Publication

Publication

STATEMENT: Cambodian Government Must Act to End Human Rights Abuses in Microfinance Sector

7 May 2024

The Cambodian government must urgently act to address predatory lending and abusive collection practices in the country’s microfinance sector, local and international CSOs urge in a submission ahead of the UN Human Rights Council’s universal periodic review (UPR) of Cambodia.

The call to address long-standing and widely reported abuses in Cambodia’s microfinance sector comes as 30 recommendations made in the 2019 UPR cycle to improve the human rights situation have gone unheeded due to a lack of meaningful government oversight. This has enabled Cambodia’s microloan sector to balloon in recent years, with average loan sizes rising to over $5,000—the highest in the world—and coerced debt-driven land sales happening in significant numbers across the country.

Our organisations’ submission comes after years of monitoring and researching borrowers’ complaints. It details reporting and evidence from various sources on how the debt burdens in Cambodia have negatively impacted the right to education, the right to health, the right to food, the right to an adequate standard of living, and the rights of Indigenous Peoples, among others.

The UN Secretary-General warned against the foreseeable loss of land due to Cambodia’s high average microloan repayment sizes and the use of land as collateral in September 2021. The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights expressed concern in March 2023 that microfinance loans were negatively impacting the right to an adequate standard of living. Three quantitative studies undertaken in the last two years found that roughly 6% of borrowers had sold land to repay microloan debts. One study’s findings indicate that 167,000 Cambodians sold their land to repay microloans between 2017 and 2022.

In his 2022 and 2023 reports to the Human Rights Council, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia called for debt relief and more direct governmental action to regulate financial practices and monitor lenders in order to stem the serious plight of land loss and the rise in poverty associated with microfinance debt. In a 2022 survey, over 3% of children in surveyed households had dropped out of school specifically due to a microloan, and over 4% of children—including children as young as 10 years old—were working specifically to pay back a microloan. In a representative survey, 18.3% of borrower households said they ate less food after taking out their loan, and 8.5% of households reported not having enough food for their family to eat.

To date, there has been no meaningful action by the Cambodian government on reforms. We are urging all stakeholders, including the Cambodian government, to take urgent action to ensure an end to these abuses. We call on UN Member States to ask Cambodia about its record on protecting microfinance borrowers on 8 May 2024 during the 46th Session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland.

We further call on UN Member States to propose and for the Cambodian government to accept recommendations to:

  • Implement Economic, Social & Cultural Rights and Protect the rights of Indigenous Peoples. Prohibit the use of land titles as collateral for microloans, prioritizing loans given to IDPoor and Indigenous borrowers. Return all land titles currently being held as collateral for microloans.
  • Promote the Right to an Adequate Standard of Living. Establish debt relief for over-indebted families and prioritise relief for Indigenous Peoples and IDPoor households.
  • Progress the Right to Health, the Right to Food, and the Right to Education. Take concrete steps to implement free healthcare and primary and secondary school education for all Cambodians in order to reduce the debt incurred from these costs.

For more information, contact:

  • Naly Pilorge, Outreach Director of LICADHO, on Signal at +85512214454, Email: advocacy@licadho-cambodia.org (English).
  • Mathias Pfeifer, Program Officer at FIAN Germany, on Signal at +4917654113988, Email: m.pfeifer@fian.de (English and German).
  • Vuthy Eang, Executive Director of Equitable Cambodia, on Signal at +85512791700 (English and Khmer).
  • Saran Soeung, Executive Director of Sahmakum Teang Tnaut, on Signal at +85589666013, Email: director@teangtnaut.org (English and Khmer).

The PDF file can be accessed here: Khmer language  English language  French language  German language

Cambodian Government Must End Human Rights Abuses in Microfinance Sector

As Cambodia’s human rights record is reviewed at the Human Rights Council on 8 May 2024, we urge UN Member States to recommend granting debt relief and implementing free education and healthcare services, in order to reduce debts and put an urgent stop to abuses linked to microfinance loans.

LICADHO, Equitable Cambodia, Sahmakum Teang Tnaut, and FIAN Germany are releasing a series of infographics today in four languages to highlight the debilitating indebtedness faced by many Cambodians and the predatory tactics used by microfinance institutions and microloan providers to target vulnerable, poor and Indigenous communities.

UN Member States must hold Cambodia accountable during the Universal Periodic Review and make recommendations to immediately end human rights abuses in the country’s microfinance sector.

LICADHO, Equitable Cambodia, Sahmakum Teang Tnaut, and FIAN Germany submitted a report to the Human Rights Council on these concerns. The submission can be accessed here.

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Community youth leadership program under campaign ‘’Youth for Sustainable Environment”

Sahmakum Teang Tnaut Organization conducted the community youth leadership program under the campaign ‘’Youth for Sustainable Environment” which was held on April 6-7th 2024 at Trapang Sangke community-based ecotourism. There were 30 people (F= 16) including LGBTQ+, Youth from 5 target STT’s community, Kouy indigenous ethnic and youth from various universities in Phnom Penh.

Urban Poor Photo Exhibition in 2024 On Housing and Life

Sahmakum Teang Tnaut (STT) is located in Phnom Penh. STT was founded in 2005 and officially registered in 2006 as a local NGO supporting urban poor communities. STT vision is urban poor and vulnerable communities receiving adequate housing, and improved living conditions and prosperity. To achieve this vision, STT has the mission to develop advocacy tools, empower, and support urban poor and vulnerable communities to obtain adequate and comfortable housing. 

On February 23, 2024 Sahmakum Teang Tnaut Organization (STT) was organized Photo Exhibition on Housing and Life at Champei Garden. The event was attended by donors, NGO partners, and urban poor communities in Phnom Penh.The photo exhibition is an activity undertaken by Sahmakum Teang Tnaut Organization (STT) and these photos were taken by STT from 2022 to January 2024. 

These 60 photographs aim at highlighting challenges faced by urban communities affected by development, land insecurity, resettlement, lack of pre-arranged services and infrastructure in relocation sites, and forced evictions. The idea is to showcase to the public and stakeholders such challenges, to raise awareness, and work together to find solutions to fulfill their right to adequate housing. The exhibition also showcases the current state of the lakes in the city, and the environmental impact caused by filling the lakes.


Free the Lake

Since 1990, Phnom Penh has seen the infilling of 26 lakes, with 16 already lost to urban development, and more currently in the process. Urban development, including the construction of new satellite cities, has been the driving force behind the disappearance of these vital water bodies. Two prominent lakes, Boeung Tumpun (Boeung Choeung Ek) and Boeung Tamok (Boeung Kob Srov), are facing this issue. Boeung Tumpun spans 2,600 hectares in the southern region of Phnom Penh, across Khan Meanchey and Khan Dangkor districts, and even extends to Takhmao city in Kandal province. Boeung Tamok, the largest natural lake in the city, covers 3,239.7 hectares in the northwest near Win-Win Boulevard, across Khan Prek Pnov and Khan Por Sen Chey districts. In accordance with many studies, the infillings have serious repercussions: forced evictions, land disputes, employment disruptions, migration, and social inequities. Moreover, they compromise the city’s water filtration capabilities and alter natural water drainage, heightening the risk of floods during the rainy season.


Flooding in communities

In urban areas grappling with poverty, the rainy season often brings considerable hardship due to inadequate drainage or sewage infrastructure. Overflowing sewage creates a habitat conducive to the proliferation of germs and mosquitoes, resulting in health concerns like skin infections and dengue fever, as well as pervasive foul smells.

Moreover, the inundated streets pose significant challenges for residents’ mobility, particularly affecting children. To navigate these areas route to school, they must adapt by changing clothes and removing shoes to wade through contaminated waters. The flooding also heightens the risk of drowning, which discourages parents from pursuing work, further aggravating the community’s financial distress.


