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

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