. សេរីភាពបញ្ចេញមតិគឺជាលក្ខណៈគ្រិៈនៃសិទ្ធិ We should live without fear( សូមបងប្អូនជាជាតិខ្មែរ សូមចូលរួមបោះឆ្នោតជ្រើសរើសមេឃុំ/សង្កាត់ នៅថ្ងៃទី ០៤ ខែ មិថុនា ឆ្នាំ២០១៧ អោយបានគ្រប់ៗគ្នា."

ព៍ត៌មានទាន់ហេតុការណ៍ៈ បាតុកម្មនៅមុខ សាលាក្រុងប៉ោយប៉ែតមានជ័យ ថ្ងៃទី ៣០ ខែ ឧសភា ឆ្នាំ២០១៧

Sunday, June 17, 2012

STATEMENT: Failures of Law Implementation Lead to Injustice towards Boeung Kak Lake Residents


Phnom Penh, 14 June 2012 – The Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC) expresses grave concerns over the lack of proper law implementation by the Phnom Penh Municipality and the Phnom Penh Municipal Court in connection with the handling of the Boeung Kak area land conflict. The arrest of peaceful protesters and their sentencing to lengthy prison terms carried with them a whole range of irregularities—a speedy trial; insufficient evidence; and a general failure to uphold defense rights and fair trial guarantees. All of this led to injustice towards the Boeung Kak Lake residents, who both lost their land and homes and were imprisoned.
On 24 May 2012, thirteen female Boeung Kak Lake residents were sentenced to prison terms ranging from one to two and a half years. Two more (one woman and one man) have been in pre-trial detention since that day on charges of “illegal occupation of state land” and “obstruction of law enforcement officials.” The Court’s decision, as has been repeatedly emphasized by national and international observers, was in violation of both the letter and the spirit of the law. The whole legal proceedings represent an egregious miscarriage of justice.
The Boeung Kak Lake residents who peacefully protested on 22 May 2012 have been embroiled in a land dispute with Shukaku Inc. since 2007. They have not yet obtained reasonable, fair compensation as they were left out of a 12.44 hectare Social Land Concession relocation deal that was awarded to residents of seven Boeung Kak villages on 11 August 2011, following sustained collective action.
This process was conducted by the Municipality but the package did not include fair compensation and relocation to sites where the right to adequate housing can be realized. Some families (including some women who were convicted on 24 May) did receive a minimum amount of compensation or on-site resettlement; some were relocated to distant, squalid sites; but others were left out of the deal for they refused its unfair provisions. Their homes and property were later destroyed by Shukaku Inc.’s sand pumping operations. Despite legal requirements—the state and the companies being granted concessions for development projects are under obligation to provide fair compensation and to mitigate negative impacts on citizens and the environment—, several Boeung Kak families were not awarded any compensation.
The addition of these injustices led to endless protests. Protesters defended their rights and land, on which they had lived for several years. This form of collective action—entirely peaceful since it included demonstrating, chanting and filing petitions with relevant institutions—is guaranteed under Cambodian and international law, and the protesters’ actions amount neither to “illegal occupation of state land” nor “obstruction of public officials.” Their actions are simply the exercise of fundamental freedoms in a democratic society.
The charging and sentencing of the 13 Boeung Kak women, based on articles 34 and 259 of the Land Law and article 504 of the Penal Code, are an egregious miscarriage of justice. They show a complete disregard for the Boeung Kak residents’ rights. They also represent a clear threat to those who peacefully exercise their right to free expression to oppose public decisions or policies.
In light of the above, ADHOC formulates the following recommendations:
1) When reviewing the ruling of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, the Appeal Court should drop charges and free all the detained Boeung Kak residents, who are innocent women and mothers;
2) The Phnom Penh Municipality should seek fair resolution of the Boeung Kak Lake land conflict as soon as possible in the framework of a Social Land Concession scheme or other suitable solution. All Boeung Kak Lake residents who were affected by forced eviction must receive fair compensation;
3) The Royal Government of Cambodia should stop considering peaceful land protests as illegal and arresting peaceful protesters.

For more information, please contact:
Mr. Ny Chakrya, Head of Monitoring Section at ADHOC: 011 274 959
Mr. Chan Soveth, Deputy Head of Monitoring Section: 016 667 373

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