Questioning and violation of rights of Community Leader by police at World Habitat Day event in Prek Takong 60 Metres

Photos provided to STT by community members

At around 8.30am, police and authorities from Chak Angre Leu Sangkat arrived at Prek Takong 60 Metre community and began to cancel the World Habitat Day (WHD) event being held by the community. Police informed the community that the event was illegal and a community representative was then arrested and taken to the Sangkat office. The community representative was then shown a letter and asked to place their thumbprint on it. The letter stated that the community representative will not celebrate any events in the future without asking for prior permission from the Municipality of Phnom Penh and Ministry of Interior.

In addition, the police questioned the community representative, asking specifically who had helped to support the event and implying that they knew NGOs were “behind this”.

Photos provided to STT by community members

The community representative was then released from the Sangkat office at around 10:00am after putting their thumbprint on the letter mentioned. The community representative was told they were not allowed to leave until they put their thumbprint on the letter.

Last week, Prek Takong 60 Metre community informed local authorities of their intention to hold a WHD event and authorities said it would be illegal to do so. The community followed procedures under the Law on Peaceful Demonstrations (2009) and has not violated this law.

Photos provided to STT by community members

This community is located in the Boeung Tompoun lake area, which is a hotbed for land conflicts as much of the area is under development by the ING Holdings group.