Eviction

Cambodia is a country that is striving to achieve high middle-income status by 2030. The Royal Government has been making efforts to promote economic growth across all sectors. However, these development initiatives have led to forced evictions affecting poor and vulnerable communities. These communities have often been compelled to accept inadequate and unreasonable compensation for resettlement. According to the United Nations Guidelines on Evictions and Resettlement, evictions should involve genuine consultation, avoid disproportionate use of force, provide adequate and reasonable notice, and offer legal remedies. Unfortunately, some communities have faced eviction without full compliance with national and international laws. This situation has caused fear and displacement among affected communities, leaving them with insufficient resources for new construction and forcing them to live far from essential public services. In 2023 Sahmakum Teang Tnaut (STT)’s report – The Phnom Penh Survey – highlights that there are more than 191 urban poor settlements in the city, living in poverty. Among these, 69% of communities are considered tenure insecure, and 29% face the threat of eviction. These communities hope that authorities will prioritize on-site development rather than eviction, or provide appropriate solutions in the confines of the law.


Relocation

Communities, after moving from their previous settings, are often settled in new areas significantly distanced from the city and economic hubs. Regrettably, the compensation they receive often fall short of what is necessary to rebuild their homes or to invest in business ventures. This makes their new life even more difficult than before.

In relocation sites, community living conditions are subpar, with many residing in basic shelters. They face a severe shortage of critical public amenities such as electricity, clean water, education, and healthcare. Their distance from economic centers has led to dwindling incomes and mounting debts. Resettlement plans that overlook these essential needs only serve to deepen poverty and entrench a cycle of inadequate housing.

The United Nations Guidelines on the Right to Adequate Housing mandate secure tenure, access to essential services, affordability, thoughtful location, cultural respect, and adherence to tradition. International law acknowledges the right to adequate housing as a basic human right.


Capacity development

Education is very important for all walks of life. The right to education is a fundamental human right guaranteed by the Constitution Law of Cambodia and International Law. Some urban poor communities are facing land disputes, poor housing, and have no land title deeds. Those communities often do not understood land rights and some legal issues related to land tenure. To empower communities and enhance their capacity to address these issues, STT offers training on a range of topics. These include human rights, land law, systematic land registration, environmental challenges, and mapping, with a special focus on Circulars 03 and 06. ICT and online safety are also key components of this educational outreach, equipping community members with the skills to effectively engage with relevant stakeholders and seek support for their concerns. Moreover, the training aims to bolster community understanding of their rights, foster unity, and promote environmental stewardship. A critical aspect of the training is teaching communities how to adeptly use social media, enabling them to highlight and document the issues they face. Through these efforts, communities are better prepared to advocate for themselves and work towards positive change.


Small Scale Upgrading

Urban poor communities in Phnom Penh are grappling with economic hardship, substandard housing, deteriorating infrastructure, and insufficient sewer systems. These conditions pose daily challenges, as families lack the means to undertake essential repairs. Flooding is a recurrent issue, necessitating the construction of bridges for regular transit and adequate drainage to mitigate flood risk and dangers such as drowning. Furthermore, poor street lighting can lead to increased drug trafficking and a general sense of insecurity.

To confront these difficulties, it is imperative for communities to seek assistance from various parties, including the royal government, local authorities, and civil society organizations. Sahmakum Teang Tnaut (STT) is instrumental in driving positive change by providing essential small-scale infrastructure improvements, such as bridges, roads, sewers, solar lighting, and housing solutions. These initiatives are key to enhancing the living conditions of these urban poor communities.

Joint Statement Re-Open STT’s Photo Exhibition and Hold Authorities to Account

12 March 2024

We, the undersigned, are disappointed by the actions of the Sangkat Nirouth Police Station in Khan Chbar Ampov, Phnom Penh, which ordered the owner of Champei Garden Restaurant to stop displaying photographs that were part of an exhibition by Sahmakum Teang Tnaut (STT). The authorities provided no reason or justification for their actions.

The topic of the photo exhibition was Housing and Life, and it had opened on 25 February 2024. It aimed to highlight the ongoing concerns and challenges facing Cambodia’s urban poor communities, with the purpose of finding solutions.

The dismantling of STT’s photo exhibition without explanation is a clear violation of freedom of expression and demonstrates a disregard for art forms that tell the important stories of vulnerable and urban poor communities. We remain disturbed about the continuation of these kinds of arbitrary crackdowns on peaceful forms of expression under the new government.

Cambodia’s constitution enshrines freedom of expression and the rule of law. Instead of silencing peaceful voices that raise legitimate concerns about Cambodia’s urban poor communities, authorities should direct their efforts towards addressing the causes of harms – such as land grabbing, predatory microlending practices, and debt bondage – that currently plague those communities.

We, as civil society organisations in Cambodia, call for the Housing and Life exhibition to be allowed to continue without interference. We also request that the Ministry of Interior monitor the activities of the authorities in Khan Chbar Ampov and Sangkat Nirouth Police Station and that the ministry instruct them to provide their reasoning behind the dismantling of STT’s exhibition. Furthermore, we request that both institutions be held accountable for their actions, and for the Ministry of Interior to counsel all authorities on topics pertaining to freedom of expression and the rule of law so as to protect the rights of all Cambodian people.

This joint statement is endorsed by:

  1. Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia(COMFREL)
  2. Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR)
  3. Center for Alliance of Labor and Human Rights (CENTRAl)
  4. Cambodian Institute for Democracy (CID)
  5. Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC)
  6. Cambodian Youth Network (CYN)
  7. Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association (IDIEA)
  8. Kao Pi Community
  9. Chamreun Community
  10. Chhma Aeot Community
  11. Dak Por Community (Kompong Speu)
  12. Srae Prang Land Community (Tboung Khmum)
  13. Land Community (Pailin)
  14. Andoung Trabek Land Community (Svay Rieng)
  15. 197 Land Community (Koh Kong)
  16. Trapang Chour Community (Kampong Spue)
  17. Trapang Rang Community
  18. Tlan 100 Community
  19. Community to Protect Nature (Pursat)
  20. Stueng Khsach Sa Forestry Resource (Kampong Chhnang)
  21. Tumnop Ta Thlang Community
  22. Boeung Chhouk Meanchey Tmey 2 Community
  23. Boeung Chhuk A Community
  24. Boeung Trabek Phum 4 Community
  25. Phlov Roth Phleung Community
  26. Cheyleak Community
  27. Pong Ro Senchey Community
  28. Trapang Chan Forestry Community (Kampong Chhnang)
  29. Prey Chher Phnom Tnaut Community
  30. Prey Chher Pech Changvar Laor Chhert Community (Kampong Chhnang)
  31. Rattanak Rokha Forestry Community (Oddar Meanchey)
  32. Prey Lang Community (Kratie)
  33. Prey Lang Community (Preah Vihear)
  34. Prey Lang Community (Stung Treng)
  35. Prek Takong 3 Community
  36. Prek Takong 60m Community
  37. Prey Peay Community
  38. Phnom Krom Community (Siem Reap)
  39. Meanchey Community
  40. Rolous Cheung Ek community
  41. Raksmey Samaki Community
  42. Reaksmei Sameakki (Kompong Spue)
  43. Veal Entry Community
  44. Veal Sbov Community
  45. Smor San Community
  46. Samaki Chek Meas Community
  47. Samaki Romeas Hek Community
  48. Samaki Rong Roeung Community
  49. Strey Klahan Community
  50. Strey Klang Sang Community
  51. Stoeng Kambot Community
  52. Sen Reak Reay Community
  53. Lor Peang Community
  54. Andoung Ta Eang Community
  55. Amleang Community (Kompong Spue)
  56. Russey Sros Community
  57. Cambodian Food and Service Workers’ Federation (CFSWF)
  58. Transparency International Cambodia (TI)
  59. Community Legal Education Center (CLEC)
  60. Sahmakum Teang Tnaut Organization (STT)
  61. Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO)
  62. Equitable Cambodia (EC)

For more information

  1. Am Sam Ath, Operations Director of LICADHO, contact :(+855) 10 327 770
  2. Mr. Seang Muoylay, Rights to the City Program Manager, contact: (+855) 16 899 465

PDF format: Joint Statement

Debate competition under the theme “Sustainable development should be centered around the environment and vulnerable individuals”.

