Cambodia: Free women human rights defenders and their supporters

On 5 December, ESCR-Net sent a letter to the Government of Cambodia expressing concern about the recent detention, conviction and sentencing of seven female land rights activists in response to their actions to defend the human rights of thousands of families living on the land around Boeung Kak Lake, on which they depended for their housing, sources of food and water, and livelihood. The women were demonstrating to call attention to flooding and environmental damages caused following the forcible eviction of almost 20,000 people from the area and the draining of the lake to make way for real estate and commercial development.

Reportedly, four more human rights defenders were subsequently detained while peacefully protesting outside of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to call for the release of the seven women.

ESCR-Net called on the Cambodian government to

1. cease all further reprisals, including arbitrary arrests, detentions and politically motivated convictions against human rights defenders working to promote the rights of people living around the Boeung Kak Lake area;

2. guarantee the right to liberty and security of person, and the right to humane treatment during detention for Ms Tep Vanny, Ms Nget Khun, Ms Song Sreyleap, Ms Kong Chantha, Ms Pan Chunreth, Ms Bo Chorvy and Ms Nong Sreng, as well as Ms. Heng Pich, Ms. Im Srey Touch, Ms. Phuong Sopheap and Venerable Soeung Hai; 

3. carry out effective, independent, prompt and impartial investigations into all alleged human rights violations that are connected with, or have resulted from, the forced eviction of the Boeung Kak Lake communities, including addressing the problems related to flooding, drainage, compensation, on-site infrastructure upgrading and off-site resettlement, in accordance with standards established by the Basic Principles; and

4. carry out effective, independent, prompt and impartial investigations into all alleged human rights violations that are connected with, or have resulted from, the actions of Shukaku Inc, and take appropriate steps to ensure, through judicial, administrative, legislative or other appropriate means, that those communities affected by such business-related human rights abuses have access to effective remedy.

See the complete letter here.

See the press release here: English / Khmer.

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