Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Evictees are still awaiting Obama

Evictees are still awaiting Obama

Evictees are still awaiting Obama

121113_05

Tim Sakmony, a housing-rights activist from the Borei Keila community, enters the Appeal Court in Phnom Penh earlier this month, Nov. 2012. Photograph: Pha Lina/Phnom Penh Post

As more than 100 protesters continued to spend their days camped outside the US embassy appealing for the release of two land activists, a delegation from Amnesty International visited the Boeung Kak community yesterday to offer support for their fight.

More than 20 representatives of the human-rights organisation encouraged villagers to be patient in their struggle for human rights.

“Don’t feel like this is hopeless and you are isolated,” representative Amanda Howle said. “We [the international community] are aware and understand clearly that your human rights are being seriously abused.”  

Amnesty International would continue to monitor the case of Boeung Kak villager Yorm Bopha and Borei Keila’s Tim Sakmony, Howle said.

The two women remain in pre-trial detention on charges the authorities say are not related to protesting, but which the pair’s supporters say were fabricated to curb their activism.

“We’re aware of this case and others,” Howle said.

“If all they have been doing is protesting, the authorities must free them.”

Protesters from Boeung Kak, Borei Keila and other communities yesterday sat on parkland outside the US embassy — a location where they have vowed to spend daylight hours until the arrival of US President Barack Obama for the ASEAN summit this weekend.

Boeung Kak representative Tep Vanny said she had filed a petition to the embassy urging Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to resolve land disputes across Cambodia.

Dr Pung Chhiv Kek, director of the rights group Licadho, said yesterday she had visited Bopha and Sakmony in Prey Sar prison.

“They are so depressed because of these unfair accusations,” she said.

Residents of Por Sen Chey district’s Choam Chao commune, where more than 100 families fear eviction before the ASEAN summit to make way for a security fence at nearby Phnom Penh International Airport, also protested yesterday.

“We’re still worried that [the local authority] will come and tear down our houses without telling us,” one said.

Resident Chray Nem said residents were living legally on their land and no one had a right to evict them.

To contact the reporter on this story: Khouth Sophak Chakrya at [email protected]
With assistance from Sen David

MOST VIEWED

  • Ministers to tackle sea pollutants

    Preah Sihanouk provincial authorities and members of local communities have collected 77 tonnes of water hyacinth at a Sihanoukville beach, Preah Sihanouk Provincial Hall spokesperson Or Saroeun said. He told The Post yesterday that the aquatic weeds had been floating along some of the province’s

  • EU timber deal in firing line

    A committee of more than 20 national and international organisations filed a petition to the EU on October 10 to prevent it from signing a timber trade agreement with Vietnam, noting that the deal would be disastrous to the Kingdom’s forests. The petition claims Vietnamese timber

  • Kim Sok to keep up fight ‘for change’ from Finland

    Kim Sok, wanted by the Kingdom’s authorities for defaming the government, reiterated on Sunday his determination to continue helping to make “a real change” to Cambodian politics after receiving asylum in Finland, even as a government spokesman mocked the political analyst over the development.

  • Government urges end to wildlife trade

    Interior Minister Sar Kheng said on Friday that the Kingdom had fallen victim to wildlife trafficking and called on relevant parties in Cambodia and beyond to help stop the crime. Speaking at the 4th Illegal Wildlife Trade conference attended by leaders from more than 80 countries