Alert: Afghanistan one year on: open season on the defence of human rights
Cambodia
23.01.17
Urgent Interventions

CSOs call for the immediate implementation of the decision of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention #FREETHE5KH

JOINT STATEMENT - Phnom Penh 21 January 2017

CSOs call for the immediate implementation of the decision of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention #FREETHE5KH

On the occasion of the two-month anniversary of the adoption of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention’s (“WGAD”) ruling that the ongoing detention of ADHOC staff members Lim Mony, Ny Sokha, Nay Vanda, and Yi Soksan, and NEC Deputy Secretary-General, Ny Chakrya (jointly “the five”) is arbitrary,[1] we, the undersigned civil society organizations (“CSOs”), reiterate our call upon the Cambodian authorities to implement the decision of the WGAD and immediately release them. Nearly nine months after the five were first detained, Cambodia has taken no action to cease or remedy its unlawful treatment of the five, and remains in a continuing state of non-compliance with its binding legal obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (“ICCPR”). Our organizations condemn in the strongest terms the failure of the Cambodian authorities to implement the recommendations of the WGAD.

On 21 November 2016, the WGAD declared the continued detention of the NEC official and four ADHOC staff members to be arbitrary, and in violation of their right to freedom of association and fair trial rights under international human rights law and Cambodian domestic law.[2] In addition, the WGAD ruled that the five had been discriminated against based on their status as human rights defenders. The treatment of the five detainees is demonstrative of the Royal Government of Cambodia’s (the “RGC”) manipulation of the judicial system to harass, intimidate and silence dissenting voices ahead of the upcoming commune and national elections.

The RGC’s response to the damning decision of the WGAD has, up to this point, ranged from total non-engagement to outright dismissal. The WGAD first contacted the RGC with regard to their findings in June 2016, without receiving a response.[3] Since then, Ministry of Justice spokesman Chin Malin has stated that the decision of the WGAD is “not acceptable in a country with a rule of law.” He continued: “the fact is that the courts have investigated […] and found that the five people have bad intentions to commit a crime.”[4] This blatant disregard for both the ruling of an international body and for the presumption of innocence - underscores the need for the international community to step up their efforts to call out violations of international human rights law in Cambodia, and reject the RGC’s cynical invocation of the “rule of law” to defend the harassment and imprisonment of its political opponents and civil society.

While reports emerged in December 2016 suggesting that the release of all five human rights defenders was imminent, they remain in prison.[5] Meanwhile, the five have essentially been reduced to little more than political bargaining chips in an inherently political case.

The Anti-Corruption Unit (“ACU”), whose jurisdiction over the case has been questioned by many observers, including the WGAD, first questioned the five from 27 to 29 April 2016. The WGAD found the pre-trial procedure to violate a number of fair trial rights and criticized the ongoing and legally unjustified pre-trial detention. All five human rights defenders have been unsuccessful in a series of bail applications, despite no supporting evidence justifying their continued detention under Cambodian law.

Based on the procedural and investigatory failings outlined in its decision, the WGAD recommended the immediate release of the five, payment of compensation as a remedy for the human rights violations they have suffered, the initiation of an investigation into the various violations of their rights, and legislative amendments with a view to bringing Cambodia’s laws and practices into compliance with its international obligations.

We, the undersigned CSOs, condemn the failure of the Cambodian authorities to adhere to the recommendations of the WGAD to date. We reiterate our call for Cambodia to comply with its obligations under international human rights law through the prompt implementation of the WAGD’s recommendations, including ensuring the immediate release of the five human rights defenders. Further, we urge the international community to use all available opportunities to advocate for the implementation of the decision in their interactions with the RGC.

This joint statement is endorsed by:

No

Name of CSOs

Name

Contact

1

Alliance for Conflict Transformation (ACT)

Ms. Srey Sotheavy

017 990 371

2

Boeung Kak Community

Ms. Bov Sophea

085 462 222

3

Boeung Trabek Community

Mr. Khut Bunthan

012 214 237

4

Borei Keila Community

Ms. Chhay Kimhorn

017 522 303

5

Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR)

Ms. Chak Sopheap

011 943 213

6

Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC)

7

Cambodian Independent Teacher Association (CITA)

Ms. Ouk Chayavy

092 814 283

8

Cambodian League for the Promotion & Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO)

Mr. Thav Kimsan

012 807 763

9

Cambodian Youth Network (CYN)

Mr. Tim Malay

017 990 689

10

Coalition for Integrity and Social Accountability (CISA)

Mr. Him Yun

012 947 022

11

Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (COMFREL)

Mr. Koul Panha

012 942 017

12

Community Legal Education Center (CLEC)

Mr. Huon Chundy

012 942 326

13

Farmer Association for Peace and Development (FAPD)

