Human Right

Photos provided to STT by community members

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

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.


Joint Statement: A Call for Justice: Civil Society Demands Independent Inquiry in Kem Ley Murder Case

July 08, 2017

One year after the murder of Kem Ley, we, the undersigned civil society groups, believe that justice  has  not  yet  been  served  for  the  late  political  analyst  and  the  family,  friends  and colleagues he left behind.

The well-known political analyst and anti-corruption campaigner was shot dead at point blank range on 10 July 2016 while drinking coffee in a Phnom Penh petrol station. There has been no transparency in the murder investigation, and there are still many unanswered questions in the case.

Despite compelling evidence – including video footage – indicating potential accomplices, only one suspect was charged and convicted in a flawed trial which failed to fully cross examine witnesses  or  investigate  serious  doubts  about  the  killer’s  motive.  Impunity  for  those  not properly held to account for his murder will fuel distrust of the justice system.

We, the undersigned civil society groups, call for an independent inquiry into the silencing of Kem Ley. His murder led to a massive outpouring of emotion from hundreds of thousands of Cambodians who poured into the streets of the capital for his funeral procession. Along with Kem Ley’s family, colleagues and friends they also deserve to see justice served.

Immediately after the murder, a group of UN human rights experts called for “a prompt, thorough and impartial investigation into the crime […] conducted by an independent body with no ties to the government.”1 One year later we have seen that the criminal justice system has failed to protect its citizens’ right to life. With so many unanswered questions, an independent inquiry is the only credible way to seek justice for Kem Ley and his family and friends.

We, the undersigned civil society groups, have not forgotten Kem Ley’s murder and reiterate our previous demand for the investigation to be taken over by an independent inquiry made up of international experts with full access to evidence including CCTV footage from the crime scene. 2 If not, public faith in the judiciary and police will continue to be eroded and the family and friends of Kem Ley will continue to be denied justice.

This statement is endorsed by:

  1. Activity for Environment Community
  2. Alliance for Conflict Transformation (ACT)
  3. Bak Rotaeh community
  4. Banteay Srey Community
  5. Boeung Chhouk Community
  6. Boeung Kak Community (Kampong Chhnang)
  7. Boeung Kak Lake Community (BKL)
  8. Boeung Pram Community
  9. Boeung Trabek Community
  10. Borei Keila Community (BK)
  11. Bos Snao Community
  12. Buddhism for Peace Organization (BPO)
  13. Building and Wood Workers Trade Union Federation of Cambodia (BWTUC)
  14. Building Community Voice (BCV)
  15. CamASEAN Youth’s Future (CamASEAN)
  16. Cambodia Development People Life Association (CDPLA)
  17. Cambodia Youth and Monk Network (CMYN)
  18. Cambodia’s Independent Civil Servants Association (CICA)
  19. Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions (CATU)
  20. Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR)
  21. Cambodian Domestic Worker Network (CDWN)
  22. Cambodian Food and Service Worker Federation (CFSWF)
  23. Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC)
  24. Cambodian Independent Teachers Association (CITA)
  25. Cambodian Indigenous Youth Association (CIYA)
  26. Cambodian Informal Economic Workers Association (CIWA)
  27. Cambodian Labour Confederation (CLC)
  28. Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO)
  29. Cambodian NGO Committee on CEDAW (NGO- CEDAW)
  30. Cambodian Youth Network (CYN)
  31. Capacity Community Development Organization (CCD)
  32. Center for Alliance of Labour and Human Rights (CENTRAL)
  33. Cham Kravean Community
  34. Chambak Community (Kampong Speu)
  35. Chambok community (Kampong Cham)
  36. Cheko community
  37. Chi Tron Community
  38. Chikor Leu Land Community
  39. CI5 Community
  40. Coalition for Integrity & Social Accountability (CISA)
  41. Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers Domestic Unions (C.CAWDU)
  42. Coalition of Cambodian Farmer Community (CCFC)
  43. Collective Union of Movement of Workers (CUMW)
  44. Community Network in Action (CAN)
  45. Community Peace-Building Network (CPN)
  46. Community Voice Development Organization
  47. Da Commune Community
  48. Equitable Cambodia (EC)
  49. Farmers Association for Peace and Development (FAPD)
  50. Forestry Community
  51. Forestry Stoeung Khsach Sor community
  52. Former Boeung Kak Women Network Community
  53. Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia (FTUWKC)
  54. Gender and Development for Cambodia (GADC)
  55. Green Vision Organization
  56. Housing Rights Task Force (HRTF)
  57. Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association (IDEA)
  58. Independent Monk Network for Social Justice (IMNSJ)
  59. Indigenous Youth at Brome Commune, Preah Vihear Province
  60. Indigenous Youth for Community Ratanakiri (IYCR)
  61. Indradevi Association (IDA)
  62. Kampreus community
  63. Khmer Youth Association (KYA)
  64. Land Community, I Village, Preah Sihanouk Province
  65. Lor Peang Land Community
  66. Minor Indigenous Right Organization (MIRO)
  67. Mother Nature
  68. Phnom Bat Community
  69. Phnom Krom Community
  70. Phum 21 Community
  71. Phum 23 Community
  72. Phum Dei Chhnang Community
  73. Phum Prasat Rang Land Community
  74. Phum Samut Leu Community
  75. Phum Sela Khmer Land Community
  76. Phum Thmei Taing Samrong Community
  77. Pong Rok Land Community
  78. Ponlok Khmer
  79. Prek Takung Community
  80. Prek Tanou Community
  81. Prey Chher Pich Sangva Laor Chhert Community
  82. Prey Chher Romeas Hek Community
  83. Raksmey Samaki Community
  84. Sahmakum Teang Tnaut (STT)
  85. Samaki 4 Community
  86. Samaki Meanchey Land Community
  87. Sangkom Thmey Land Community
  88. Sdey Krom Rohal Soung Fishery Community
  89. Somros Koh Sdach Fishery Community
  90. SOS International Airport Community
  91. Spean Chhes Community
  92. Sre Prang Community
  93. Ta Noun Land Community
  94. Thmor Kol Community
  95. Toul Rada Community
  96. Toul Sangke B Community
  97. Tourism Employee and Service Union of Grand Diamond City Company
  98. Tourism Employee Union of Poipet Casino Resort Company
  99. Trapaing Anhchanh Thmey Community
  100. Tumnop II Community
  101. Tunlong Community
  102. Urban Poor Women Development (UPWD)
  103. 185K Thida Chambok community
  104. 23 Community
  105. 24 Families Community
  106. 297 Land Community
  107. 92 Community

This Week’s Activities Continues Support for Detained Land Rights Activists

This week Phnom Penh saw two significant activities in support of the 18 land rights activists currently detained by the government.

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On Tuesday December 23, over 200 community members, Buddhist monks and CSOs rallied in front of Phnom Penh’s Municipal Court to support and demand for the release of Venerable Keo Somaly. Supporters gathered as the monk was being questioned by prosecutors on allegations of physical violence against another monk, however, Venerable Keo Somaly deny these claims. He is member of the Independent Monk Network for Social Justice, which is a group that regularly leads anti-government protests over human rights abuses allegedly perpetrated by the government. The monk has been heavily involved in land rights activities and demonstrations. More recently, Venerable Keo Somaly was one of the monks who led peace marchers in the 2014 International Human Rights Day celebrations.

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On the following day, Wednesday December 24, over 100 supporters and community members from Boeung Kak, Borey Keila and Lor Peang communities met outside Cambodia’s Appeal Court to deliver a petition demanding that the trial of the 18 land activists is expedited. The group successfully delivered the petition to Court of Appeal officials, who confirmed that, 10 female activists currently held in CC2 as well as Venerable Seng Hai detained in CC1, will be tried next month on January 22 at 2pm. While several dozen national military police officers and security guards were deployed to the site, the demonstrators maintained a peaceful gathering, preventing a clash with police officers and security guards.

These activities demonstrate a continuous and growing resilience of the community in the defense of human rights in Cambodia. In particular, they display strong opposition to the crackdown of long-term land rights activists arguably under political pretenses from the current government.

International Human Rights Day 2014

On December 10th, over 1,000 human rights activists (including Buddhist monks, land communities, students, farmers, union members, indigenous people) rallied in front of the National Assembly to celebrate International Human Rights Day. 5 days ago, several groups of activists began marching towards Phnom Penh from NR 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. On the 9th of December, all the roads were blocked from entering Phnom Penh by the authorities. After hours of negotiations, the marchers were eventually allowed through. By 9:30am yesterday, all the groups had gathered in front of the National Assembly to deliver a petition to parliament.