27th February 2024, Phnom Penh. Congratulations to the opposing team for winning the first prize in the debate competition on the topic “should the lakes be developed or kept,” organized by STT with 39 participants from urban youth communities and young people from various universities.

1. The event aimed to provide young people with opportunities to participate in topics related to human rights, urban development, and environmental issues in Cambodia.
2. It also encouraged youths to engage in dialogue, raise issues, and propose solutions that promote a transparent, peaceful, and just development process.

   

   

   

   

Eviction, Compensation, and Debt Report 2023

This report collectively highlights the critical situation of forced evictions in Cambodia, revealing a gross disregard for international human rights law, national laws, and UN recommendations.

Section 1 details 12 cases of eviction across Phnom Penh, Kandal, and Takeo provinces between 2019 and 2022, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. This study also emphasizes the critical importance of access to safe housing in preventing the spread of diseases like COVID-19. Despite government instructions to stay home during the pandemic, evictions occurred in various locations in Cambodia, particularly in Phnom Penh. These evictions are viewed as a violation of international human rights law, specifically the right to adequate housing, as highlighted by the UN special rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing, Leilani Farha. Farha emphasized the potential life-threatening consequences of eviction during a pandemic in a COVID-19 Guidance Note.

 

Section 2 reviews compensation provided to evicted urban poor communities in Phnom Penh from 2006 onward. Previous research by STT in 2021 revealed inconsistency in how compensation is offered and obtained for such communities, with significant variations in land plots provided without clear reasoning. The current research identifies inconsistencies in authorities’ approaches to compensating evictees, potentially leading to human rights violations, particularly in terms of citizens’ rights to adequate housing and compensation.

 

Section 3 underscores Cambodia’s international obligation to uphold the human right to adequate housing, prohibiting forced evictions and mandating the provision of resettlement sites with access to decent housing. Housing is emphasized as crucial not only as a basic need but also for safeguarding and advancing other human rights. The study exposes that individuals experiencing forced eviction without proper housing at resettlement sites incur debts, leading to food scarcity, forced child labor, and disrupted education. Continued hardships at resettlement sites due to insufficient housing and sanitation facilities create a concerning cycle of debt for victims of forced evictions. The study advocates for decisive action by Cambodian authorities to ensure every citizen can realise their right to adequate housing.

“Mother, if you are having a hard time, then I will just have to quit school and find a job,” said a daughter to her mother who has been evicted from the development area of Boeung Tamok.

In light of these findings, it is evident that immediate legal and policy reforms are urgently needed to uphold the right to adequate housing, provide fair compensation, and ensure the proper execution of resettlements in accordance with international human rights law. A comprehensive approach to addressing these issues is vital to preventing further human rights infringements.

 

You can download the report as a PDF file here! Khmer English

For further information please contact:

Mr. Soeung Saran, Executive Director of Sahmakum Teang Tnaut Organization

Signal: 089 666 013

Email: director@teangtnaut.org

 

Mrs. Prak Sotheary, Research Advocacy Advisor at Sahmakum Teang Tnaut Organization

Signal: 012 464 500

Email: advisor1@teantnaut.org

ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES AND URBAN POOR COMMUNITIES: A Comparative Study of AWARENESS, PERCEPTION, and SOLUTIONS

This collection of studies delves into various aspects affecting Urban Poor Communities in Cambodia.

The first study explores the awareness of three Urban Poor Communities in Cambodia regarding their participation rights in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process. Findings indicate limited awareness, citing barriers like communication gaps and insufficient information. I had no idea what EIA was or what my rights related to it were, until we formed the community, and it was only then that we became aware of it (EIA). Unfortunately, by that time, it was already too late as the sewage had already been damaged by the nearby gated community construction and the water had already flooded our community,” said a member in Prek Takong 3 community. The study recommends improving public participation through heightened awareness, legal framework strengthening, and enhanced transparency.

A second study investigated living conditions and challenges in a poor community in Phnom Penh amid garbage and contaminated water. It seeks to identify the causes of waste, providing valuable insights for addressing this community challenges and similar areas in Phnom Penh.  “At the beginning, it flowed. But now no garbage comes out. When we clear it, it does not go. It emerges from the underground,” said a community member in Boeung Chhouk Meanchey Thmey II.

A third research project investigates the challenges and impacts of climate change on two impoverished communities. It aims to understand communities’ adaptation and provide recommendations for viable solutions. Interviews highlight erratic climate conditions, inadequate drainage, business challenges, and increased water and electricity costs. “It stinks so badly, especially when it rains. And, when the rain stops it smells even worse. Since it stinks so badly, I got a nasal allergy now”, said a resident aged about 30 years old in the Reaksmey Samaki community.

And the fourth research project investigated noise pollution challenges and effects in two communities in Phnom Penh. It focused on understanding status, sources, and types of noise pollution, along with examining consequences and proposing solutions. “The source of noise pollution arises from the parties and excessive drinking habits of our neighbors. Most of these individuals gather on weekends, playing music and singing at high volumes. They come together and party from as early as 8 am until at least 11 pm,” said a teenager in Andong 1 community.

These distinct research projects shed light on various challenges faced by Urban Poor Communities in Phnom Penh, including limited awareness of their rights and participation in the EIA process, issues with waste management, the impact of climate change on their daily lives, and the effects of noise pollution. Through these studies, recommendations are provided to enhance the living conditions and well-being of these communities.

 

 

 

You can download the report as a PDF file here! KhmerEnglish

For further information please contact:

Mr. Soeung Saran, Executive Director of Sahmakum Teang Tnaut​ Organization.

Signal: 089 666 013

Email: director@teangtnaut.org

Mrs. Prak Sotheary, Research Advocacy Advisor at Sahmakum Teang Tnaut Organization.

Signal: 012 464 500

Email: advisor1@teantnaut.org

75th International Human Rights Day under theme “Dignity, Freedom and Justice for All Citizens”

From the 9th to the 10th of December 2023, around 400 rural and urban communities celebrated the International Day of Human Rights. These communities included Phlov Rothplueng community (Phnom Penh), Stueng Kambot Community (Phnom Penh), Smor San Community (Phnom Penh), Veal Sbov Community (Phnom Penh), Veal Entrey Community (Kampot Province), Meanchey Community (Svay Rieng Province), and Lor Peang Community (Kampong Chhnang Province). They engaged in various significant activities, such as community clean-ups and spreading messages about human rights and housing rights.

Furthermore, approximately 3,000 members of land and indigenous communities, unions, youth groups, civil society organizations, and human rights activists came together to celebrate the 75th anniversary of International Human Rights Day 2023 at Freedom Park in Russey Keo district, Phnom Penh. The event aimed to achieve the following purposes:
1. To strengthen the public understanding about the International Human Rights Declaration, it’s the enforcing instruments and Cambodia Constitution;
2. To increase the demand for justice and pushing for the reform
3. To increase people understanding how the justice affect to freedom and dignity of the people; and for CSO
4. Widen our CSO space through more active activities: marches and public assembly.

#STTCambodia #Urbanpoor #Poorcommunity #Landrights #Housingrights #Eviction #Relocation
#ទិវាសិទ្ធិមនុស្សអន្តរជាតិខួបទី៧៥
#ធានាសេចក្តីថ្លៃថ្នូរ
#សេរីភាព
#យុត្តិធម៌សម្រាប់ពលរដ្ឋគ្រប់រូប
#យុត្តិធម៌ជាមូលដ្ឋាននៃសន្តិភាព
#យុត្តិធម៌កើតចេញពីសុឆន្ទៈ_សច្ចធម៌_ច្បាប់_ការអនុវត្ត
#IHRD2023 #IHRD75
#EnsuringDignity
#FreedomAndJustic
#ForEveryCitizen

World Cities Day October 31, 2023

World City Day was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2013 with the aim of improving the lives of urban dwellers and finding ways to improve cities. Cambodia has committed to the 17 sustainable development goals, with a particular focus on sustainable cities and communities. In line with Cambodia’s commitment, the objectives of City Day 2023 are as follows:

– Encouraging public participation, especially in marginalized communities affected by development projects, in the urban development process.

