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Monday, December 7, 2009

“WE ALL NEED FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND JUSTICE”


INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS DAY DEC 10, 2009

Media Release


More than 10,000 Cambodians from communities around the country, including trade unionists, students, farmers, fishermen, musicians, youths, tuk tuk drivers, motorcycle drivers and NGO workers, will celebrate International Human Rights Day (IHRD) in their communities this year.
These celebrations are tied together with the common theme “We All Need Freedom of Expression and Justice!” and a common symbol - the blue Kramar to represent the important role of human rights defenders in Cambodia.
The community initiatives will mark the achievements made in human rights in Cambodia, but also focus on critical issues still facing the country’s citizens – including exploitation of land and natural resources; restrictions to the freedoms of expression, association and assembly; and violations of labor rights.
IHRD is celebrated every year on 10 December as a reminder of the enduring human rights struggles which continue to affect societies and communities in every country. IHRD bears witness to and highlights pervasive human rights abuses as well as standing as a call for action.
The celebration of IHRD also marks an opportunity for civil society, governments, international organisations and citizens themselves to highlight their efforts in securing recognition and observance of human rights principles.
Sample celebrations and activities on 10 December, 2009 
  • More than 200 motorcycle drivers and Tuk Tuk drivers will hold media conference and release balloons in Traing village in Siem Reap.
  • More than 900 villagers will gather in a local pagoda in Chi Kreng, Siem Reap to discuss Buddhist principles, human rights and watch videos on human rights issues.
  • More than 500 villagers and farmers will play traditional games, discuss human rights issues and march in Chhouk village in Koh Kong province.
  • More than 500 trade unionists will gather to discuss human rights, labor rights and to march around Laang village in Kampot province.
  • More than 150 students, monks and local authorities will gather in Neav Sav village in Kampong Thom province to discuss human rights, to march and release balloons.
  • Groups of family members, farmers, union leaders, students, artists and NGO workers will bring packages of food and meet more than 52 human rights defenders detained in Phnom Penh and 8 provincial prisons. 

Cambodia’s constitution guarantees the right to freedom of expression and association, both of which are fundamental to a vibrant democracy,” said Sar Mora, President of the Cambodian Food Service Workers Federation (CFSWF). “Without the freedom to express ourselves, the government cannot understand our hopes and desires, and the goal of justice becomes an illusion.” 

“Justice must be accessible to the poor and marginalized, and the law must be applied fairly to all including the rich and powerful,” said Pung Chhiv Kek President of Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO). “The poorest farmer has the same rights as the richest businessman.” Kek adds “Cambodia’s courts are failing to provide justice to numerous victims of human rights abuses on a daily basis, real reforms of the courts, to strengthen their independence and professional and to eliminate corruption, are desperately needed.” 

“We welcome development but not at the expense of the poor,” says Yeng Virak, Executive Director of Community Legal Education Center (CLEC). “There must be an end to forced evictions, and there must be government policies which ensure and enable participation and rights to information, expression and movement for everyone.”
“Friends of December 10this an informal group of individuals working to support and assist initiates to celebrate International Human Right Day throughout Cambodia.

News media are invited to attend the December 10 celebrations and contact focal persons listed for individual activities held 70 areas in Phnom Penh and 17 provinces.

News media are invited to attend the December 10 celebrations and contact focal persons listed for individual activities held 70 areas in Phnom Penh and 17 provinces.


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