Mr. Heng Cheoun

066 405 555

14

Gender and Development for Cambodia (GADC)

Ms. Ros Sopheap

012 627 857

15

Housing Rights Task Force (HRTF)

Mr. Sia Phearum

012 852 325

16

Independent Democratic Association of Informal Economic (IDEA)

Mr. Vorn Pao

012 534 796

17

International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), in the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders

Mr. Arthur Manet

+33 14 355 25 18

18

Kuoy Ethnic Community at Prame Commune, Preah Vihear Province

Ms. Nuon Mun

097 773 7549

19

Land Community, Village I, Sangkat III, Preah Sihanouk Province

Ms. Hang Chenda

012 680 435

20

Land Conflict Community, Krous Village, Battambang province

Ms. Lun Keila

078 726 723

21

Lor Peang Community, Kampong Chhnang Province

Ms. Um Sophy

078 705 936

22

Ponlok Khmer (PKH)

Mr. Ang Cheatlom

012 517 943

23

SOS International Airport Community

Ms. Chray Nim

016536 900

24

Strey Khmer Organization (SKO)

Ms. Arun Reaksmey

012 236 653

25

The World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), in the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders

Ms. Delphine Reculeau

+41 22 809 49 39

[1] Opinion No. 45/2016 of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention concerning Ny Sokha, Nay Vanda, Yi Soksan, Lim Mony, and Ny Chakrya http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/Detention/Opinions/Session77/A-HRC-WGAD-2016-45_en.pdf

[2] See Joint Press Release “CAMBODIA: In landmark decision, UN body declares the detention of five human rights defenders arbitrary #FreeThe5KH” (18 December 2016) http://bit.ly/2i4Ibxg

[3] WGAD Opinion No. 45/2016 at para. 2.

[4] Detentions ‘arbitrary’: UN, The Phnom Penh Post, 19 December 2016 http://www.phnompenhpost.com/national/detentions-arbitrary-un

[5] Optimism Over Release of ADHOC Prisoners Proves Premature, The Cambodia Daily, 2 January 2017 https://www.cambodiadaily.com/news/optimism-over-release-of-adhoc-prisoners-proves-premature-122819/ p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; text-align: center; font: 15.0px Calibri}p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; text-align: justify; font: 15.0px Calibri}p.p3 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; text-align: justify; font: 12.0px Calibri}p.p4 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; text-align: justify; font: 12.0px Calibri; color: #4787ff}p.p5 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; text-align: justify; font: 16.0px Cambria; min-height: 19.0px}p.p6 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica; min-height: 14.0px}p.p7 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica}span.s1 {color: #4787ff}span.s2 {color: #032de9}span.s3 {color: #000000}span.s4 {text-decoration: underline}table.t1 {width: 531.0px; margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 7.2px; border-collapse: collapse}td.td1 {width: 27.0px; border-style: solid; border-width: 1.0px 1.0px 1.0px 1.0px; border-color: #000000 #000000 #000000 #000000; padding: 0.0px 7.0px 0.0px 7.0px}td.td2 {width: 249.0px; border-style: solid; border-width: 1.0px 1.0px 1.0px 0.0px; border-color: #000000 #000000 #000000 transparent; padding: 0.0px 7.0px 0.0px 7.0px}td.td3 {width: 118.0px; border-style: solid; border-width: 1.0px 1.0px 1.0px 0.0px; border-color: #000000 #000000 #000000 transparent; padding: 0.0px 7.0px 0.0px 7.0px}td.td4 {width: 77.0px; border-style: solid; border-width: 1.0px 1.0px 1.0px 0.0px; border-color: #000000 #000000 #000000 transparent; padding: 0.0px 7.0px 0.0px 7.0px}td.td5 {width: 27.0px; border-style: solid; border-width: 0.0px 1.0px 1.0px 1.0px; border-color: transparent #000000 #000000 #000000; padding: 0.0px 7.0px 0.0px 7.0px}td.td6 {width: 249.0px; border-style: solid; border-width: 0.0px 1.0px 1.0px 0.0px; border-color: transparent #000000 #000000 transparent; padding: 0.0px 7.0px 0.0px 7.0px}td.td7 {width: 118.0px; border-style: solid; border-width: 0.0px 1.0px 1.0px 0.0px; border-color: transparent #000000 #000000 transparent; padding: 0.0px 7.0px 0.0px 7.0px}td.td8 {width: 77.0px; border-style: solid; border-width: 0.0px 1.0px 1.0px 0.0px; border-color: transparent #000000 #000000 transparent; padding: 0.0px 7.0px 0.0px 7.0px}

Sign up now

Subscribe to our latest news & alerts