Environmental activist Ven Aet was shot at in Areng Valley, but sustained no injury

Created Date : 17 / May / 2018
Nature of Violation :
Rights Involved :

Description


On Saturday 12 May 2018 at around 10pm, environmental activist Ven Aet was shot at, while he was at his homein Chrok Ruessei Village, Chumnoab Commune, Thma Bang District, Koh Kong Province.Luckily, he sustained no injury. Ven Aet was at his house with a friend whenone gunshot was fired at him, as he was going to the bathroom outside of hishouse. Since it was dark, neither him nor his friend were able to see theassailant, nor were they able to determine whether there were one or moreindividuals. All villagers confirmed having heard the gunshot, adding that itcame from the direction of Ven Aet’s house. Ven Aet, the brother of renownedenvironmental activist Ven Vorn, is actively involved in the protection ofhuman rights and of the environment in Areng Valley, Koh Kong Province. Back in2013, he successfully advocated against the construction of a Dam in ArengValley, and is now actively involved in patrolling the forest in order to fightillegal timber trade, together with other environmental activists. Ven Aet is alsosupporting the Jong ethnic group in obtaining recognition as an indigenousgroup. Ven Aet was also a candidate for the CNRP during the 2017 communeelections, but is no longer connected with the party since its dissolution bythe Supreme Court in November 2017. On 17 April 2018, Ven Aet wasreportedly told by a commune public official that he “would be killedsoon”, even if he “escaped”, which he understood as being a death threat. Thishappened about a dozen days after he had gone to Phnom Penh with 10 communitymembers of the Jong ethnicity, to submit a request for recognition as anindigenous group, and a week after an unknown individual insinuated that thereal purpose of Ven Aet’s trip to Phnom Penh was to participate in a CNRPgathering. Even though Ven Aet filed a formal complaint at the local policestation following the threat he received, no action was taken as a result. Followingthe authorities’ inaction and out of fear for his safety and that of his family,Ven Aet fled his home, together with his wife and his son. However, he had comeback to his home – leaving his family in a safe place – on 8 May 2018, after hereceived a call from Thma Bang District commissioner in relation to thecomplaint he had submitted to the local police station in relation to the deaththreat. After a discussion between Ven Aet and the publicofficer who made the threat, on 9 May 2018, the latter affirmed that hisstatement was in fact a joke, and that he would guarantee Ven Aet and his family’ssafety. Despite this assurance, the shooting at Ven Aet appears to be at best,another threat; at worst, an attempt to seriously injure or kill him. Boththe death threat and the shooting appear to be directly linked to Ven Aet’sactivities as an environmental and human rights activist; further, theattempted shooting constitutes a direct attempt against Ven Aet’s life. Both requireimmediate, transparent and impartial investigations by the authorities, as wellas urgent action to ensure Ven Aet’s safety and that of his family.

Contact Information


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