– Ensuring that urban policymakers, planners, and other stakeholders systematically and strategically involve the public, community, civil society, and others in creating a sustainable and environmentally friendly city, with mechanisms for implementation and monitoring.

#STTCambodia, #urbanpoor, #poorcommunity #landrights #housingrights #eviction #relocation​ #Stopfillingthelake #WorldCityDay2023 #WorldCityDay #WCD2023 #WCD

The Statement of World Habitat Day 2023

On the 38th World Habitat Day, we, the people from the land and housing communities in Phnom Penh and the provinces, are facing insecurity regarding land and housing due to inadequate development. We are concerned about forced evictions and insufficient compensation, as we have historically endured such hardships. The Cambodian Constitution, specifically Article 44, guarantees the right to own property and proper housing for all citizens. Additionally, international human rights law, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, guarantees the right to adequate housing.
During the week of October 1-7, 2023, in commemoration of World Habitat Day, over 1,000 community members, youth, and local authorities from 16 communities in Phnom Penh and other affected provinces gathered under the theme of “Housing Justice and Inclusive Development.” This event aimed to address the violations of land and housing rights.
On World Habitat Day 2023, we urge the government to take the following actions:
– The Royal Government should respect and protect the rights of impoverished individuals to live with decency and dignity, in line with other citizens.
– The Royal Government must effectively enforce the law and cease forced evictions, violence, and judicial oppression, particularly targeting land and housing activists.
– The Royal Government, along with authorities at all levels, should prioritize the right to adequate housing for comprehensive development.
– All development projects should conduct assessments of their social, economic, and environmental impacts, paying special attention to vulnerable populations.
– Local authorities should expedite the issuance of residence cards, family books, and equity cards to land community members lacking access to social services.
– Phnom Penh Capital Hall should provide infrastructure and improved services in impoverished residential areas, including drainage, garbage collection, and connection to state water and electricity networks.
– Relevant government authorities must ensure that all development processes adhere to the principles of the rule of law, including openness, transparency, accountability, and stakeholder involvement. Affected individuals, in particular, should have a voice in discussing concerns and potential resolutions for the benefit of all parties involved.

38th World Habitat Day Photo Gallery

Here is a photo gallery showcasing impoverished communities in Phnom Penh and various provinces. These communities celebrated World Habitat Day from October 1 to 7, 2023. Over 1,000 individuals, including community members, young people, and local authorities, took part in the celebrations. Some of the communities involved were Stoeung Kambot, Pongro Sen Chey, Reaksmey Samaki, Plov Rathpleung, Smor San, Chhmar Oeut, Satrey Klahan, Veal Sbov, Russey Sros, Kao Pi, Meanchey (Svay Rieng province), Veal Entre, Pong Rok, Thlan 100, Prey Peay (Kampot), and Lor Peang (Kampong Chhnang province).

The main activities included community banner rallies, environmental clean-ups, and raising awareness regarding the right to affordable housing by creating slogans. The main message revolved around “Clean Environment, Clean Community, Affordable Housing”.

#STTCambodia, #urbanpoor, #poorcommunity #landrights #housingrights #eviction #relocation​ #Stopfillingthelake #WorldHabitatDay2023-WHD2023

 

THE PHNOM PENH SURVEY IN 2023: A Study on Urban Settlements in Phnom Penh

This report is a continuation of STT’s previous study on the state of Phnom Penh’s urban poor settlements published in 2017. It aims to update data on urban poor settlements, such as information on evictions, land titling, and socio-economic conditions. The survey was conducted in Phnom Penh from July 2022 to December of 2022 followed by data analysis and report formatting from January 2023 onwards. The report includes 191 settlements that are considered urban poor in the final analysis. These settlements represent 19,539 families, or 89,879 people, which equates to 3.94% of the total population of Phnom Penh.  STT also looked at secondary data, including NGO reports, government reports, academic papers, media articles and other open-source data. The report contains key findings:  

  • The number of urban poor settlements in the city has been declining from 277 in 2017 to 191 in 2023, with some locations being dissolved due to the conditions, they are no longer classified as urban poor settlements, while others have gone entirely, often due to eviction. Meanwhile, there is also an increase in communities receiving land titles. Namely, 19 communities claimed to have received land titles since 2017.  
  • A third of 191 settlements are likely to be located on state land while nearly two thirds of all settlements do not have written documentation indicating the status of the land they live on. This means that those settlements are facing risks of eviction and forced eviction because of a failure of the state in providing clarity and security of tenure to these settlements.  
  • Over a quarter of the 191 settlements are claiming to being pressured into forced evictions. At least 9 settlements were also forcibly evicted during Covid-19. A woman living in Banteay Sloek community behind Sovanna Supermarket and was forcibly evicted due to 7NG in Kandal Province on 11 July 2020. She said, “it is a cold-blooded eviction.” After the authorities came to demolish the community’s homes, they claimed that the community had already agreed to the relocation.
  • Access to drainage and ID Poor is still lacking in many settlements; however, connection to government public services such water, electricity and waste collection have improved since 2017.  
  • Finally, 26 of the 191 urban poor settlements are in debt. Some reported selling their homes due to loans. This is something that STT and other human rights organizations believe may have been done reluctantly. Falling into such debt traps has exposed settlement members to a variety of other potential human rights abuses such as land loss, homelessness, forced migration, debt bondage, child labor, and having less access to other basic needs. ” I can’t afford to pay until we sell the house,” said one interviewer.

You can find out more about our report, which can be accessed at 
You can download the report as a PDF file here! KhmerEnglish 

For further information please contact:  

Mr. Soeung Saran, Executive Director of Sahmakum Teang Tnaut.
Signal: 089 666 013
Email: director@teangtnaut.org 
 

Mr. Ronan Kemp, Advisor at Sahmakum Teang Tnaut.
Signal: 081 262 799
Email: advisor@teantnaut.org 

FACTS AND FIGURES #48: Boeung Tamok: An update on the cutting of the lake

As of July 2023, Boeung Tamok or Boeung Kob Srov, a lake that was designated as public state property by Sub-Decree No. 20 on February 3, 2016 and had a total area of 3,239.7 hectares, has been transferred as private state property and handed over to private individuals and other institutions 70 times, covering a total area of 2,369.8913 hectares. This large number has made the cutting of the lake deviate from the master plan and the area of Boeung Tamok Lake is almost fully gone.

While the Law​ land​ and Law on Control, Usage and Management of State Asset state that public state property cannot be sold, exchanged, given, or conceded, the use of sub-decrees to convert public state land to private state land and hand it over to private individuals and other institutions seems to be ambiguous. The implementation of the law lacks transparency and does not provide any justification for the public.

According to the 2035 Master Plan of Phnom Penh Municipality, Boeung Tamok, was originally set to be preserved for about 2,140 hectares.

 

You can find out more about our report, which can be accessed at

You can download the report as a PDF file here! Khmer – English

For further information please contact:
Mr. Soeung Saran, Executive Director of Sahmakum Teang Tnaut.
Signal
: 089 666 013
Email: director@teangtnaut.org  

Mrs. Prak Sotheary, Research Advocacy Advisor at Sahmakum Teang Tnaut.
Signal
: 012 464 500
Email: Advisor1@teantnaut.org

 

Debate competition under the theme ” Inclusive City Development “

7th July 2023, Phnom Penh. Congratulations to the opposing team for winning the first prize in the debate competition on “Is Inclusive City Development Really Appropriate for the Cambodian Context?” organized by STT with 50 participants from urban communities and young people from various universities.

1.The event aimed to provide young people with opportunities to participate in topics related to human rights, urban development, and environmental issues in Cambodia.

