A group of 30 youths are cycling from Angkor Wat in Siem Reap province to Freedom Park in Phnom Penh to celebrate Human Rights Day, which falls on December 10. They are calling on the government to commit to fully respecting human rights and allowing their free exercise in the Kingdom.

The cycling campaign was organised by the Cambodian Youth Network (CYN) with the participation of youths from the Prey Lang and Prey Preah Roka communities as well as other students and some NGO staff members. The trip is expected to take five days, from December 6-10.

“A group of 30 young people gathered in front of Angkor Wat in Siem Reap to pray for the souls of the Cambodian ancestors at the starting point of the cycling campaign for human rights. They will cycle from Angkor Wat, the historic former capital and symbol of national prosperity in Cambodia,” stated the CYN.

Out Latin, CYN’s project coordinator and coordinator of the cycling event, told The Post on December 7 that the campaign has four goals: The first two are to celebrate the 74th anniversary of International Human Rights Day and urge the government to commit to respecting the full provision and protection of human rights, especially the fundamental human rights stated in the Cambodian Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural rights.

The third purpose is to urge the government to provide “full freedom” to local communities and to the people to exercise their rights to freedom of expression, association, peaceful assembly, professional rights, participation in environmental protection as well as the decision to participate in elections without any form of coercion.

“The fourth purpose is to actually exercise our freedoms and encourage young people to participate in voluntary activities to help local communities exercise the right to freedom of expression or help with the formation of groups or clubs to participate in social work or events that are open to discussion and debate on social-political issues, which is an important part of expanding the scope of citizen participation in social work,” he said.

Ministry of Justice spokesman Chin Malin said youth groups are free to come together and organise campaigns like this one.

However, he said, in order to fully exercise their rights in a manner that also ensures safety and public order, he urged such groups to inform the relevant authorities along their route of their planned activities in accordance with Cambodian law.

“They should cooperate with the relevant authorities, such as notifying them and getting advice on keeping things orderly, so as to avoid any actions that violate the rights and freedoms of others, or that disrupt the peaceful social order protected by law,” said Malin.

Latin said that on December 7, the group of young cyclists arrived at the border of Stoung district’s Bralay commune in Kampong Thom province and are currently on track to finish their trip on time.

“So far the one-and-a-half-day cycling progress has not been blocked by the authorities. They’re only asking us to let them know where we are and photograph the locations where our group has arrived,” he said.