Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - CLC calls for release of activist



CLC calls for release of activist

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Chhay Roth, a land activist and former deputy commune chief of the former Cambodia National Rescue Party, is arrested by police in Preah Sihanouk province on Monday. Photo supplied

CLC calls for release of activist

The Cambodian Labour Confederation (CLC) has asked the Preah Sihanouk provincial authority to unconditionally release its volunteer and a land activist after they were detained over a land grab allegation at the Kbal Chhay protected area.

The CLC claimed the two were detained unjustly, frightening other villagers and causing them concern while the authority said the arrest of the two was made in accordance with the law.

On Monday, Tep Sopha, a CLC volunteer and Chhay Roth, a land activist and former deputy commune chief of the former Cambodia National Rescue Party, were arrested by police at Group 18, village 1, commune 1, Preah Sihanouk province.

The arrest was made when a group of provincial authorities used machinery to dredge land located in the Kbal Chhay freshwater basin, which villagers claimed belonged to them.

In a statement issued by the CLC on Tuesday, it expressed concern and regret over the arrests and claimed that the authority was carrying out dredging works in the area which over 100 families claim belongs to them.

Hence, the families were angry and entered the canal to protect the land they had demarcated. In the process, the two were arrested.

The CLC claimed that the arrests were unfair and said the two ought to be released.

“The CLC requests the provincial authority to release Tep Sopha and Chhay Roth, without any conditions, and find a solution to the dispute immediately so that the villagers can get ownership over the land,” read the statement obtained by The Post yesterday.

The Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union president Ath Thorn said the villagers are seeking intervention from relevant institutions, and urged the authority to release the two.

“Our volunteer only inspected the area. The volunteer had not even spoken with the villagers yet. He merely told the villagers who went into the area to come out because it might lead to trouble."

“When [personnel from] the authority arrived, they handcuffed and detained him. One villager who saw this was also handcuffed and detained by the authority,” Thorn claimed.

The CLC’s statement also claimed that in addition to detaining the two, the authority had used violence, by firing three bullets, and physically violated and injured the people involved in the land dispute.

Preah Sihanouk deputy provincial governor and the authority’s spokesperson Srun Sron said it’s their right to issue a statement demanding the release of the two.

However, he said they should check the laws and carefully study the situation because the provincial authority only followed the law.

“They released the statement without checking facts and without reference to the legal procedures. They issued a statement without consideration."

“The provincial authority merely follows procedures. The authority must protect the Kbal Chhay [freshwater basin],” he said.

He said the authority detained the two because they interfered with the performance of the provincial authority’s duties. They previously said it had already offered a solution to the villagers, but they continued to protest and insisted the land belonged to them.

MOST VIEWED

  • Ministry mulls ASEAN+3 travel bubble

    The Ministry of Tourism plans to launch a travel bubble allowing transit between Cambodia and 12 other regional countries in a bid to resuscitate the tourism sector amid crushing impact of the ongoing spread of Covid-19, Ministry of Tourism spokesman Top Sopheak told The Post on

  • ‘Kingdom one of safest to visit in Covid-19 era’

    The Ministry of Tourism on January 12 proclaimed Cambodia as one of the safest countries to visit in light of the Kingdom having been ranked number one in the world by the Senegalese Economic Prospective Bureau for its success in handling the Covid-19 pandemic. In rankings

  • Courts’ decisions now published as reference source

    The Ministry of Justice has published 44 verdicts from civil litigation cases which can be used as models for court precedents and for study by the public and those who work in pertinent fields. Publication of the verdicts on December 31 came as the result of joint

  • Quarantine site in north Phnom Penh inaugurated

    A four-building quarantine centre in Phnom Penh’s Prek Pnov district was formally inaugurated on January 6. The centre can house up to 500 people, according to Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng. At the inauguration ceremony, Sreng said the municipal hall had cooperated with the Ministry

  • Reeling in Cambodia’s real estate sector

    A new norm sets the scene but risks continue to play out in the background A cold wind sweeps through the streets of Boeung Trabek on an early January morning as buyers and traders engage in commerce under bright blue skies. From a distance, the

  • China firm to develop Mondulkiri airport

    Tourism to the Kingdom’s northeast corridor could experience a remarkable metamorphosis after the government decided in principle of a Chinese company to study and develop a proposal to build a regional-level airport in Mondulkiri province, according to industry insiders. The Council of Ministers said