2.It also encouraged youths to engage in dialogue, raise issues, and propose solutions that promote a transparent, peaceful, and just development process.

#STTCambodia #urbanpoor #poorcommunity #landrights #housingrights #eviction #relocation #YouthDebate #InclusiveUrbanDevelopment

Joint Statement Immediately Drop Charges Against 10 Koh Kong Land Activists; Release All Unconditionally

Phnom Penh, 06 July 2023

 

We, the undersigned, call for the baseless charges of incitement against 10 land activists from three communities in Koh Kong province to be immediately dropped, and for their unconditional release. These activists did nothing but peacefully raise concerns and speak out in defence of their land and fellow community members, but have been harassed and imprisoned for doing so.

The 10 activists were arrested and charged with incitement under Articles 494 and 495 of the Criminal Code on 29 June 2023. Nine of them are currently in pre-trial detention in Koh Kong provincial prison; one was released on bail with restrictive conditions. The charges followed their attempt to peacefully travel to Phnom Penh to submit a petition to the Ministry of Justice. If convicted, each activist faces up to two years in prison and a fine of up to 4 million riel (about US$1000).

The 10 activists are Ms. Phav Nheung; Ms. Det Huor; Ms. Yi Kunthea; Mr. Sok Chey; Mr. Heng Chey; Ms. Tin Tang; Mr. Lang Cheav; Ms. Seng Lin; Mr. Yoeut Khmao; and Ms. Soung Theng. Theng is the only activist released on bail with restrictive conditions. The other nine activists (together with Nheung’s 18-month-old baby) remain in Koh Kong prison. The prison is horrendously overcrowded and was at nearly 300% capacity last month. Furthermore, the activists were only granted access to legal representation on 3 July, after spending three days in pre-trial detention.

The activists were taken into custody after police blocked community members’ vans in Sre Ambel district and prevented them from travelling to Phnom Penh to deliver the petition on 29 June. The petition requested that Minister of Justice Koeut Rith intervene and for the prosecution to drop the charges against 30 land activists from across five communities.

Police also threatened around 20 other community members with arrest when they gathered in front of the provincial police station on 30 June to support their representatives. Community members were similarly prevented from gathering outside the Koh Kong provincial court.

The activists have endured numerous disputes dating back as far as 2006, after companies linked to tycoons Ly Yong Phat and Heng Huy established sugar plantations on community land. However, the activists’ efforts to protect their land have been continually met with authority-led harassment.

We call for an immediate end to this harassment of Cambodia’s land activists, including for the charges of incitement against them to be dropped, and their immediate and unconditional release from pre-trial detention.

This joint statement is endorsed by:

  1. 197 Land Community (Koh Kong)
  2. 243 Families of Pro Lean Land Community (Koh Kong)
  3. Am Leang Community (Kampong Speu)
  4. Andong Trabek Land Community (Svay Rieng)
  5. Bos Snor Community (Tbong Khmum)
  6. Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR)
  7. Cambodian Center for Independent Media (CCIM)
  8. Cambodian Food and Service Workers’ Federation (CFSWF)
  9. Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC)
  10. Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO)
  11. Cambodian Tourism Workers Union Federation (CTWUF)
  12. Cambodian Youth Network (CYN)
  13. Center for Alliance of Labor and Human Rights (CENTRAL)
  14. Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (COMFREL)
  15. Community to Protect Nature (Pursat)
  16. Dak Por Community (Kampong Speu)
  17. Equitable Cambodia (EC)
  18. Gender and Development for Cambodia (GADC)
  19. Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association (IDEA)
  20. Kamprers Community (Tboung Khmum)
  21. Kleang Toek 78 Community (Siem Reap)
  22. Kouy​ Indigenous​​ Community (Preah Vihear)
  23. Labour Right Supported Union Khmer Employee of Nagaworld (L.R.S.U)
  24. Lor Peang Community (Kampong Chhnang)
  25. Mean Chey Land Community (Svay Rieng)
  26. Mother Nature Cambodia (MNC)
  27. Ou Vor Preng Community (Battambang)
  28. Pailin Land Community
  29. People Center for Development and Peace (PDP)
  30. Phum Sela Khmer Land Community (Banteay Meanchey)
  31. Prey Chher Pech Changvar Laor Chhert Community (Kampong Chhnang)
  32. Prey Lang Community (Kampong Thom)
  33. Prey Peay Land Community (Kampot)
  34. Rattanak Rokha Forestry Community (Oddar Meanchey)
  35. Reaksmei Sameakki Community (Kampong Speu)
  36. Samaki Romeas Haek Community (Svay Rieng)
  37. Sahmakum Teang Tnaut (STT)
  38. Social Action for Community and Development (SACD)
  39. Sre Prang Community (Tboung Khmum)
  40. Steung Khsach Sor Forestry Resource (Kampong Chhnang)
  41. Skun Community (Siem Reap)
  42. Ta Ni Land Community (Siem Reap)
  43. Ta Pen Community (Siem Reap)
  44. The Cambodian NGO Committee on CEDAW (NGO-CEDAW)
  45. The Messenger Band Cambodia (MB)
  46. Tonlung Community (Tboung Khmum)
  47. Transparency International Cambodia (TIC)
  48. Trapeang Chan Forestry Community (Kampong Chhnang)
  49. Trapeang Chour Community (Kampong Speu)
  50. Trapeang Pring Community (Tboung Khmum)
  51. Youth Resources Development Program (YRDP)

PDF format:  Download full statement in Khmer Download full statement in English

Immediately Release and Drop Charges Against CCFC staffers

Phnom Penh, 24 May 2023

The arrest of three staffers from the Coalition of Cambodian Farmer Community (CCFC) and the unfounded charges of incitement and plotting against the nation marks yet another case of Cambodian authorities imprisoning human rights defenders for their peaceful activism.

We, the undersigned groups, demand an end to the persecution of human rights defenders, and call for the three CCFC staffers to be immediately and unconditionally released, so they can continue their work.

On the morning of 18 May, police formally arrested Theng Savoeun, CCFC president; Nhel Pheap, a senior organizing officer; and Thann Hach, who works as a community facilitator. They were first detained in Kratie province on the way to Phnom Penh on 17 May while they were travelling with dozens of people following an event in Ratanakiri province, and later transferred to Ratanakiri Police Commissariat.

Their lawyer was only able to speak with Savoeun in Ratanakiri Police Commissariat after his arrest in Kratie on 1​9 May and before his transfer to Ratanakiri provincial court. On 22 May, their lawyer was again permitted to meet with Savoeun during his questioning at the Ratanakiri Provincial Court, and to briefly speak with Hach.

During the afternoon of 22 May, Investigating Judge Say Kouhav charged Savoeun, Pheap, and Hach with plotting under Article 453 and incitement under Articles 494 and 495 of the Criminal Code. The three men face up to 10 years in prison and fines of up to 4 million Riel (around US$1,000) if convicted.​ Based on a statement from the Ratanakiri court, Chan Vibol, an academic, has also been charged with the same offences.

These charges are baseless. CCFC is a farmer’s association founded in 2011 that works with more than 70 communities across 10 provinces, assisting farmers facing forced evictions and helping to promote land rights where it is needed most. The association supports local communities to stand up for their rights, and advocates for better livelihoods and land rights for rural farmers across Cambodia.

The work of human rights activists must not be equated to criminal incitement or plotting against the nation. Arresting CCFC staffers will not resolve the long-running land conflicts faced by its members. It will not silence the voices of the community leaders and representatives who demand justice for their neighbours, friends and families.

The arrests have sparked days of protests by land communities across the country, who know that these charges are an attempt to suppress their activism, and will ultimately hinder a resolution to their land conflicts.

Savoeun, Pheap and Hach need to be immediately freed, and the charges against them must be dropped. Community organising is not a crime. Releasing these activists is a crucial step towards achieving true peace and justice in Cambodia.

