Boeung Kak Lake Protesters Demonstrate Outside Prime Minister Hun Sen’s House

At 8 am on the morning of April 22, 2013, around 80 former Boeung Kak Lake residents staged a protest in front of the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) headquarters in Phnom Penh. They were requesting that the party president, H.E. Chea Sim, help them solve their longstanding land conflict with Shukaku Inc., a politically connected company that has begun work on a multi-million dollar development where their homes once stood. The former residents have been given inadequate compensation and have been repeatedly harassed and intimidated by the authorities. They were also demanding the release of Yorm Bopha, a former Boeung Kak resident and prominent activist jailed in December 2012 on charges widely perceived as baseless. There is very thin evidence connecting her with the crime she is purported to have committed and her sentence is likely related to her advocacy work.

Press Conference on Trafficking and Migration during the First Quarter of 2013

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On 12 January 2013, ADHOC received a phone call from Mr. Koy Savy, 33, a fisherman who had been working in Mauritius. Koy Savy’s home is located in Chheuteal Chrum village, Chalat commune, Anlong Veng district, Oddar Meanchey province.

Savy had left for Thailand with fellow villagers across the Poi Pet border on 8 April 2010. When he arrived in Thailand, he was sent to work on a Thai boat. It took them 23 days to reach their destination. There were 27 persons on the boat, including 23 Cambodian workers and 4 Thai nationals. Savy and 22 Cambodian workers worked on the boat under the direction of a Thai boss for almost three years, without getting any wage and without having any contact with his relatives in Cambodia.

43 Families from Thmor Da Commune Were Excluded from Land Measurement by Youth Volunteers Implementing the Prime Minister’s Land-Titling Scheme

Thmor Da villagers

On 1st April 2013, 43 families from Thmor Da commune, including nine families from Ekapheap village and 20 families from Sangkum Thmey village, Veal Veng district, Pursat province travelled to Phnom Penh with a view to filing a complaint with the Prime Minister’s cabinet, as their plots of land were excluded from the land-titling scheme that was initiated in June 2012 and is implemented by youth volunteers. Thmor Da commune is located near the Cambodia-Thailand border at O’Plok Domrey checkpoint.

The villagers decided to submit their appeal to the Prime Minister’s cabinet after the competent local authorities joined a public ceremony to announce the results of land measurement operations [...] [The villagers] attended the ceremony, during which detailed data regarding individual plots/titles were to be presented. However, they soon realized that their names did not appear on the list.

STATEMENT: No Victory for Justice Despite Welcome Release from Prison of Broma Villagers

The Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC) today witnessed the release of Mr. Touch Ream and Mr. Kann Savann, after 10 months in prison in connection with a so-called secessionist movement in Broma village, Kampong Domrey commune, Chhlong district, Kratie province. The site is home to a controversial Economic Land Concession (ELC) granted to a Russian Company, Casotim. ADHOC provided lawyers for the men for their hearing at the Court of Appeal on 5-6 March 2013 and for the verdict on 14 March 2013. Outside the prison today there was little fanfare like that seen with the release of their co-defendant on Friday – the prominent journalist and democracy activist Mam Sonando – but the men can now return home with their families. That the men are free is welcome. However, the ruling of the Appeal Court was no victory for justice. Touch Ream and Kann Sovann remain convicted of crimes which no evidence supports, and have lost 10 months of their lives to Phnom Penh’s Prey Sar Prison.

ADHOC Organized a Sensitization Session on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

On 11 March 2013, ADHOC organized a sensitization session on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in Tangen village, Takream commune, Banon district, Battambang province. The session, which was held from 9:00 to 11:00am, was facilitated by Mr. Yin Mengly, ADHOC’s Provincial Coordinator and ADR Officer in Battambang, and attended by local authorities and grassroots representatives from Tangen, Or Tangha and Or Phongmean villages. There were a total of 126 participants, including 44 women. [...]

ADHOC will carry out the same activities in 2013. It will select 36 communes as targets, organize sensitization sessions, and help set up communal ADR Committees to solve minor conflicts through mediation and to enhance solidarity.

CHRAC STATEMENT: A Good Day for Mam Sonando; A Bad Day for Rule of Law in Cambodia

The Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee (CHRAC), a coalition of 21 NGOs members, is pleased that the Court of Appeal today ruled to release Mam Sonando, KanSovann and Touch Ream; however, CHRAC cannot welcome this decision as they remain convicted on a number of spurious charges, which should have been dropped altogether.

Mam Sonando – the owner of independent Beehive Radio station and President of the Association of Democrats – was sentenced to 20 years in prison in on 01 October 2012, in relation to a so-called secessionist movement in Broma village, Kratie province. No credible evidence was ever produced to support the politically motivated charges against him. Mam Sonando should have been acquitted at the Appeal Court today; instead it upheld three of the original charges – articles 28, 504 and 609 of the Penal Code – and added another qualification – article 97(6) of the Forestry Law – in a move that raises serious concerns with regard to rule of law and rights of the defense.

CHRAC STATEMENT: Civil Society Expresses Regret of the Recent Death of the Accused, Ieng Sary, Along the Way to Justice

The Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee (CHRAC), a coalition of 21 NGOs members, deeply regret to learn the death of one of the ECCC’s accused, Mr. Ieng Sary, at age of 87 due to his poor health at Cambodia-Soviet Friendship Hospital in the morning of 14th March 2013.

CHRAC is of the view that the death of the accused Ieng Sary represents a loss of a witness of the Khmer Rouge regime who was personally involved in the crimes and atrocities committed during the Democratic Kampuchea era between 1975 and 1979 as described in the Closing Order of the tribunal’s Co-Investigating Judges. The loss will not only impact on the Khmer Rouge historical record, it will also have a negative impact on the efforts to seek justice and closure for many civil parties, victims and ordinary Cambodians who have been personally participating in the ECCC process in their demand for justice against the accused.