Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Impunity tops agenda for special rapporteur

Impunity tops agenda for special rapporteur

Impunity tops agenda for special rapporteur

A UN special rapporteur will take the cause of Cambodia’s land-eviction battles and the abuses faced by those waging them to the UN Human Rights Council, according to a report released today.

Michel Forst, the special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, will file a report with the UN body focusing on the impunity enjoyed by intimidators who silence land protesters and associated rights workers.

“I will more generally continue to focus on the protection of land rights defenders, insisting on the need to increase accountability,” he says in the annual land defenders report from the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH).

FIDH consists of 178 rights organisations. Locally, Adhoc, the Cambodian Center for Human Rights and Licadho contributed to the report, which highlights incidents where Cambodia’s authorities have failed to find justice for activists.

For example, it says, “no serious investigation has taken place to clarify the circumstances and seek justice for the extra-judicial killing of Mr Chut Wutty”, the conservationist gunned down in 2012.

It also notes that Vann Sophath, a CCHR worker, filed a complaint after receiving death threats monitoring a land dispute in May.

“As of August … no court action had been undertaken and he was not granted any protection measures,” the report says.

In more than 100 cases of intimidation against rights defenders documented globally from 2011 to August this year, 95 per cent remain unpunished, the reports says. These include killings, disappearances, threats and physical attacks.

“Perpetrators may be local or federal state officials, such as police officers and members of the military or non-state actors, such as company employees, paramilitaries or henchmen paid by companies or politicians,” the report says.

But Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said the government was committed to rule of law for all. While activists had the right to protest, “demonstrations often don’t help,” he said, adding that policymakers should solve issues at the grassroots level.

MOST VIEWED

  • Draft law on state of emergency pending finalisation

    Prime Minister Hun Sen will lead a top-level meeting on Tuesdays to review the draft law on imposing a state of emergency. Meantime, he has decided to close all casinos in Cambodia effective April 1. In the press conference after the National Assembly met today, Hun

  • Stranded passengers petition UK for help

    Some 10,521 foreigners in Cambodia, the bulk being from the UK, have signed an online petition calling on British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and relevant officials to fly them out of the Kingdom. The petition is targeted at 15,000 foreigners. Among them are nearly 200 Europeans, the majority

  • Covid-19 Pandemic: Force majeure and legal consequences

    Is the Covid-19 pandemic considered an event of force majeure? The World Health Organisation declared the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak a pandemic on March 11. Following this declaration, the Ministry of Health and other ministries have taken various legal and administrative measures to prevent the rapid

  • PM set to mend ties with US

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has responded to US Congressman Ted Yoho, saying he is ready to improve Cambodia-US relations, and not take up issues of disagreements which have become a barrier between the two countries’ bilateral cooperation. His response to Yoho came after the congressman

  • Mysterious century-old structure found at bottom of Angkor pond

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) has discovered a mysterious 1,000-year-old structure of a wooden building at the bottom of a pond after the Angkor Wat temple’s conservation team completed restoring its northern cave. The deputy director at ANA’s Angkor International Research and Documentation

  • China sends more test kits

    The Ministry of Health has ramped up its preparation to stem the spread of the deadly Covid-19 disease in the Kingdom thanks to help from the Jack Ma and Alibaba foundations which donated 20,000 test kits to the Kingdom. On March 28, Chinese Ambassador to Cambodia Wang