  1. 197 Land Community (Koh Kong)
  2. 243 Families of Pro Lean Village Land Community (Koh Kong)
  3. 955 land community (Koh Kong)
  4. Am Leang Community (Kampong Speu)
  5. Andong Trabek Land Community (Svay Rieng)
  6. Bos Snor Community (Tbong Khmum)
  7. Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions (CATU)
  8. Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR)
  9. Cambodian Center for Independent Media (CCIM)
  10. Cambodian Food and Service Workers’ Federation (CFSWF)
  11. Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC)
  12. Cambodian Labor Confederation (CLC)
  13. Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO)
  14. Cambodian Tourism Workers Union Federation (CTWUF)
  15. Cambodian Youth Network (CYN)
  16. Cambodia’s Independent Civil Servants Association (CICA)
  17. Center for Alliance of Labor and Human Rights (CENTRAL)
  18. Charay Indigenous Community (Ratanak Kiri)
  19. Chi Kha Kraom Land Community (Koh Kong)
  20. Chi Kha Leu Land Community (Koh Kong)
  21. Choam Kravien Community (Tboung Khmum)
  22. Coalition of Cambodian Farmers Community Association (CCFC)
  23. Community to Protect Nature (Pursat)
  24. Dak Por Community (Kampong Speu)
  25. Equitable Cambodia (EC)
  26. Federation of Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia (FTUWKC)
  27. Gender and Development for Cambodia (GADC)
  28. Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association (IDEA)
  29. Indigenous Community in Prame Commune (Preah Vihear)
  30. Khmum Srakarthlork Community (Kampong Thom)
  31. Klaing Toek 78 Community (Siemreap)
  32. Kouy​ Indigenous​​ Community (Preah Vihear)
  33. Labour Right Supported Union Khmer Employee of Nagaworld (L.R.S.U)
  34. Land Community (Pailin)
  35. Mean Chey Land Community (Svay Rieng)
  36. Peam Ros Community (Kampong Speu)
  37. People Center for Development and Peace (PDP-Center)
  38. Phnom Krom Community (Siemreap)
  39. Phnom Tor Toeung Community (Kampot)
  40. Phum Sela Khmer Land Community (Banteay Meanchey)
  41. Prek Ksach Land Community (Koh Kong)
  42. Prey Chher Pech Changvar Laor Chhert Community (Kampong Chhnang)
  43. Prey Lang Community (Preah Vihear)
  44. Prey Peay Land Community (Kampot)
  45. Rattanak Rokha Forestry Community (Oddar Meanchey)
  46. Reaksmei Sameakki Community (Kampong Speu)
  47. Sahmakum Teang Tnaut (STT)
  48. Samaki Chek Meas Community (Svay Rieng)
  49. Samaki Romeas Haek Community (Svay Rieng)
  50. Samaki Sangkae Pir Mean Rith (Preah Vihear)
  51. Sre Prang Community (Tboung Khmum)
  52. Steung Khsach Sor Forestry Resource (Kampong Chhnang)
  53. Ta Ni Land Community (Siemreap)
  54. Ta Noun Land Community (Koh Kong)
  55. The Cambodian NGO Committee on CEDAW (NGO-CEDAW)
  56. The Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (COMFREL)
  57. Thmar Da Community (Pursat)
  58. Tonlung Community (Tboung Khmum)
  59. Trapeang Chour Community (Kampong Speu)
  60. Trapeang Pring Community (Tboung Khmum)
  61. Youth Resources Development Program (YRDP)

PDF format:  Download full statement in Khmer Download full statement in English

Press Release Celebration of the 112th Anniversary of International Women’s Day under the topic “Protecting Women and Girls for Inclusive Justice”

Phnom Penh, 01 March 2023

We, a group of civil society organizations (CSOs) including unions, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and associations working for promoting women’s rights and gender equality in Cambodia, such as the Cambodian Food and Service Workers’ Federation (CFSWF), Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR), Cambodian Alliance of Trade Union (CATU), Cambodian Tourism Workers Union Federation (BWTUC), Labour Right Supported Union (LRSU), Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association (IDEA), Cambodian Youth Network Association (CYN), Youth Resource Development Program (YRDP), Center for Alliance of Labor and Human Rights (CENTRAL), Sahmakum Teang Tnaut Organization (STT), Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC), Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO), Klahaan Organization, and Equitable Cambodia (EC), have the honor to inform the general public, and national and international journalists that we are going to celebrate the 112th anniversary of the International Women’s Day . The topic for the 2023 commemoration is “Protecting Women and Girls for Inclusive Justice”.

The purpose of this celebration is to recognize the hard work and efforts made by women, girls, and women human rights defenders (WHRDs) from all sectors, to raise public awareness about the demands and challenges of women and girls and demand the government to address their essential needs, concerns for social protection system and injustices of vulnerable women and girls.

Please be informed about this event and join us in celebrating it through the following activities:

  • On 01 March 2023, we will start posting our daily countdown flyers to alert the date of the open-space celebration of International Women’s Day.
  • From 01 March 2023 to 07 March 2023, we are going to publish seven subsequent videos showing the requests to address 17 demands from different
  • On 02 March 2023, we will host a radio talk show on “The Campaign for International Women’s Day 2023”.
  • On 08 March 2023, we will conduct an open-space event for 500 participants at Freedom Park to commemorate International Women’s Day in 2023”. The theme for this event is “Protecting Women and Girls for Inclusive Justice”

For additional information, please contact:

  1. OU Tephallin Tel. (+855) 11 984 883
  2. YANG Sophorn Tel. (+855) 12 880 039
  3. CHAK Sopheap Tel. (+855) 11 943 213
  4. MEAS Sa Im Tel. (+855) 86 382 666
  5. KHON Tharo Tel. (855) 93 556 671

PDF format:  Download full statement in Khmer Download full statement in English

Joint Statement: Media and Civil Society Groups Deeply Disturbed by Government’s Decision to Revoke VOD’s Media License and the Sexual Harassment of a Female Reporter

We, the undersigned media and civil society organizations, are deeply disturbed by Prime Minister Hun Sen’s order to revoke the license of Voice of Democracy (VOD), one of the last remaining independent media outlets in Cambodia. We also condemn the recent sexual harassment and intimidation of a female VOD journalist.

The closure of VOD and the harassment of a female VOD journalist undermine the government’s own claims regarding respect for the free press in Cambodia and appear to reflect a failure to uphold the 1995 Law on the Press. The decision to revoke VOD’s media license ahead of the July 2023 national elections represents a fresh wave of intimidation tactics against the country’s dwindling independent media that mirrors the 2017 closure of the Cambodia Daily and the 2018 sale of the Phnom Penh Post.

On February 9, VOD published an article in Khmer quoting government spokesperson H.E. Phay Siphan as saying that, “it is not wrong for Hun Manet to play his father’s role in providing aid to Turkey.” H.E. Hun Manet later denied playing that role on his social media, and requested an immediate correction and for VOD to provide evidence of his signature on the document authorizing aid.

On February 11, Prime Minister Hun Sen posted on his Facebook page demanding that VOD issue a public apology to the government and his son within 72 hours, or else he said he would order the Ministry of Information to revoke VOD’s media license. On February 12, Hun Sen made another Facebook post shortening the deadline to 10 a.m., February 13.

Prime Minister Hun Sen’s arbitrary deadline signals a serious threat to all independent media and journalists in Cambodia. Cambodia has existing laws for how to deal with an alleged misquote or factual error in a media report. Article 10 of Cambodia’s Press Law states that people have the right to demand a retraction and reply from a publisher when they believe a statement is false, and a publisher must reply within seven days. There is also a right to sue for defamation and libel.

Prime Minister Hun Sen’s apparent decision to not use this law, and instead revoke the license of VOD, as well as Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith’s subsequent Facebook post declaring it a “lesson” for other media, suggests that the move was made to silence one of the few remaining independent news publications in the country ahead of the national election.

Already, as of the morning of February 13, access to VOD’s websites – both Khmer and English – appears to have been blocked by major internet service providers and mobile service providers within Cambodia.

