REPORT: A Turning Point? Land, Housing and Natural Resources Rights in Cambodia in 2012

A Turning Point - Cover

Whereas 2011 had seen a sharp increase in the number of Economic Land Concessions (ELCs) granted by the Royal Government of Cambodia to private companies, in 2012 conflicts became more acute and protests multiplied. The government showed that it had understood the seriousness of the situation by taking initiatives aimed at resolving land disputes, addressing some of the issues related to ELCs and granting thousands of land titles to rural families.

However, some of the most pressing concerns about the overall pressure on land, landlessness, land tenure insecurity, lack of law enforcement, power abuses, and encroachment on livelihoods and natural resources remained unaddressed. [...]

REPORT: Victims Participation before the ECCC – Baseline Study (ADHOC & Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, 2013)

ECCC 2013 report picture

Victims’ participation is one of the unique features of the trials held by the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), also known as the Khmer Rouge Tribunal (KRT). In November 2011, the ECCC Trial Chamber began its second trial, hearing evidence against three former top ranking Khmer Rouge leaders.

Nearly 4,000 victims participate as Civil Parties in this second case (Case 002), over ten times more than in the first trial. This unprecedented large number of Civil Parties in an already complex trial poses challenges for the Court, lawyers and NGOs alike to achieve a balance between the rights of victims to an effective participation and the rights of the accused to a timely trial.

STATEMENT: Journalist Daniel Lainé Sentenced to Seven Years in Prison

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court confirmed yesterday the verdict pronounced against French reporter Daniel Lainé in 2010 and sentenced him to seven years imprisonment for sex trafficking. However, it is widely believed that Mr. Lainé, who is currently in France, has been targeted for his investigative work into sex tourism and sex trafficking in Cambodia. The trial, which took place on 10 January and which the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC) monitored, only served to demonstrate the absence of credible evidence against Mr. Lainé. He may have been a victim of judicial persecution for informing the public about sex trafficking and painting a “bad” image of Cambodia.

JOINT MEDIA STATEMENT: Situation of Land/Housing Rights and Activists in 2012 and the Way Forward

Press conference 23 Jan. 2013

The Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee (CHRAC), the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC), the NGO Forum on Cambodia (NGOF) and the Housing Rights Task Force (HRTF), as well as community representatives, today called for sustainable and inclusive land and housing reforms, in a media conference at which issues such as forced evictions, the impact of landlessness and the position of land and housing activists in Cambodia were discussed.

They called on the Royal Government of Cambodia to take measures to support Cambodia’s poor and vulnerable people in regard to land and housing improvements.

STATEMENT: Human Rights Defender Chan Soveth Not Detained After Questioning

Chan Soveth Trial

Today the Phnom Penh Municipal Court decided not to detain prominent rights worker, Mr. Chan Soveth. Chan Soveth is a senior investigator and Deputy Head of the Human Rights Monitoring Section at the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC). ADHOC reiterates that Soveth has done nothing wrong, that he has acted in accordance with the law at all times, and calls for the charges against him to be permanently dropped. [...] During the questioning on 24 December, Chan Soveth restated that he had never committed any wrongdoing, and that his activities were all part of his legitimate human rights work. [...] ADHOC requests that the charges against Chan Soveth be dropped immediately.

Picture: ©John Vink/ Magnum

STATEMENT: ADHOC Condemns Illegal Logging of Indigenous Community Land in Ratanakiri Province

The Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC) wishes to strongly condemn the deforestation and illegal logging of timber by two Vietnamese Companies, Dai Dongguan and Seventy Two, that have received Economic Land Concessions (ELCs) in Porknhai commune, O’yadaw district, Ratanakiri province. ADHOC is also concerned at the intimidation of the Lom village indigenous community, which has been threatened that if they do not change from collective land ownership to individual land ownership, they would have to pay approximately $700-$800 to the local authorities as a ‘fine.’ The rights of Cambodia’s indigenous communities must be respected and its forest preserved, and ADHOC calls on the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) to intervene and solve this land conflict and the many others affecting Cambodia’s indigenous communities.

STATEMENT: ADHOC Staff Members Meet with European Diplomats

ADHOC Staff Members Meet with European Diplomats in Phnom Penh (19 December 2012)

Diplomats from the Embassies of Denmark, France, Sweden and the United Kingdom, as well as the Delegation of the European Union (EU) to Cambodia, visited yesterday the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC). The meeting took place at the association’s central office and allowed the diplomats to review ADHOC’s activities and the human rights work carried out by its investigators.

On this occasion, they met with ADHOC staff members, including Mr. Chan Soveth, who has been summoned to appear before the investigating judge on 24 December at 2:30pm on the accusation of “providing assistance to the perpetrator” of a crime—an offense punishable by one to three years imprisonment and a fine from 2 to 6 million riels.