Latest Human Rights NewsFollow us 8642621869 or on twitter Statement Time for Bail: Ending Needless Mass Detention in Cambodia
November 1, 2018
Cambodiaâs prison population has risen to unprecedented levels and acute overcrowding has become a major problem, affecting not only inmates but prison staff and society as a whole. Record numbers of women with children under three years of age were behind bars during the last year. Correctional Center 1, the main menâs prison in Phnom Penh, houses more than three times the number of inmates it was built to accommodate.
In a new report, LICADHO examines the role Cambodiaâs courts play in contributing to this crisis and highlights how the criminal justice system could be improved by small and feasible changes.
Despite laws designed to limit pre-trial detention and respect the principle of presumption of innocence, people accused of a crime, even petty offences, are rarely offered bail according to LICADHOâs research. In the 18 prisons that LICADHO monitors nationwide (out of a total of 28) more than a third of prisoners are pre-trial detainees: 9,527 out of 25,926. In some prisons about half the inmates have yet to face trial.
A person accused of a crime can be held without trial for up to 22 months.
October 31, 2018
Cambodiaâs prison population has risen to unprecedented levels and acute overcrowding has become a major problem, affecting not only inmates but prison staff and society as a whole. Record numbers of women with children under three years of age were behind bars during the last year. Correctional Center 1, the main menâs prison in Phnom Penh, houses more than three times the number of inmates it was built to accommodate. In a new report, LICADHO examines the role Cambodiaâs courts play in contributing to this crisis and highlights how the criminal justice system could be improved by small and feasible changes. Despite laws designed to limit pre-trial detention and respect the principle of presumption of innocence, people accused of a crime, even petty offences, are rarely offered bail according to LICADHOâs research. In the 18 prisons that LICADHO monitors nationwide (out of a total of 28) more than a third of prisoners are pre-trial detainees: 9,527 out of 25,926. In some prisons about half the inmates have yet to face trial. A person accused of a crime can be held without trial for up to 22 months.
October 5, 2018
Communities around the country celebrated World Habitat Day between 28 September and 5 October 2018. This year's theme was âmunicipal solid waste managementâ and many organised garbage clean ups as well as discussions on housing and land rights. More than 2,000 people participated in at least 30 communities. Authorities shut down some events, claiming they were illegal, and others were cancelled or held indoors due to threats and intimidation.
October 5, 2018 Cambodiaâs new repressive lÃ¨se majestÃ© law was used for the first time yesterday to convict a former opposition party official who was handed a one year sentence.
Ban Somphy, a 70-year-old barber and former district leader of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), was detained on 20 May 2018. He was accused of sharing a Facebook post allegedly criticising King Norodom Sihamoni which included a picture of Prime Minister Hun Sen and his wife and a video of angry villagers affected by flooding.
He was sentenced by Siem Reap provincial court under Criminal Code article 437 bis which was amended by the National Assembly in February amid strong opposition from civil society groups who warned that it would be used to silence government critics.
The law was introduced along with a series of vaguely phrased constitutional amendments targeting the opposition and civil society, including making âany activityâ that directly or indirectly âaffect[s] the interestsâ of Cambodia or its citizensâ illegal.
Somphy has already spent four months in pre-trial detention. Five months of his one-year sentence was suspended, meaning he will remain in jail for a further three months.
October 1, 2018
At least two communities have been prevented from celebrating the United Nationsâ World Habitat Day by Cambodian authorities and others have cancelled events out of fear of reprisals.
More than 2,000 people in at least 30 communities nationwide have planned events to raise awareness of this yearâs theme â âmunicipal solid waste managementâ â as well as the annual theme: the right to housing. Activities are taking place between 28 September and 5 October 2018, many of them in communities affected by land grabbing and forced evictions or threatened by new developments.
According to the UN, World Habitat Day (WHD) is an opportunity to âreflect on the state of our towns and cities, and on the basic right of all to adequate shelterâ.
September 26, 2018
We, the undersigned communities and civil society groups, condemn todayâs conviction of four human rights defenders from the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC) and a National Election Committee (NEC) official, in relation to a former opposition leaderâs alleged affair. On 26 September 2018, senior ADHOC staff members â Ny Sokha, Nay Vanda, Lim Mony and Yi Soksan â were convicted of âbribery of a witnessâ under Article 548 of the Criminal Code. NEC official and former ADHOC staff member Ny Chakrya was found guilty as an accomplice under Articles 29 and 548 of the Criminal Code. They have been sentenced to five years of imprisonment by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, with their pre-trial detention period of 427 days considered time-served and the remainder suspended.
September 26, 2018
Four staffers from the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC) and a National Election Committee (NEC) official were convicted today at Phnom Penh Municipal Court on bribery charges linked to a case against former opposition leader Kem Sokha.
The four ADHOC staffers â Lim Mony, Ny Sokha, Yi Soksan and Nay Vanda â and NEC official Ny Chakrya, were handed five year suspended sentences by a panel of three judges. The time already served by the five during their pre-trial detention was included in the sentencing and the remaining time was suspended, meaning they will not return to prison.
August 14, 2018
Prominent land right activist Tep Vanny has been at the forefront of her communityâs fight against forced evictions and rights violations in Phnom Penhâs Boeung Kak Lake neighbourhood. Her dogged determination has made her a powerful advocate for justice, not only for the upheaval faced by her own community but for all Cambodians.
