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A call for action on Human Rights Day in Cambodia

IHRD celebration by members of the Boeng Kak land community, in Phnom Penh
IHRD celebration by members of the Boeng Kak land community, in Phnom Penh


(CCHR/IFEX) - Phnom Penh, 10 December 2012 - Today, 10 December 2012 - International Human Rights Day ("IHRD") - the Cambodian Center for Human Rights ("CCHR") calls for all Cambodians and donors alike to stand up for human rights in Cambodia. In light of the alarming deterioration of human rights since the start of 2012, today is an opportunity for poignant reflection and resolute determination. Communities must ask themselves how many more forced land evictions, illegal land grabs and extrajudicial killings they are willing to stomach. Civil society must ask itself how many more human rights defenders they are willing to see harassed, jailed or exiled. And donors must ask themselves how much more money they are willing to pour into a country where human rights are so evidently in freefall. After a year in which so much was expected, with Cambodia holding the ASEAN chair, now it is time to set fear and disillusionment aside, and to stand up for human rights.

CCHR therefore supports the IHRD celebrations that have been taking place over the weekend and that will continue today, in particular five communities which have been resolutely challenging human rights violations.

The purpose of these celebrations is to celebrate IHRD, disseminate and share ideas relating to human rights, and build solidarity among communities, so that they can continue and strengthen their advocacy. Such unity will only help their cause.

CCHR President Ou Virak comments:

"Land evictions, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, the independence of the judiciary, corruption, impunity for serious crimes, the illegal use of armed forces, illegal logging - these are all huge human rights issues at the moment. Without any political will to change, it is up to the Cambodian people and the donors. Cambodian people must own up to their responsibility to protect the human rights of all people, especially the most vulnerable. And donors - and Western taxpayers - should think seriously about where their money is going, and what they can do to change things. International Human Rights Day 2012 should give everyone cause to think - and act accordingly."

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