More use of unlawful force by Cambodian authorities on peaceful protesters

Created Date : 23 / Sep / 2013
Nature of Violation :
Rights Involved :


Membersof the communities of Boeung Kak and Borei Keila held a peaceful hunger strikeyesterday at Wat Phnom pagoda in the north of Phnom Penh, to protest theopening of the National Assembly today despite the absence of oppositionparliamentarians. Between around 9 and 10pm last night, as the hunger strikers wereallegedly about to pack up and return home, they were set upon by a mixed groupof security forces including riot police and a group of around 20-30 plainclothed civilians who appeared to be working for the police. The mixed securityforces proceeded to attack the peaceful hunger strikers using sticks, electricbatons and slingshots.Thehunger strikers began their peaceful demonstration at Wat Phnom at around 2pmyesterday and included a group of around 50 Boeung Kak and Borei Keilacommunity members plus around 40 monks. By the time the security forcesdescended on the demonstration there were only around 20 hunger strikers leftfrom the two communities. They were not causing any trouble but merelyexercising their constitutional rights to freedom of expression and assembly. Anumber of people were injured in the violent crackdown including journalists,human rights observers, who were chased from the scene using sticks, electricbatons and slingshots, and the peaceful demonstrators themselves. One humanrights observer, who attempted to help one of the community members who wasbeing chased from the scene, had his back car window smashed in by militarypolice in retaliation. Theharsh reaction of the authorities to this entirely calm and peaceful protest wasnot only unnecessary, illegitimate, undemocratic and illegal but it was alsoinexplicable. The Cambodian authorities have clearly not learned from pastmistakes, including the shooting dead of civilian Mao Sok Chan last Sunday nightafter military police opened fire on crowds following an opposition protestthat was held earlier in the day.

Contact Information

For more information pleasecontact CCHR’s Human Rights Defenders Project Coordinator Chhay Chhunly viaemail at [email protected] or via telephone at +855 (0) 17 52 80 21.