October 10, 2016: Today is the 31st World Habitat Day marking the reason why the victims of land and housing disputes decided to bring their petitions to the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction by matching from a place called Dey Kraham to Freedom Park. This marching did not go smoothly as there were clashes between Daun Penh para police forces and the marching victims. One among the victims who was beaten by the police is Mr. Am Sam Ath from Licadho. Sam Ath, a Licadho monitoring manager, was at the scene to observe if there is human rights violence, and finally he was himself hurt by the police. Immediately after the violence, Sam Ath was interviewed, and he said:
“I told them not to use violence and that’s just it, and that they decided to beat me. I think the country really has no law at all, and the prime minister should oversee the police forces in Cambodia because this might affect the new coming national election. And I have already notified that I am the human rights officer. If I saw violence happening to people, I would ask for not doing so. However, they didn’t stop and used violence even on me. This shows that Cambodia does not respect human rights, and these police are used to force the people. By doing so, don’t blame the citizens over their condemns on human rights violation in the country. If they dare to use violence on human rights officer, there is no doubt that they would do onto the people. Therefore, they should not refuse the facts.”
With the help of people there, Sam Ath was able to escape from the violence. Moreover, he was also accompanied by some land and housing victims to a secured place. Sam Ath refused to go to the hospital, saying that he would be fine. After this incident, the marching people still continued to the Freedom Park. A participant who is a representative from Boeung Kak community said that his arm was hit while he was trying to record the video of the violence, and his phone was suddenly lost.