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MAO Danay
Project Intern
CCHR is where the wild things are, a place where a fresh graduate like me can learn and develop my professionalism and inner personality as an individual. Working as an intern for six months here has been so inspirational and supportive, which, as a result, has enabled me to discover my own life goal and the next steps I should take for the future. I have been so blessed to have been accepted as a Project Intern in the Trial Monitoring Project (the “Project”), a project that aims to assess the adherence to fair trial standards and to promote the respect of fair trial rights. Never before have I undertaken a role that required me to multi-task, yet the Project alone has provided me with various opportunities to work effectively as a member of team and to develop my capacity to work under pressure and manage my tasks wisely. My work in the project was somewhat of a challenge, but I was lucky enough to have a great supervisor and colleagues. They have been so open and have shown their willingness to give constructive feedback on my performance. 

More importantly, CCHR, as well as the Project itself, has shown me how powerful the media is. CCHR uses the media to rapidly disseminate a large number of human rights violations across the country for all the whole world to see by uncovering how laws are being implemented and the actual practices on the ground. CCHR's efforts have a ripple effect for social justice and it will continuously impact on respect for human rights in society. From the very beginning of my internship, I believed that this was a mission with great purpose and I feel that my contribution has mattered.
Rupert Abbott
Director of Development and Programs
“CCHR provided me with the opportunity to undertake extremely interesting work that hopefully contributed in a small way to the cause of human rights in Cambodia. I learnt so much about human rights advocacy – which is about so much more than simply understanding human rights law – and managing and developing a not-for-profit organization. I strongly believe that CCHR and its president Ou Virak are very important for the future of human rights in Cambodia.”

Rupert Abbott is a British Solicitor and member of the Law Society of England and Wales and currently works for the United Nations in the Defence Support Section (DSS) at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC). The ECCC, known also as the ‘Khmer Rouge Tribunal’, is located in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and was established to try those alleged to be senior Khmer Rouge leaders and those alleged to be most responsible for serious crimes committed in Cambodia from 1975 to 1979. The DSS provides support to the defence lawyers representing the defendants at the ECCC, and works to ensure respect for fair trial rights. 

Rupert was the Officer-in-Charge of the DSS for four months, and now helps manage the section’s legal aid scheme and assists on providing legal support to the defence teams. He leads on implementing the DSS Legacy Program, designed to assist the ECCC in leaving a legacy of a strengthened justice system for Cambodia, through promoting rule of law and fair trial rights and building the capacity of lawyers and others. 

From December 2008 to September 2010, Rupert was the Director of Development and Programs at the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR). Working with CCHR President Ou Virak, Rupert developed human rights programs in the areas of community empowerment and research and advocacy; and helped to develop the CCHR’s organizational capacity, fund-raising over USD 1 million from international donor agencies. Rupert researched, investigated and reported on alleged human rights violations and international crimes; and provided direct defense assistance to human rights defenders.

Rupert is an alumnus of the University of Oxford, where he read modern history and was President of the Oxford University Law Society and his College’s Student Union. He studied law at the University of Sussex and College of Law, worked as a political researcher, and then joined the global law firm Baker & McKenzie. In 2007 he was ‘Highly Commended’ by the Law Society of England and Wales for his pro bono legal work.
Oeur Narin
"I really enjoyed working with such a varied group. The most invaluable thing I gained from CCHR is these friendships."

The importance of human rights work for me, is in developing the country by empowering poor and vulnerable people to understand their rights and to practice and protect them. A nation that respects human rights is a nation that will achieve development and democracy. My own dream to work in the human rights field came through when I was hired as a researcher with CCHR.

During my two years working with CCHR I fulfilled many of my ambitions. I had the opportunity to help find justice for victims of rights violations through my monitoring and advocacy work. As a researcher, I built up networks amongst villagers, community leaders, human rights defenders and others. I also gained an understanding of important national and international laws, such as the Land Law, Demonstration Law and Labor Law as well as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. I saw these laws in practice and witnessed their violation in my work to promote and protect freedom of expression, assembly and association and land rights.

In addition to these valuable professional experiences, I met many people from various backgrounds during my time with CCHR. I really enjoyed working with such a varied group. The most invaluable thing I gained from CCHR is these friendships.
Jenna Holliday
Professional Volunteer
"CCHR are a force to be reckoned with in the fight for human rights and rule of law in Cambodia.  I am proud to have been able to work with them and to continue my association with the CCHR family."

Having practiced as a commercial solicitor in the UK for 3 years, I decided to leave my job and pursue other (dare I say it) more meaningful opportunities elsewhere.  I had volunteered for some time with the Advocates for International Development (A4ID) pro bono law programme and, as such, I used their resources to identify the project that would best suit my interests and abilities.  CCHR came up trumps primarily because of their interest and work on the legal perspectives of human rights.  I arrived in March and started work in April 2010.  It soon became very clear that the reference to “professional” in my title was not to be taken lightly.  On day one I was tested with the request that I draft a press release for urgent release on CCHR’s response to the deportation of Chinese asylum seekers.   Before the first month was out I was carrying out research for a report into the legal citizenship rights of ethnically Khmer Vietnamese in Cambodia.  I requested to extend my three month stay and ended up working with CCHR for six months.  Since leaving I have successfully developed my own legal consultancy working with CCHR and many of their partners. 
Jonathan Caleb-Landy
International Intern
"Interning at CCHR truly has been a once in a lifetime experience.  And what have I learnt, I hear you ask: well among many things, it is good to put yourself occasionally out of your comfort zone and more importantly never trust a travel writer."

