Temporary Arrest of Land Activists and Ban on Demonstrations

Created Date : 06 / Jan / 2014
Nature of Violation :
Rights Involved : Freedom of Expression, Freedom of Assembly, Land Rights


Today, 6 January 2014, five land rights activists from BoengKak Lake were temporarily arrested in Phnom Penh. At 8.00 am, Tep Vanny, YornBopha, Bo Chhorvy, Phan Chhunreth and Song Sreiy Leap started a march to theFrench Embassy asking for the release of Vorn Pov andnine other peaceful demonstrators previously arrested on Thursday 2 January.The five of them were arrested by the police at around 8.40 am and immediatelytaken to the Phnom Penh Municipal Police Station. They were released at 4.45 pmonly after they agreed to sign a letter stating that they will temporarily notengage in further protests. Their arrest follows a ban on all demonstrations in PhnomPenh. On 4 January the Ministry of Interior issued a press release temporarilybanning all forms of assembly or marches until “public order and security isrestored.” There is no specific end date to the ban. Also on 4 January, thePhnom Penh Municipal Hall issued a letter to Sam Rainsy, leader of theopposition party Cambodian National Rescue Party (“CNRP”). The letter answersthe CNRP notification that it will continue to hold protests daily in the city.In the letter, the Municipal Office says it will not authorize the CNRP to holdmarches or demonstrations until security and public order are guaranteed. In addition,the newspaper Koh Santepheap reportedon 6 January that the district governor of Rusey Keo in Phnom Penh called onthe police to disband gatherings of more than ten persons. These severe restrictions on freedom of expression andassembly were issued following violent clashes between garment workersdemonstrators and the military police on Friday 3 January. During the clashes,the military police indiscriminately and disproportionally used lethal forceagainst the agitators, killing five persons.

Contact Information

Formore information, please contact Ms. Chhay Chhunly, CCHR Human Rights DefenderProject Coordinator via telephone at +855 (0) 17 528 021 or email at [email protected] Ms. Sorn Ramana, Freedom of Expression ProjectCoordinator via telephone at +855 (0) 17 655 591or email at [email protected] to the Editor: CCHR, founded in November 2002, is a non-aligned, independent, non-governmental organization that works to promote and protect democracy and respect for human rights throughout Cambodia. CCHR is a member of International Freedom of Expression Exchanges (IFEX), the global network for freedom of expression. CCHR is also a member of the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT) SOS-Torture Network.The Cambodian Human Rights Portal www.sithi.org is the 2011 winner of the Information Society Innovation Fund Award in the category of Rights and Freedoms and the 2013 winner of the Communication for Social Change Award, awarded by the Centre of Communication and Social Change at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia.