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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Cambodia: Violations of the right to freedom of peaceful assembly

KHM 003 / 0712 / OBS 073
Violations of the right to freedom of peaceful assembly/ Threats
July 30, 2012
The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Cambodia.
Description of the situation:
The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources of the disruption by armed security forces of a training workshop organised jointly by the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC) and the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) on the issue of land rights.
According to the information received, on July 27, 2012, three commune police officers from Patang, as well as one Rattanakiri provincial police officer, the Patang Village Chief, the Patang Commune Chief and the Deputy Commune Chief – one of them carrying an M-16 assault rifle – disrupted a training session on land rights organised jointly by ADHOC and CCHR in Patang village, Patang commune, Rattanakiri province. The officials argued that they were acting upon orders from the provincial authorities, because they had allegedly failed to satisfy notification requirements. It is to be noted however that under Article 3 of the Cambodian 2009 Law on Demonstrations, organisers are exempted from notification requirements for all educational/training activities related to social interests. Notwithstanding this exemption, the CCHR had sent a letter to Patang Village Chief in order to notify him of the upcoming training session..

In order to ensure the physical safety of the attendees, ADHOC and CCHR decided to stop the training session. As the security forces and provincial authorities departed, the Patang Commune Chief accused ADHOC of engaging in “incitement activities”, and the police officers told CCHR staff members that their security would not be guaranteed if they did not leave the area.

 The Observatory expresses its deepest concern about the disruption of this training session on the issue of land rights, as well as about the threats directed against ADHOC and CCHR representatives, since they seem to merely aim at hindering their human rights activities. Violations of land and housing rights are widespread and serious in Cambodia. Government harassment and intimidation of villagers, activists and organisations defending these rights are also increasing. The Observatory therefore calls upon the Cambodian authorities to put an end to all acts of harassment against these organisations and their members.
Actions requested:
Please write to the Cambodian authorities and ask them to:
i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of the members of ADHOC and CCHR, as well as all human rights defenders and their organisations in Cambodia;
ii. Put an end to all acts of harassment against ADHOC and CCHR members as well as against all human rights defenders and their organisations in Cambodia;
iii. Conform with the provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted on December 9, 1998 by the United Nations General Assembly, and in particular :
- Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually or in association with others, to promote the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”,
- and Article 12.2 which provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”.
iv. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Cambodia.
· Mr. Hun Sen, Prime Minister, Office of the Prime Minister, Phnom Penh, Kingdom of Cambodia, Fax: +855 23 36 06 66 / 855 23 88 06 24 (c/o Council of Ministers), Email:
· Mr. H.E. Ang Vong Vathna, Minister of Justice, No 240, Sothearos Blvd, Phnom Penh, Kingdom of Cambodia, Fax: 023 364119. Email:
· Mr. Sar Kheng, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, Ministry of Interior, 275 Norodom Blvd, Phnom Penh, Kingdom of Cambodia, Fax: + 855 23 212708. Email:
· Mr. Hor Nam Hong, Minister of Foreign Affairs, 161 Preah Sisowath Quay, Phnom Penh, Kingdom of Cambodia, Fax: + 855 23 21 61 44 / + 855 23 21 69 39. Email:
· Ambassador Mr. Sun Suon, Permanent Mission of Cambodia to the United Nations in Geneva, Chemin de Taverney 3, Case postale 213, 1218 Grand-Saconnex, Switzerland, Fax: + 41 22 788 77 74. Email:;
Please also write to the diplomatic representations of Cambodia in your respective countries.
Paris-Geneva, July 30, 2012
Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.
The Observatory, a FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need.
To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
· Tel and fax FIDH: +33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / 01 43 55 18 80
· Tel and fax OMCT: + 41 22 809 49 39 / 41 22 809 49 29
Read more!

Philippines hits out at Cambodia in China row

MANILA — The Philippines said Tuesday it had summoned Cambodia's ambassador to explain comments he made accusing it and Vietnam of playing "dirty politics" in trying to solve a maritime row with China.

The move appeared to further deepen divisions within the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), more than two weeks after a ministerial meeting hosted by Cambodia ended in disarray over the sea dispute.

Foreign Department spokesman Raul Hernandez said Cambodian ambassador Hos Sereythonh was asked Tuesday to personally explain his comments, but he failed to turn up claiming he was sick.
"We will continue to summon him until he is able to come," Hernandez said in a statement.

. And here is the rest of it.
"We want him to explain what he meant when he stated that the 'inflexible and non-negotiable position of two countries of ASEAN is dirty politics'."

The comments were in a letter Hos sent to the editor of the Philippine Star, one of the country's leading newspapers, on Monday.

In the letter, Hos accused the Philippines and Vietnam of working to "sabotage and hijack the joint communique" during the ASEAN meeting.

Hos argued that the Philippines and Vietnam should not blame Cambodia for ASEAN's failure to issue an end-of-meeting statement spelling concerns in the region, a first in its 45 year history.
Hos accused the two countries of playing "dirty politics".

Hernandez on Tuesday charged that Cambodia, a close ally of China, rejected at least five final drafts of the joint statement that would have addressed the maritime row.

China claims sovereignty over nearly all of the sea, which is believed to sit atop vast natural resources.

But ASEAN members the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei, as well as Taiwan, have overlapping claims in the area.

Tensions have escalated this year, with China becoming embroiled in diplomatic rows with the Philippines and Vietnam.

Diplomats had said the Philippines called on its fellow ASEAN members at the Cambodia meeting to support it against China.

Indonesia's foreign minister subsequently launched a mission to save the bloc's 'cohesiveness', resulting in a belated statement affirming commitments to a proposed 'code of conduct' over the South China Sea.

Hos could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.
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