We call on the government to resolve the issue in a calm, professional and respectful manner that is in line with Cambodian law and that does not do lasting damage to Cambodia’s media landscape. We believe that the closure of VOD would represent a grave step backwards for both press freedoms and the rule of law in Cambodia.

Moreover, we rebuke the abusive and misogynistic language used by Mr. Pheng Vannak and others on social media against the female reporter who authored the VOD article in question. We hope the government, through relevant ministries such as the Ministry of Information and the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, will join us in calling for Mr. Vannak and others to apologize to the reporter in question and to stop his blatant acts of sexual harassment directed towards female reporters.

No journalist should ever be attacked as a result of their work or identity.

The role of independent media is indispensable to democracy. The United Nations Human Rights Committee has stressed that a free media is essential to democratic processes and should be allowed to operate without restraint.

We hope the government acknowledges the essential role of VOD and its journalists, along with the remaining independent media outlets in the country, and their right to do their work in accordance with the law and without fear of intimidation and harassment.

This statement is signed by:
1. Cambodian Journalists Alliance Association (CamboJA)
2. Cambodian Female Journalists (CFJ)
3. Overseas Press Club of Cambodia (OPCC)
4. Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO)
5. The Alliance of Independent Journalists/AJI (Indonesia)
6. National Union of Journalists of the Philippines/NUJP (Philippines)
7. The Center for Independent Journalism (Malaysia)
8. Gerakan Media Merdeka/Geramm (Malaysia)
9. Freedom Film Network (Malaysia)
10. Journalist Association Timor Leste/AJTL (Timor Leste)
11. Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan (FCCJ)
12. Taiwan Foreign Correspondents’ Club (TFCC)
13. The International Federation of Journalists (Asia-Pacific)
14. Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC)
15. The Cambodian Youth Network Association (CYN)
16. Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (COMFREL)
17. Labour Right Supported Union Khmer Employee of Nagaworld (L.R.S.U)
18. Cambodian Tourism Workers Union Federation (CTWUF)
19. Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association (IDEA)
20. Center for Alliance of Labor and Human Rights (CENTRAL)
21. Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions (CATU)
22. Cambodian Informal Economy Workers Association (CIWA)
23. Community Legal Education Center (CLEC)
24. The Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL)
25. Coalition of Cambodian Farmers Community Association (CCFC)
26. Equitable Cambodia (EC)
27. CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation
28. Cambodian Institute for Democracy
29. Jakarta Foreign Correspondents Club (JFCC)
30. Kanopi hijau, Indonesia
31. MilkTeaAlliance Calendar Team, regional/ transnational
32. International Dialogue (IID)
33. ALTSEAN-Burma, Myanmar
34. Innovation for Change-East Asia, Bangkok, Thailand
35. MilkTeaAlliance Friends of Myanmar, Myanmar
36. Asia Democracy Network (ADN), South Korea
37. DAKILA, Philippines
38. Ruang MES 56, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
39. Gender and Development for Cambodia (GADC)
40. Independent Trade Union Federation (INTUFE)
41. Solidarity House (SH)
42. EngageMedia, Asia-Pacific
43. Cambodia Labor Confederation (CLC)
44. Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)
45. Cambodian Food and Service Workers’ Federation (CFSWF)
46. Free Independent Trade Union Federation (FUFI)
47. Cambodia’s Independent Civil Servants Association (CICA)
48. Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand, (FCCT) Professional Committee
49. Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP)
50. 197 Land Community (Koh Kong)
51. Andong Trabek Land Community (Svay Rieng)
52. Areng Indigenous Community (Koh Kong)
53. BoeungPramCommunity (Battambang)
54. Bos Snor Community (Tbong Khmum)
55. Charay Indigenous Community (Ratanakkiri)
56. Chi Kha Kraom Land Community (Koh Kong)
57. Chi Kha Leu Land Community (Koh Kong)
58. Community to Protect Nature (Pursat)
59. Dak Por Community (Kampong Speu)
60. Khmer Thavrak
61. Klaing Toek 78 Community (Siem Reap)
62. Koh Sralao Fishery Community (Koh Kong)
63. Kouy Indigenous Community (Preah Vihear)
64. Land Community (Pailin)
65. Lor Peang Community (Kampong Chhnang)
66. Mean Chey Land Community (Svay Rieng)
67. Mother Nature Cambodia (MNC)
68. Ou Vor Preng Community (Battambang)
69. Peam Ros Community (Kampong Speu)
70. Phnom Krom Community (Siem Reap)
71. Phum Sela Khmer Land Community (Banteay Meanchey)
72. Prek Ksach Land Community (Koh Kong)
73. Prey Chher Pech Changvar Laor Chhert Community (Kampong Chhnang)
74. Prey Peay Land Community (Kampot)
75. Samaki Chek Meas Community (Svay Rieng)
76. Samaki Romeas Haek Community (Svay Rieng)
77. Samaki Sangkae Pir Mean Rith (Preah Vihear)
78. Sre Ampel Water Fall Tourism Forestry Community (Kampong Chhnang)
79. Sre Ampel Water Fall Tourism Forestry Community (Kampong Chhnang)
80. Sre Prang Community (Tboung Khmum)
81. Ta Noun Land Community (Koh Kong)
82. Thmar Da Community (Pursat)
83. Tonlung Community (Tboung Khmum)
84. Sahmakum Teang Tnaut Organization -STT
85. Federation of Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia (FTUWKC)
86. NARA-Youth, the Philippines
87. The Cambodian NGO Committee on CEDAW (NGO-CEDAW)
88. Youth Resource Development Program(YRDP)
89. PDP Center
90. Transparency International Cambodia
91. Reporters Without Border (RSF)
92. Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, Africa
93. Building and Wood Workers Trade Union Federation of Cambodia (BWTUC)
94. Women Peace Makers (WPM)
95. Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR)
96. Cambodian Human Rights Action Coalition (CHRAC)

PDF format:  Download full statement in Khmer Download full statement in English

GOOD ENVIRONMENTAL GOVERNANCE IN VULNERABLE URBAN POOR COMMUNITIES

Sahmakum Teang Tnaut (STT) has given the opportunity to 4 youths to receive research grants with different topics and under one frame to promote good environmental governance in an urban poor community.  

This research has been aimed to improve research writing for urban poor communities, and in doing so, help improve good environmental governance and flooding challenges in poor communities.  

The topics of research are: Study of Behavior and Practice on Community Waste Management and Environmental Governance in Prek Takong 60m Community, Trash Management and Governance in Boeung Chhouk Meanchey Thmey II Community, Governance and Waste Management of a Community Along Boeung Trabek Canal, and Floods in Phnom Penh: Concerns and Challenges of a Poor Community Prek Takong 3.    

The, key findings of each report focus on how communities changed their behaviours towards trash disposal due to an awareness of the disadvantages and effects of trash Management. The reports show that some local authorities do not cooperate with urban poor communities to solve trash management issues. This is one of the reasons that some community members continue to drop garbage in the community areas and do not care about environmental problems.  For the topic related to flooding from the rain, the findings focus on the impacts of flooding related to health, personal finance, housing quality, infrastructure, and other challenges.    

To find out more about this report, please visit: https://teangtnaut.org/report    

You can download the report here! Khmer​English   

For further information please contact   

Mr. Soeung Saran, Executive Director of Sahmakum Teang Tnaut.  

Signal: 089 666 013   

Email: director@teangtnaut.org   

Mrs. Prak Sotheary, Advocacy and Research Advisor at Sahmakum Teang Tnaut.   

Signal: 012 464 500  

Email: advisor1@teangtnaut.org 

The Identification of Poor Household Program: ID poor Card on Demand for Poor Communities in Phnom Penh

The Identification of Poor Household Program is one of Cambodia’s first social protection mechanisms. It allows individuals to access services that provide the poor with public services and financial assistance. The report found that the authorities’ decision to provide ID-poor cards to some families was unclear, while some ID-poor cardholders had trouble using the card to receive free government services. Seventy-three percent of the 37 communities surveyed complained about the implementation of the Identification of Poor Households Program and the way the authorities implemented it. In addition, the communities interviewed articulated disappointment as they thought they should receive an ID Poor card:

A community member said: ID Poor cards are disseminated only to those who have friends or relatives. “Sometimes I feel frustrated with this procedure, and I always wonder why the ID poor card is given only to the rich and not to the poor.”

