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

ព៍ត៌មានទាន់ហេតុការណ៍ៈ បាតុកម្មនៅមុខ សាលាក្រុងប៉ោយប៉ែតមានជ័យ ថ្ងៃទី ៣០ ខែ ឧសភា ឆ្នាំ២០១៧

Monday, April 29, 2013

STATEMENT: Concern over the Intimidation of ADHOC’s Pursat Coordinator Phuong Sothea

Statement
 Concern over the Intimidation of ADHOC’s Pursat Coordinator Phuong Sothea

Phnom Penh, 25 April 2013 — The Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC) is concerned over the intimidation of Mr. Phuong Sothea, its Coordinator in Pursat province. Following an advocacy campaign on land rights and an interview Phuong Sothea did with Radio Free Asia, Mr. Prom Ngoy, Chief of Thmor Da commune, Veal Veng district, Pursat province filed a complaint against him for “incitement” and “disinformation.” ADHOC emphasizes that Phuong Sothea has always acted in a manner consistent both with Cambodian law and ADHOC’s mandate, and calls on the judicial authorities not to open any criminal case against him.
On 1st April 2013, residents of Thmor Da commune, including nine families from Ekapheap village and 20 families from Sangkum Thmey village, travelled to Phnom Penh to file a complaint with the Prime Minister’s cabinet, as their plots were excluded from land measurement by youth volunteers implementing the land-titling scheme launched in June 2012. The families have been embroiled in a land dispute with tycoon Try Pheap.
As part of ADHOC’s mandate, Phuong Sothea provided the affected families with information on land rights and advocacy methods. On 15 March 2013, he organized a workshop with them and the local authorities in order to discuss the situation. Two days later, he also raised the issue in an interview with Radio Free Asia. In early April, the families submitted their petition to the Prime Minister’s cabinet. On 22 April, the Thmor Da Commune Chief filed a complaint against Phuong Sothea, alleging “incitement” and “disinformation.” The Pursat Prosecutor declared that he would summons both the Commune Chief and Phuong Sothea for questioning, as part of the investigation into the case.
Shortly thereafter, representatives of the affected families received an answer from the Prime Minister’s cabinet, asking them to be in touch with the provincial authorities and requesting the Provincial Governor to settle their dispute.
ADHOC condemns the Thmor Da Commune Chief’s attempt at intimidating its staff member and calls on the judicial authorities not to open any criminal case against Phuong Sothea. His work as human rights defender should be protected, not hindered, by state authorities. Indeed, at no time did he engage in illegal activities. Firstly, he reported facts pertaining to the land situation in Thmor Da in a neutral manner, emphasizing the insecurity of tenure faced by the families excluded from land measurement. Secondly, legal education and empowerment activities are protected by the 2009 Law on Peaceful Demonstration, in particular under article 3, which exempts meeting organizers of notification requirements for “educational dissemination activities for social interests.” Lastly, the right to peacefully protest is protected by the Cambodian Constitution and international conventions to which Cambodia is a state party. The Commune Chief’s allegations are baseless. As a consequence, the Prosecutor should dismiss them altogether.

For more information, please contact:
Mr. Ny Chakrya, Head of ADHOC’s Human Rights Program: 011 274 959 (Khmer, English)
Mr. Nicolas Agostini, Technical Assistant: 078 405 024 (English, French)

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