Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Human Rights Day marches gathering steam despite gov't obstacles




Human Rights Day marches gathering steam despite gov't obstacles

People beat drums and sing as they march along a road in Koh Kong yesterday during the lead up to International Human Rights Day.
People beat drums and sing as they march along a road in Koh Kong yesterday during the lead up to International Human Rights Day. LICADHO

Human Rights Day marches gathering steam despite gov't obstacles

Authorities in Siem Reap yesterday blocked a march celebrating International Human Rights Day (IHRD), as officials in Phnom Penh reiterated their threat to shut down a planned mass rally in the capital on Thursday.

As IHRD, officially on December 10, approaches, associated demonstrations across the Kingdom are gaining momentum.

Yesterday, rallies were held in five provinces – Koh Kong, Siem Reap, Takeo, Kratie and Svay Rieng.

In Siem Reap, 600 people hailing from 13 communities, many embroiled in land disputes, and organisations such as the Informal Economy Association, gathered in Slakram commune but were blocked by authorities as they tried to march to another location.

Chan Chamroeun, a provincial human rights observer for Adhoc in Siem Reap, expressed his disappointment.

“Cambodia has ratified the Human Rights Convention, so there should be more freedom and opportunity,” he said.

Siem Reap Provincial Hall spokesman Bun Tharith justified the measures to keep public order and avoid traffic congestion.

Meanwhile in Koh Kong, about 300 protesters filed a petition with provincial authorities calling for the release of four activists imprisoned over their anti-sand dredging activities.

According to Licadho, some 200 people held a public forum in Kratie, some 400 people joined two IHRD events in Svay Rieng and 500 people in Takeo enjoyed music, comedy and information about the history of human rights.

People march along a road late yesterday afternoon in Kampong Speu province in the lead up to international Human rights day on Thursday.
People march along a road late yesterday afternoon in Kampong Speu province in the lead up to international Human rights day on Thursday. LICADHO

Phnom Penh Municipal Hall yesterday reaffirmed its ban on Thursday’s planned IHRD march.

City Hall spokesman Long Dimanche said “serious measures” would be taken to ensure security, with the current Asian Parliamentary Assembly meeting currently ongoing in the capital.

Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said the ministry backed the municipality’s decision.

However, organisers, who expect more than 2,000 people to attend, remained defiant.

“We will march as planned. They try to abuse our human rights, whether it's land grabbing, forced evictions or the lack of independence of the judiciary, but they can’t hide the truth.” said Ee Sarom, executive director of the Teang Tnaut Association.

Sarom said the group would gather in three locations and march to the Ministry of Justice and the National Assembly.

Additional reporting by Shaun Turton

MOST VIEWED

  • Hungarian exposes 90 to Covid in Siem Reap

    The Ministry of Health has discovered 90 people who have been exposed directly or indirectly to a Hungarian man infected with Covid-19. They all are required to quarantine at home and the hospital. The ministry is searching for other affected people. Among the 90, one is the

  • PM: West unfair to Cambodia

    Prime Minister Hun Sen released a message celebrating the International Day of Peace on Monday, saying that some major powers and western countries had been systemically cooperating to put political pressure on Cambodia as they did in the 1970s and 1980s. Hun Sen said pressuring

  • PM warns of ‘new Cold War’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said the possibility of a so-called new Cold War has become a significant concern and that all countries have to reject outright, any attempt to allow history to tragically repeat itself. He made the remarks in a speech during 75th Session

  • ‘Bad news is an investor’s best friend’ – unlocking investment potential in Cambodia

    It is time to shop. Economic woes provide good pickings for investors if they know where to look The poem If, written by English Nobel laureate poet and novelist Rudyard Kipling for his son circa 1895, is widely perceived as fatherly advice for John who would

  • PM requests Russia’s Covid vaccine

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested that Russia provide Cambodia with its Covid-19 vaccine after the former announced it planned on mass vaccinating its population next month. The request came on Thursday through the prime minister’s Facebook page as he met with Anatoly Borovik,

  • First ‘mobile kitchen’ in Cambodia enters service

    A catering company recently rolled out Cambodia’s first “mobile kitchen” – a $50,000 container capable of serving up to 200 people at a time. The kitchen is the brainchild of Seng Hok Heng Catering Services. At 4.4m-high, 6.8m-long and 2.4m-wide (expandable to 6.8m), the kitchen is equipped