Phnom Penh. By November 12, all had been sentenced to a year in prison. The imprisonment of the women occured during a wave of arrests which targeted not only land rights activists but also opposition party members and activist monks. Nineteen of those arrested remain in detention.
This photo album focuses on the 10 female Boeung Kak activists whose struggle for a just resolution to their land dispute has now lasted seven years. For five of them, this is their second prison term.
December 8, 2014
On Wednesday, Cambodia will celebrate International Human Rights Day. LICADHO takes this opportunity to recall attention to the 19 men and women who have been wrongfully imprisoned following a recent spate of arrests in Phnom Penh. LICADHO condemns these imprisonments and the continued abuse of the judicial system by the ruling party and well-connected individuals.
November 23, 2014
To mark the start of the global campaign, 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence, LICADHO has published a report exploring how the lives of women campaigners are changed by their activism. It reveals the high price women pay, suffering not only serious economic and emotional impacts but also often domestic violence and family breakdown.
November 12, 2014
On the morning of Tuesday, November 11, approximately 50 representatives from several land communities gathered outside the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to protest the detention of seven Boeung Kak Lake activists who had been arrested the day before while protesting outside Phnom Penh City Hall against the alleged failure of city authorities to deal with the issue of flooding around the site of the former lake.
Over 100 riot police and security guards violently broke up the protest in front of the court and arrested three additional land activists and one monk.