Topic: General Human RightsPress Release: Cambodia’s Legislature Dismantled on the Eve of the National Elections
Published on June 10, 2013; Cambodia’s National Assembly – its key legislative organ – has been thrust into a Constitutional crisis less than two months before the country’s national elections. Last week, the National Assembly’s Permanent Committee, which is comprised entirely of ruling Cambodia People’s Party members, stripped all 29 opposition party members of their parliamentary status. Because this expulsion took place within 6 months of a national election, the seats left empty by the purged parliamentarians were effectively terminated and will remain so under until after the election.
Published on June 10, 2013; On the morning of June 9, 2013, a series of well-organized protests occurred throughout Cambodia, at which participants denounced an alleged speech given by opposition party leader Kem Sokha. The Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP) leader allegedly claimed that Khmer Rouge S-21 prison was faked by the Vietnamese. These gatherings followed weeks of relentless attacks on Kem Sokha by the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) – mostly coming via CPP-dominated TV stations. Kem Sokha denies the accusation.
Published on May 2, 2013; We, the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) listed below, would like to reiterate our support and appeal for a free, fair and legitimate election that is held with the full confidence of all political parties contesting seats as well as members of the public casting their vote in the 2013 general election.
Published on May 1, 2013; On May 1, 2013, between 6,000 and 7,000 garment workers, union leaders, local communities, motodops, students, NGOs and others gathered in Phnom Penh to mark International Labor Day. The group marched from Freedom Park to the National Assembly in Phnom Penh, calling for living wages, improved working conditions and for justice in the Born Samnang/Sok Sam Oeun and Chhouk Bandith cases. This album contains a selection of photos from the march.
Published on May 1, 2013; On this International Labor Day, we, the undersigned civil society groups call upon all international garment brands sourcing from Cambodia to publicly denounce two recent baseless judicial decisions related to the garment sector. The first is the recent imprisonment of Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun. The two men were scapegoated and wrongly convicted in the 2004 murder of labor leader Chea Vichea. The second is the government’s failure to appropriately prosecute Chhouk Bandith, a well-connected former town governor who shot and severely injured three female garment factory workers.
Published on February 18, 2013; The human rights situation in Cambodia began 2012 teetering on the edge of a precipice, and by the end of the year had fallen off the cliff, according to a new report from LICADHO.
The past year was the most violent year ever documented in terms of the authorities using lethal force against activists, according to the report, “Human Rights 2012: The Year in Review.” The year also saw four deaths related to conflicts over natural resources, a growing atmosphere of fear and intimidation and the mass arrests of activists.
Published on February 14, 2013; Authorities continue to resort to the judicial system to silence those who assert their rights or question entrenched interests. Throughout 2012, court summonses and the threat of arrest were increasingly used to intimidate human rights defenders.
Published on February 13, 2013; As the frequency of land grabs has grown, so has the sense of desperation for Cambodians faced with eviction. The perpetrators of land grabs – from business leaders to police to hired hands who carry out actual evictions – operate with near complete impunity. Recourse to the notoriously corrupt judiciary is not an option. For the average Cambodian, the only avenue that offers the prospect of success is civil disobedience, namely public protest and individual action.
The government has become increasingly aggressive in attempting to shut down this avenue as well, despite the fact the vast majority of citizen protests documented by LICADHO during 2012 have been peaceful. Violence is often the government’s tactic of choice.
Published on February 12, 2013; The human rights situation in Cambodia began 2012 teetering on the edge of a precipice, and by the end of the year had fallen off the cliff.
The sheer volume of shocking turns makes it difficult to choose where to begin a summary of 2012: Independent radio station owner Mam Sonando was sentenced to 20 years in prison on politically-motivated charges. The country’s most prominent environmental activist was shot dead in the forest while investigating illegal logging. A journalist working on logging issues was murdered in Ratanakiri province. A town governor opened fire on protesting garment workers and has yet to spend a day in prison. And 17 leaders from Phnom Penh communities facing eviction spent time in prison.
Published on January 18, 2013; We, the undersigned members of civil society, international labor support organizations and trade unions express our extreme discontent that Kingsland factory owners have failed to attend conciliation regarding outstanding payments of almost S$200,000 owed to Kingsland employees. We further express our extreme dissatisfaction with the Ministry of Labor’s decision made on January 16, 2013, not to send the case to the Arbitration Council.
Published on December 19, 2012; From December 8th to December 17th, more than 42,000 Cambodians across the country celebrated "International Human Rights Day". Events were held to highlight land, labor, and human rights with the unifying slogan "We All Need Justice & Freedom!". The final event took place in Phnom Penh the morning of December 17th, when organizers & volunteers danced to a land-rights themed rendition of "Gangnam-style" in front of the National Assembly wearing t shirts which had been endorsed by over 11, 000 Cambodians. Participants also presented over 40,000 signatures calling for an end to evictions in Cambodia coordinated by Amnesty International volunteers living in France, Germany, New Zealand & South Korea.
Published on December 13, 2012; The government has issued a new circular ordering the closure of all Internet cafes within a 500 meter radius of schools and educational institutions – an order that, if implemented, would amount to a near-complete ban on such businesses in central Phnom Penh.
The circular, issued by the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications on November 12, 2012, also provides for further restrictions not limited by this school buffer zone. All Internet cafes are also required to forbid playing “all kinds of games,” essentially equating such activity with viewing pornography or committing crimes
Published on December 9, 2012; The climate for human rights defenders (HRDs) in Cambodia has soured dramatically since LICADHO's last HRD report in 2009, creating the country's worst human rights environment in more than a decade. Violence against activists is on the rise, key HRDs have been killed with impunity, and the courts have lost even the faintest semblance of impartiality.
The year 2012 has been particularly bad.
Published on December 8, 2012; Nearly 62,000 Cambodians will gather on Dec. 8, 9 & 10 to mark International Human Rights Day (IHRD) – including hundreds who will convene another day in front of the National Assembly in Phnom Penh to present petitions to the country’s lawmakers.
Published on October 2, 2012; Venerable Loun Sovath was awarded the 2012 Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders on Oct. 2, becoming the first Cambodian ever to win the prestigious honor.
The award, known colloquially as the “Nobel Prize for human rights”, was created in 1993 to honor and protect individuals who demonstrate exceptional courage in defending and promoting human rights. Sovath is the first Buddhist monk and first Southeast Asian to win the award. He was on hand to receive the award during a special ceremony in Geneva, Switzerland.