STATEMENT: Human Rights Defenders and Activists Under Fire in Cambodia

Pressconferenc

On 30 April 2013, ADHOC organized a press conference on threats to Human Rights Defenders and Activists. The following statement was issued on this occasion.

The Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC) is gravely concerned at the increase in threats and intimidation of Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) and activists in the last three months. So far in 2013, 48 HRDs and activists have been threatened for their work relating to the protection of environmental and natural resources, according to ADHOC’s research. Activists working to counter illegal logging have been particularly targeted. [...]

Correction: Complaint Filed against Chan Soveth, not Phuong Sothea

The Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC) learned today that Mr. Prom Ngoun, Chief of Thmor Da commune, Veal Veng district, Pursat province filed a complaint for “incitement” against the Deputy Head of its Land and Natural Resources Rights Program, Mr. Chan Soveth, not its Pursat Coordinator Mr. Phuong Sothea, as mentioned yesterday in a statement issued by ADHOC.

It seems that the complaint follows the publication of an article in the Phnom Penh Post on 3rd April 2013 (“Pursat Land Dispute Makes Hay in Capital”), in which Chan Soveth declared: “The people in remote areas […] are easily threatened by authorities and the rich and powerful.” The newspaper article was attached to the complaint filed with the Prosecutor at Pursat.

STATEMENT: Concern over the Intimidation of ADHOC’s Pursat Coordinator Phuong Sothea

The Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC) is concerned over the intimidation of Mr. Phuong Sothea, its Coordinator in Pursat province. Following an advocacy campaign on land rights and an interview Phuong Sothea did with Radio Free Asia, Mr. Prom Ngoy, Chief of Thmor Da commune, Veal Veng district, Pursat province filed a complaint against him for “incitement” and “disinformation.” ADHOC emphasizes that Phuong Sothea has always acted in a manner consistent both with Cambodian law and ADHOC’s mandate, and calls on the judicial authorities not to open any criminal case against him.

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.