Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Pregnant, but still protesting

Pregnant, but still protesting

Pregnant, but still protesting

Despite warnings from their peers to stay away from violent protests, pregnant women from Boeung Kak lake have often risked their safety – and that of their unborn children – to defend their rights, a community representative said yesterday.

Activist Song Srey Leap, 27, said Khek Chan Raksmey, 33, was the third women from Boeung Kak to miscarry after being assaulted by police or security guards at a protest.

Chan Raksmey, who was two months pregnant, was allegedly kicked in the stomach on Monday by authorities in front of Phnom Penh Municipal Hall.

“My community knows about the risks to pregnant women at protests and advises them not to get involved,” Srey Leap said. “But they’re really desperate – so they always join. If they have no home and no land, they have nothing for their baby.”

Sia Phearum, secretariat director of rights group Housing Rights Task Force, said he was “really concerned” about pregnant protesters but said activists’ willingness to “die in the street” for their cause was a sign of their desperation.

“They know they will face beatings and arrests,” he said. “We just urge them to be non-violent.”

In the case of Chan Raksmey, Phearum believed she had not told her fellow protesters that she was pregnant. Regardless, he said, the violence against her had been totally unacceptable.

Ou Virak, president of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, said his organisation spoke to protesters about the dangers of what they did.

“We speak to them about [violence] and tell them about the risks involved in activism,” he said, noting that “it’s up to the people whether they protest”.

Two workers miscarried after violent clashes with police during strikes at the Sabrina Garment factory in late May.

“We cannot tell pregnant women not to join the strikes – it’s their right to do so,” Free Trade Union president Chea Mony said.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY MAY TITTHARA

MOST VIEWED

  • Negotiations on EBA being held

    In an effort to defuse tensions, a senior government official said Cambodia is negotiating with the European Union (EU) on the Everything But Arms (EBA) trade deal, which allows the Kingdom to export goods to the 28-member bloc tariff-free. The EU notified Cambodia on October 5

  • 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

  • Chinese police escort deported scam suspects

    Ninety-one Chinese nationals accused of extorting money from victims in a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) scam were deported from Phnom Penh International Airport on Monday under the escort of 182 Chinese police personnel. General Department of Immigration head of investigations Ouk Hay Seila told reporters

  • EU officials: Ending EBA an 18-month procedure

    EU officials have confirmed that it will take a total of 18 months to complete the procedure if Cambodia’s preferential Everything But Arms (EBA) trade agreement is to be withdrawn. According to EU Agriculture and Rural Development spokesman Daniel Rosario, the formal process has not