CSO and Human Right Defenders Continue to Call for Releasing the 23

There were approximately hundred people from civil society organizations (CSOs), Boeung Kak, Borei Keila and Thmor Kol community people, youths and Buddhist monks gathered and marched for submitting the petition to foreign organizations and embassies on calling for intervention for releasing the 23 human rights defenders and garment workers on January 29, 2014.

Firstly, the protestors submitted the petition to the Singaporean Embassy without any disturbing from the government armed forces. After that they continuously went on foots to submit the petition to UNDP. During the marching there were about eighty government joint-armed forces scattered and blocked protesters on Paster Street, in front of World Health Organization.

The government joint-armed forces  warned the protesters not to go by foots to continue submitting the petition to the foreign institutions and embassies, including UNDP, UNFPA, Singaporean Embassy, the Embassy of Brunei Darussalam, the Embassy of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, Indonesian Embassy, the Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines and Chinese Embassy. However, they allowed the protestors to take vehicles in order to submit the petition. Even though, some protestors still went by foots for submitting the petition.

Fortunately, the government joint-armed forces did not disturb the protesters, letting the protestors successfully submitted the petition to Indonesian Embassy. However, there have seen two trucks loading military police followed behind the protesters’ marching.

Interestingly, the Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam did not accept the petition from the protestors, instead it just explained to the protestors that this period of time is the Chinese and Vietnamese New Year; therefore, the ambassadors are on holidays.

Finally, the protestor successfully submitted the petition to the Embassy of China.


11 Union Leaders and Community Activists Arrested During Gathering for Releasing the 23

On January 21, 2014, at about 8:30 am, over 250 community activists and civil society organization gathered together in front of US embassy at aiming to submit the petition to US embassy for releasing the 23 unions, including union leaders who were arrested on January 2-3, 2014.

During the gathering of community activists and civil society organizations in front of US embassy, Mr. Rong Chhun, president of Cambodian Independent Teachers Association (CITA) and one of his colleague, Ms. Long Kimheang, Housing Rights Task Force (HRTF) staff, Mr.s Thida from CATU as well as Mrs. Tep Vanny from the Boeng Kak community were arrested at the same time. Meanwhile, all protesters were expelled by the security guards of city hall.

During going on sending the petition to the other embassies, other seven union members and community activists were arrested while they were walking on the way (Monivong Boulevard) to Embassy of the United Kingdom later.

Finally, 11 union leaders and community activists had been released at about 1:45 pm. Nevertheless, we did not seen any kind of riot polices and/or military polices, were deployed. Media, human right observer and media were onsite.

The human right situation is becoming progressively worse, especially related to freedom of expression. The government recently banned the right to free assembly for more than 10 people, and have used this as an excuse to arrest activists.

What do you think about the freedom of expression and demonstration laws in Cambodia?

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Railways Households Submit Complaint to the IRC

Equitable Cambodia
Sahmakum Teang Tnaut

Media Statement
May 20, 2013

Railways Households Submit Complaint to the IRC

Ninety Phnom Penh Households affected by the ADB- and AusAID-funded Railways Rehabilitation Project have today submitted complaints to the Inter-Ministerial Resettlement Committee (IRC). The complainants, comprising of both Households relocated to Trapeang Anhchanh and Households that had to demolish part of their homes along the railways, maintain that they have been harmed by the Project and seek redress. Specifically, the Households claim that they did not receive the correct compensation as outlined in the Project’s Resettlement Plan and are consequently seeking additional compensation. Complainants who remain along the railways are also seeking assurances of tenure security up until such a time as further development of the railways is due.

The Households’ complaint to the IRC follows the rejection of their complaints by the ADB Accountability Mechanism. The Households submitted complaints to the Mechanism’s problem solving function, the Office of the Special Project Facilitator (OSPF), in March 2013. The complaints, however, were determined ineligible on account of an ongoing investigation into the Project by the Mechanism’s compliance review function, the Compliance Review Panel (CRP). A November 2011 complaint to the OSPF by some 150 Households was previously found eligible; that process has recently come to a close, with the majority of the complainants receiving additional compensation to cover the shortfall between the compensation they originally received, and that which they were due under the Resettlement Plan.

“We complained to the OSPF because we saw previous complainants receive the compensation they were due,” said Luy Im, Representative of Complainants from Toul Sangke A. “When the other people complained, we were too scared to join them, and now we cannot access the OSPF process. This is very frustrating.”

“We know that most people didn’t receive the correct compensation,” said Khun Prom Sarith, Representative of Complainants from Trapeang Anhchanh. “By submitting this complaint to the IRC we trust that they will process it in the same way as the OSPF processed the other complaints.”

The lack of flexibility in the ADB’s Accountability Mechanism is the principal cause for the situation. The OSPF guidelines state that it cannot accept a complaint from the same Project if it is already being considered by the CRP, even if the complainants are different. The OSPF will also only facilitate on behalf of those Households who complain to them directly and will not consider all Affected Households.

“When the November 2011 OSPF complaint was submitted, it was requested that any remedies resulting from the process would be applied across the board to benefit all people who had been, or were likely to be, harmed by the Project. This was because many Affected Households had not been made aware of their right to complain to the Mechanism, were too scared to complain as a result of widespread threats and intimidation, or civil society actors did not have adequate resources to reach all Affected Households. In addition, we had data showing systematic downgrading of the compensation received by Affected Households,” said Nora Lindstrom, Programme Development Manager at Sahmakum Teang Tnaut. “Unfortunately, the OSPF declined to consider everyone affected, resulting in a situation where Affected Households now do not have access to the OSPF.”

The CRP complaint, submitted in August 2012, requested a parallel compliance investigation due to the initial OSPF complainants’ dissatisfaction with the problem-solving function’s processes and procedures, and its lack of focus on the Project’s overall compliance with the ADB Involuntary Resettlement Policy.

“The CRP is a completely different mechanism from the OSPF, and while it has the important function of assessing whether the ADB has violated its operational policies and procedures in formulating, processing, or implementing the Project, it does not address the issue of the correctness of compensation rates directly. That’s why simultaneous access to both functions is important,” said Eang Vuthy, Executive Director of Equitable Cambodia. “We sincerely hope however that the IRC will take these new complaints seriously and process them in a fair, transparent, and equitable fashion. This is a great opportunity for the IRC to show its competence and professionalism.”

Media contacts:

Khun Promsarith, Representative of Complainants from Trapeang Anhchanh, Tel: 077 524 790/ 088 922 3270
Ou Lun, Representative of Complainants from Phum 23, Tel: 092 234 295
Luy Im, Representative of Complainants from Toul Sangke A, Tel: 092 655 419
Ros Ly, Representative of Complainants from Toul Sangke A, Tel: 097 393 8883

Nora Lindstrom, Programme Development Manager, Sahmakum Teang Tnaut, Tel: +855 15 552 805, E-mail:
Eang Vuthy, Executive Director, Tel: 855 12 791 700, E-mail: