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Past Projects
Community Trainings and Hearings Project
Ending Acid Violence Project
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Public Forums Project
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22/11 Justice Fund
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What?

In 2002, CCHR introduced the public forum model of dispute resolution to Cambodia. CCHR public forums have received international media attention, including in the New York Times and the Washington Post and the model has since been replicated by many organizations throughout the Kingdom to resolve various issues. The public forum has at its heart, the objective of opening society by encouraging dialogue amongst individuals and between communities, their local authorities and the individuals who they have elected to represent them.

Unlike most NGO Projects in Cambodia, the Public Forum Project does not set the agenda for the people rather it provides communities with the opportunity to set their own agenda by raising issues of concern that affect their day-to-day lives. The issues are then discussed by invited guest speakers, who generally include parliamentarians, members of local authorities, and NGO representatives. The forums offer citizens an opportunity to engage their elected officials and others with an official mandate and present a rare opportunity for many to experience a democratic process.

Why?

Cambodian society is a hierarchical one; those in authority expect the respect and reverence of others. The relationship between those in authority and ordinary citizens is akin to that of a parent-child relationship, with the ordinary citizens expected not to speak out of turn and to respect the decisions, actions and omissions of those in authority. This rigid structure is undemocratic and operates to mitigate the accountability of members of local, provincial and national authorities. Where human rights are concerned, this structure ensures that perpetrators of violations escape accountability if they are in positions of authority or on friendly terms with others holding such positions.

The Public Forums Project offers ordinary Cambodian citizens with the rare opportunity to raise concerns about their day-to-day lives to individuals in authority. The forums seek to open up Cambodian society by encouraging a culture of openness and transparency. In addition to promoting the right to freedom of expression, the forums seek to give the people an understanding of the fact that it is the role of those in authority to work in the interests of the public and not in the furtherance of their own interests.

How?

CCHR forums are held throughout the Kingdom on a monthly basis. The forums are not case specific and CCHR does not seek to set any agenda for the participants. Individuals and communities are encouraged to raise any issue which affects their lives and to ask the invited guest speakers to address these concerns. Issues raised often include land violations, corruption within local authorities, the failure of authorities to deal with complaints such as those relating to domestic violence, natural resource issues and employment. Through the forums, CCHR is able to gain an insight into the issues that affect the lives of the Cambodian people.

Who?

The Project target beneficiaries are all the people of Cambodia but particularly those in marginalized rural and urban communities who lack an understanding of governance and the fact that those in authority must work in the interests of the people.

 
 

Please click on the following link to the interactive map for detailed information on our public forums.

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