Phnom Penh is “a city of extremes of poverty and excess, of charm and chaos “. I remember reading those lines from Lonely Planet with dread and terror in a cold tube carriage on my way to the City on an icy November evening in London.  At that point I had quit my job, booked my flight to Phnom Penh and committed myself to an internship at the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR).  It was a terrifying prospect, to travel almost half way around the world to do an internship in a place that I had never even visited before. 

After thoroughly enjoying an internship at CCHR all this appears rather ridiculous.  On my first day I was welcomed into the CCHR family by the Cambodian & international staff and of course the other interns.   The role of an intern is well structured; you’re assigned to at least one project, assisting a project coordinator and a legal consultant.  You are also given other tasks such as writing press releases or assisting in the writing of other reports.  This makes for varied and interesting work, which is useful as it helps develop a range of transferable skills, experience of very different types of work and gives you a thorough appreciation of the practical implications of human rights.

The highlight of my internship at CCHR has of course been Cambodia.   From the welcoming people to the beautiful countryside to the beaches and the killing fields, there really is nowhere in the world like it.   My internship at CCHR has given me a unique insight into this amazing country which has such an interesting and checkered past and allowed me to play at least some role in its future development.
Khan Chankolich
National Intern
"CCHR is a great place to learn, as though a university itself."

I worked as an intern with CCHR for eight months during which time I had many great experiences. I always found the atmosphere at CCHR friendly and inclusive, like that you get at home or in university. I loved my time at CCHR for three reasons in particular.

Firstly, CCHR is a great place to learn, as though a university itself. The staff and other interns were like my professors and classmates. I learned a whole lot from everyone while I was there. My time with CCHR gave me a great understanding of responsibility. I studied my duties very carefully and I think what I learned will be very valuable to me in my future professional endeavors.

Secondly, CCHR felt like a home to me. During working hours, I felt comfortable, as though I was at home. There is a great atmosphere with people sharing knowledge. When I made mistakes, my supervisor did not get angry but gave me advice on how to do a better job the next time. I was treated like a son of the CCHR family and I saw CCHR like my parents. I will remember particularly our staff trip in Koh Kong at the end of 2010 when we all traveled and had a great time together.

Thirdly and most importantly, my time with CCHR was important to me because of the type of work the organization does. The work of the organization to promote and protect human rights can contribute to the creation of a responsible government. CCHR is an organization that works tirelessly for the people of Cambodia.

I hope to work for CCHR again in the future because I see the organization like my home and my university. I thank CCHR for making me feel at home, I will always remember that I am a son of the CCHR family.
Orla Kelly
International Intern
"I learned a lot from the people working at CCHR who were very open and willing to help us interns, while at the same time trusting us to work independently."

During my four-month internship at CCHR I was lucky enough to work on engaging and interesting issues involving freedom of information, freedom of expression and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender rights. Working at CCHR was extremely interesting, and enjoyable. The atmosphere in the office is very friendly and also exciting, with unraveling human rights situations and political events needing to be documented, and public statements needing to be released. I enjoyed the combination of working to deadlines, for example on press releases, as well as having longer-term projects to work on continuously.

My time at CCHR challenged me and gave me the opportunity to use skills that I had gained at university, while also helping me to develop new skills such as report writing, interviewing and writing press releases. I learned a lot from the people working at CCHR who were very open and willing to help us interns, while at the same time trusting us to work independently. I really appreciated the warmth of the staff as well as their passion for human rights and their commitment to improving the situation in Cambodia. I met some great people through my time at CCHR, who made my stay in Cambodia all the more enjoyable. I am really glad to have worked at CCHR, it has been a truly worthwhile experience and my only regret is leaving!
Ngeth Samneang
Web Officer
"In comparison to my previous work experience in private sector companies, CCHR afforded me the opportunity to better learn and understand human rights laws, violations and other human rights issues which are prevalent in Cambodia."

Personally I am both delighted and proud of myself as I used to be the Web Officer for CCHR and thoroughly enjoyed the close connections I had with my other colleagues as we worked together to help Cambodian citizens who were victims of human rights violations. CCHR is working, in its role as one of the main Human Rights organizations in Cambodia, to develop the country by providing basic knowledge of human rights throughout the whole country, and greater access to information through Through CCHR’s continued and future successes Cambodia will become an even better, and stronger, country.

NGETH Samneang who can be also be addressed by another name, CHENG Samnang, is a Cambodian citizen. He worked as a Web Officer at CCHR and was responsible for the development of, the first human rights portal of its kind in Cambodian that is accessible in both English and Khmer. He is currently pursuing a two year Masters of Science in Computer Science in the United States of America.
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