Cambodian authorities shut down Vannyâs activism two years ago and have kept her behind bars since then on a series of trumped-up charges and convictions in trials devoid of any credible evidence. She is serving a two-and-a-half-year sentence at Phnom Penhâs infamous Prey Sar prison, also known as Correctional Center 2 (CC2).
August 14, 2018
Land activist and human rights defender Tep Vanny has been unjustly detained for two years as of tomorrow, for defending the rights of the Boeung Kak Lake community and her fellow Cambodians. We, the undersigned communities and civil society organisations, condemn her ongoing imprisonment and call on the authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Tep Vanny, drop all dormant criminal charges and overturn any convictions against her, so that she may return to her family and community. Tep Vanny has fought tirelessly to protect the rights of members of her community following their forced eviction from their homes on Boeung Kak Lake, Phnom Penh, but also those of fellow human rights defenders campaigning for separate causes. As long as she is behind bars, Tep Vanny is prevented from carrying out her peaceful and valuable work.
June 8, 2018
We, the undersigned civil society groups, express grave concern regarding the latest government decision to heighten state surveillance, censorship and criminalisation of online expression in Cambodia, in contravention of constitutional and international human rights guarantees. On 28 May 2018, the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Information and Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications issued an inter-ministerial prakas on website and social media control which became public this week. This ministerial order threatens the privacy rights and freedom of expression of every single internet and social media user in Cambodia and further diminishes the limited space left for public debate following months of attacks on media freedoms.
May 17, 2018
Last week, LICADHO staff discovered a strange phenomenon when trying to access the Phnom Penh Post website. When going to the site, a malicious code impersonating Google (misspelled Gooogle) attempted to trick users into granting full access to their Gmail inboxes to an unknown third party called GTransfers.
LICADHO analysed the code which was hidden within a legitimate script file (theme.js) hosted on the Phnom Penh Post website and forwarded its findings to partners in the region. The tampering with the website was independently confirmed by cyber security experts - including industry leader FireEye - in an 301-242-2102.
May 9, 2018
We, the undersigned civil society groups, condemn the latest blow to press freedom in Cambodia, with the opaque sale of The Phnom Penh Post, and the new ownerâs immediate interference in the paperâs editorial independence, which compelled 13 senior staff and reporters to resign and led to the sacking of the paperâs Editor-in-Chief. This is just the latest in a series of attacks which have devastated Cambodiaâs media landscape since mid-2017. The Phnom Penh Post was Cambodiaâs last remaining independent English-Khmer language daily, and its change of ownership raises serious questions about the paperâs continued independence.
May 2, 2018
Close to a thousand workers and trades unionists celebrated International Labour Day around Cambodia on 1 May 2018 despite restrictions on public gatherings and a ban on the traditionally held march in the capital. A large area around the National Assembly was cordoned by mixed police forces and the rally in the capital was closely monitored. Other events in Cambodian provinces were also low key and closely watched by authorities.
March 30, 2018
Thousands of Cambodian children were adopted overseas between the late 1980s and 2009. During that time it emerged that many of the adopted children were not orphans but had parents who placed them in orphanages because of extreme poverty. Their parents placed them there on the understanding that they would return home at a later date. They did not consent to their children's adoption. Instead, orphanage directors, with the help of local authorities, created documents falsely stating that the children were orphans or had been abandoned. When evidence of this came to light, many countries suspended the adoption of children from Cambodia and in 2009 Cambodia itself suspended them. The parents of the children adopted abroad were often illiterate and lacked awareness of their rights or of where to turn to for help and so were unable to find out what had happened to their children.
February 21, 2018
We, the undersigned organizations and communities, express our grave concern regarding the Royal Government of Cambodia's proposed amendments to the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia, as well as the proposed introduction of a lÃ¨se-majestÃ© offense to Cambodiaâs Criminal Code. These proposed amendments constitute a severe threat to human rights and fundamental freedoms, and are clearly designed to further criminalize any individual or entity that dares to express legitimate dissent. We are deeply concerned by this cynical attempt to deny the Cambodian people the fundamental freedoms to which they are entitled, and call for the outright rejection of these proposed amendments.
January 30, 2018
We, the undersigned civil society organizations (CSOs), call for the charges against three of Cambodiaâs most prominent civil society leaders â Mr. Pa Nguon Teang, Venerable But Buntenh, and Mr. Moeun Tola â to be immediately dropped. These baseless charges are clearly a form of intimidation and harassment, aimed at further silencing Cambodian civil society and human rights defenders.
January 2, 2018
Borei Keila community in Phnom Penh marks the sixth anniversary of the violent destruction of their homes and forced eviction on 3 January 2012 to make way for a high rise housing development. The community is still seeking fair compensation and re-location on the site of their former homes.
December 9, 2017
On the eve of International Human Rights Day (IHRD) we, the undersigned members of Cambodian civil society, call for an end to government attacks on human rights defenders and civil society groups and the lifting of unjustifiable restrictions on fundamental freedoms. Respect for fundamental freedoms is a basic requirement for a functioning civil society. It is also guaranteed by the Cambodian constitution and international law. Civil society organisations (CSOs) have been longstanding contributors to Cambodiaâs post-war peace-building efforts, development and the promotion of human rights and democratic principles. The legitimate work of CSOs must be valued and protected as a fundamental pillar of sustainable development, rather than being wrongly characterised as a threat to national security. Despite this, the space for civil society has been dramatically diminished in recent months.