 

On the other hand, although some community members received ID-poor cards, some of them still have problems using the equity card services:

“Government officials who work in government hospitals are not able to talk or take care of me as the patient. They just give me the serum and leave me. They don’t seem to care much about the poor.” A Community member.

 

To find out more about this research report, please visit:

https://teangtnaut.org/report/?lang=en

You can download the report here! KhmerEnglish

For further information please contact:
Mr. Soeung Saran, Executive Director of Sahmakum Teang Tnaut.
Signal
: 089 666 013
Email: director@teangtnaut.org  

Mrs. Prak Sotheary, Research Advocacy Advisor at Sahmakum Teang Tnaut.
Signal
: 012 464 500
Email: Advisor1@teantnaut.org  

JOINT STATEMENT: Immediately Release Imprisoned Union Leader Chhim Sithar

28 November 2022

We, the undersigned, call on the Cambodian government to stop being afraid of Chhim Sithar’s strength and bravery. We call for her immediate and unconditional release from prison and an end to the judicial harassment of the union’s leader and members.

Sithar, the recently re-elected president of the Labor Rights Supported Union of Khmer Employees of NagaWorld (LRSU), was arrested at immigration at the Phnom Penh airport on Saturday morning, as she was returning from the International Trade Union Confederation World Conference in Australia.

LRSU members have been on strike for nearly a year. The government’s response has been to beat, arrest, sexually harass and assault strikers. This latest arrest is an unacceptable continuation of this failed policy of repression.

Sithar was previously violently arrested in January this year, on baseless charges of incitement over her union’s strike action. She was bailed in March, and arrested on Saturday on the accusation that she violated bail conditions that allegedly prohibited her from leaving the country.

Neither Sithar nor her lawyers were informed of any bail conditions. Her lawyers’ request to view her case file, which would have contained such bail conditions, was never granted, in violation of the Code of Criminal Procedure. Sithar was allowed by Cambodian immigration to leave the country earlier this month.

If authorities expected Sithar to comply with any bail conditions, they should have informed her of them. Punishing people for failing to follow secret and undisclosed rules is an injustice and inconsistent with basic principles of the rule of law.

“An independent, neutral and just court would promote and protect Sithar with the law,” said Khun Tharo, program coordinator at CENTRAL. “The arrest of a prominent labour activist is a serious violation of human and labour rights, as the charge from the court has no legal basis.”

Sithar has been returned to pre-trial detention in Correctional Centre 2, where she is subject to horrendous and extremely overcrowded prison conditions. She faces up to two years in prison if convicted. At least nine other LRSU leaders and members – who were previously imprisoned alongside Sithar earlier this year – also continue to face criminal charges, while new spurious criminal cases are being brought forward against other LRSU strikers.

The government must stop treating Sithar, alongside other LRSU members and union members and leaders across the garment, hospitality, and informal sectors, as if they are enemies of the state. They represent legitimate interests of workers, who are calling on employers and companies to respect the law and their rights. The government should be celebrating them, not imprisoning them.

“We call on the Cambodian government to stop mislabeling and treating the LRSU strike as an illegal protest,” said Kleang Soben, general secretary of LRSU. “It is, and always has been, a legitimate strike by workers objecting to NagaWorld’s violation of Cambodia’s Labour Law.”

We call for the immediate release of Chhim Sithar, and for all charges to be dropped against her and her fellow LRSU leaders and members. The LRSU strike must be resolved in accordance with the Labour Law, and authorities must stop treating unionists as criminals for undertaking their legitimate and selfless work to defend the rights of others.

 

For more information, please contact:

  • Kleang Soben, General Secretary of the Labor Rights Supported Union of Khmer Employees of NagaWorld (LRSU), 081 525 461
  • Khun Tharo, Program Coordinator of Center for Alliance of Labour and Human Rights (CENTRAL), 093 556 671

This joint statement is endorsed by:

  1. 197 Land Community (Koh Kong)
  2. Alliance for Conflict Transformation (ACT)
  3. Am Leang Community (Kampong Speu)
  4. Andong Trabek Land Community (Svay Rieng)
  5. Areng Indigenous Community (Koh Kong)
  6. Boeung Pram Community (Battambang)
  7. Building and Wood Workers Trade Union Federation of Cambodia (BWTUC)
  8. Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions (CATU)
  9. Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR)
  10. Cambodian Food and Service Workers’ Federation (CFSWF)
  11. Center for Alliance of Labor and Human Rights (CENTRAL)
  12. Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO)
  13. Cambodian Institute for Democracy (CID)
  14. Cambodia’s Independent Civil Servants Association (CICA)
  15. Cambodian Informal Economy Workers Association (CIWA-CLC)
  16. Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC)
  17. Cambodian Human Rights Action Coalition (CHRAC)
  18. Cambodian Tourism Workers Union Federation (CTWUF)
  19. Chi Kha Kraom Land Community (Koh Kong)
  20. Chi Kha Leu Land Community (Koh Kong)
  21. Coalition of Cambodian Farmers Community Association (CCFC)
  22. Coalition of Free Trade Union of The Women’s Textile (CFTUWT)
  23. Community to Protect Nature (Pursat)
  24. Cambodian Youth Network (CYN)
  25. Dak Por Community (Kampong Speu)
  26. Equitable Cambodia (EC)
  27. Gender and Development for Cambodia (GADC)
  28. Free Independent Trade Union Federation (FUFI)
  29. Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association (IDEA)
  30. Independent Trade Union Federation (INTUFE)
  31. Indigenous Community in Prame Commune (Preah Vihear)
  32. Khmer Thavrak
  33. Klahaan
  34. Kleang Toek 78 Community (Siem Reap)
  35. Koh Sralao Fishery Community (Koh Kong)
  36. Kouy Indigenous Community (Preah Vihear)
  37. Labour Right Supported Union Khmer Employee of Nagaworld (L.R.S.U)
  38. Land Community (Pailin)
  39. Lor Peang Community (Kampong Chhnang)
  40. Mean Chey Land Community (Svay Rieng)
  41. Ou Damdaek Community (Kampong Thom)
  42. Ou Vor Preng Community (Battambang)
  43. Peam Ros Community (Kampong Speu)
  44. Peace Bridges Organization (PBO)
  45. Phnom Krom Community (Siem Reap)
  46. Phnom Tor Toeung Community (Kampot)
  47. Phum Sela Khmer Land Community (Banteay Meanchey)
  48. Ponlok Khmer (PKH)
  49. Prek Ksach Land Community (Koh Kong)
  50. Prey Chher Pech Changvar Laor Chhert Community (Kampong Chhnang)
  51. Prey Lang Community (Kampong Thom)
  52. Prey Peay Land Community (Kampot)
  53. Rattanak Rokha Forestry Community (Oddar Meanchey)
  54. Reaksmei Sameakki Community (Kampong Speu)
  55. Samaki Romeas Haek Community (Svay Rieng)
  56. Samaki Chek Meas Community (Svay Rieng)
  57. SILAKA
  58. Sahmakum Teang Tnaut (STT)
  59. Sre Ampel Water Fall Tourism Forestry Community (Kampong Chhnang)
  60. Sre Prang Community (Tbong Khmum)
  61. Steung Khsach Sor Forestry Resource (Kampong Chhnang)
  62. Ta Ni Land Community (Siem Reap)
  63. Ta Noun Land Community (Koh Kong)
  64. The Cambodian NGO Committee on CEDAW (NGO-CEDAW)
  65. Thmar Da Community (Pursat)
  66. Tonlung Community (Tbong Khmum)
  67. Trapeang Chour Community (Kampong Speu)
  68. Youth Resources Development Program (YRDP)
  69. Solidarity House (SH)

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