The petition called for the government to respect human rights; to immediately ensure the laws protecting the right to peaceful demonstration will be enforced properly by all levels of authority; to allow the courts to act independently; to stop using government police forces and violence against civil and human rights defenders; and to stop forced evictions.

Demonstrators outside the National assembly carried banners saying “Respecting Human Rights Leads to Peace”. They also called for the unconditional release of the 18 activists that were recently arrested for protesting flooding in the Boeung Kak community. Many people held up posters with large pictures of the detained activists. Venerable Luon Sovath was there to show his support as well.

Voice of Democracy (VOD) hosted a live radio show on the ground and had a number of guest speakers including event organizers, indigenous people, land activists, and union leaders. Around 3pm, after the march, they held a talk show with key organizers at the VOD studio.

Ministers of Parliament (MPs) of CNRP and CPP accepted the petition and then made speeches promising to address the issues highlighted on the document. Members of both parties made speeches including Mua Sochua (CNRP), Lok Kheng (CPP), Kem Sokha (CNRP), and Sam Rainsy (CNRP).


Along Road 4, participants hold up a banner that reads "March for Human Rights"

Monks and Civilians March in a Country-Wide International Human Rights Day Campaign. December 5, 2014

Date: 5th December 2014

Following yesterday’s kicking off of a large-scale Cambodian human rights campaign in Ratanakiri province, a further 6 groups of marchers have taken to the national roads across the country, aiming to converge in Phnom Penh for the 10th December.

Along National Road 1, approximately 70 marchers started from Wat Kassa Pak, Prasat village, Prasat commune, Kampong Trabek district. There was no interference from local authorities, and marchers have been able to proceed peacefully.

National Road 2 was more problematic today – the group of approximately 80 people aimed to start from Wat Soam, Soam commune, Kirivong disctrict Takeo province.  Local authorities blocked the road, and informed the group that they will not be allowed to go ahead with the peace march unless they obtain permission from the Interior Ministry.

Authorities block marchers along road 2 early this morning
Authorities block marchers along road 2 early this morning

According to Venerable Keo Somaly on the ground, his group decided to remain in Wat Soam there until December 9th unless the situation resolves itself. Villagers also expressed strong commitment to stay and offered places to stay. Human Rights monitors remain onsite (STT, CLEC and LICADHO).

Marchers praying after being forbidden to walk along National Road 2.
Marchers praying after being forbidden to walk along National Road 2.

The information for the other roads are:

National Road 3: 53 people have been marching with no interference since 7 a.m this morning, starting from Wat Dey Krahm, Chhouk, Dey Kraham village, Nimol commune, Chhouk district, Kampot province. Local residents along the way have made the group feel welcome.

Along National Road 4, the largest group of marchers (210 people from Kampong Som and surrounding communities) started at 7:30 this morning from Wat Phnom Pichnil, Treng Tra Ying, Phnom Sruch district, Kampong Speu. LICADHO and CLEC are monitoring this group, and local villagers have been warm and welcoming so far.


Along Road 4, participants hold up a banner that reads "March for Human Rights"
Along Road 4, participants hold up a banner that reads “March for Human Rights”

National Road 5 is covered by a group of 94 people (including 54 monks) and started from Wat Utum Por, Svay Chrum commune, Ro Lea Pha Eia district, Kampong Chhnang. Although some police have been deployed along the road, this has so far been for observation, and they have not expressed any antipathy towards the group.

Monks marching along road 5
Monks marching along road 5

Approximately 70 marchers left at 7 am along National Road 6, starting from Wat Trapeang Preah, Mean commune, Prey Chhor district, Kampong cham province. The previous night, the group was forbidden to stay in the local pagodas, but these were finally opened at 12 midnight.

Ratanakiri Road: following the issues of the 4th December, whereby monks and civilians were locked out of pagodas in Kon Mom district follwoing the local authorities forbidding them access, the group of marchers decided to stay in Stung Trent overnight, and travel by car to Kampong Cham province to join the marchers along National Road 6.