World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Cambodia: LRW And ALRC Denounce Attacks Against HRDS

date: September 25, 2012
document id: ALRC-COS-21-08-2012
HRC section: Item 10, Cambodia
speaker: Vani Selvarajah

A Joint Oral Statement to the 21st Session of the UN Human Rights Council from Lawyers' Rights Watch Canada (LRWC), a non-governmental organization in special consultative status, and Asian Legal Resource Centre, (ALRC), a nongovernmental organization in general consultative status

Cambodia: LRW And ALRC Denounce Attacks Against Hrds And Problems With Judicial Independence

Madame President:

Lawyers Rights Watch Canada and Asian Legal Resource Centre welcomes the report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia1. We share his view that freedom of expression is a principal concern. Cambodian human rights defenders and journalists regularly experience judicial harassment and violence for upholding human rights, particularly in land rights cases. The trend is alarming and escalating. After the incidents noted in reports of the Special Rapporteur and the Secretary General2, dubious charges were filed against three human rights defenders in August and September 20123.

On 11 September 2012, a journalist covering environmental issues was murdered after exposing illegal logging4. Cambodian authorities and judiciary cannot be counted on for impartial investigations or trials.

We applaud the Special Rapporteur's promotion of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights,5 as business enterprises and authorities are frequently involved in human rights violations,6 This and other human rights education is crucial to ensure that public officials are aware of their obligation to encourage civil society human rights training efforts, rather than disrupting them as occurred on 26 July 2012, when armed officials interrupted land rights training of two human rights organizations.

The Special Rapporteur notes continued problems with independence of the judiciary and impunity. He is further concerned about the Government's lack of stated commitment to a time frame and action plan to implement his recommendations for the judiciary. Years of such foot-dragging has contributed to the lack of independence and corruption of judges, prosecutors, court officials and lawyers, whose integrity is crucial to ending the climate of impunity in Cambodia.

We note the OHCHR work with the Cambodian Bar to ensure international human rights perspectives in reviews of the Law on the Bar and Code of Professional Conduct. LRWC would be interested in learning more about future plans to encourage the independence and integrity of Cambodia’s legal profession.

Thank you, Madame President



1 Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia, Surya P. Subedi, Human Rights Council, A/HRC/21/63, 16 July 2012,
2 The role and achievements of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in assisting the Government and people of Cambodia in the promotion and protection of human rights: Report of the Secretary-GeneralA/HRC/21/35, 20 August, 2012,
3 In August 2012, ADHOC human rights worker, Mr. Chan Soveth, was charged with "providing assistance to the perpetrator" of a "crime" under Article 544 of the Cambodian Penal Code. On 4 September 2012, land rights activist, Ms.Yorm Bopha, was arrested and charged with "intentional violence with aggravating circumstances" under Article 218 of the Cambodian Penal Code. Ms. Bopha states she was not present at the scene of the alleged violence. On 5 September, 2012, land rights activist, Ms. Tim Sakmony, was arrested and charged with making a "false declaration to a public body for the purpose of obtaining an allowance, a payment or any unlawful advantage" under Article 633 of the Cambodian Penal Code after the owner of developer, Phanimex Company, complained she made a "false declaration" in a request that Phanimex compensate her disabled son after failingto provide him with an apartment after his January 2012 eviction from Borei Keila.
4 The body of Mr. Hang Serei Oudom, a reporter for the Vorakchun Khmer Daily was found on 11 September in his car at a cashew nut plantation in Ratanakiri province. The Director-General of UNESCO has called for an investigation. See 5 Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: Implementing the United Nations "Protect, Respect and Remedy" Framework,
6 Abuses in 2012 are outlined in a joint statement by LRWC and Asian Legal Resource Centre made at the 20th Session of the Human Rights Council, , 21 June 2012,

# # #

About the ALRC: The Asian Legal Resource Centre is an independent regional non-governmental organisation holding general consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. It is the sister organisation of the Asian Human Rights Commission. The Hong Kong-based group seeks to strengthen and encourage positive action on legal and human rights issues at the local and national levels throughout Asia.

Visit our new website with more features at

You can make a difference. Please support our work and make a donation here.


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


UN: As COVID Deaths Pass Two Million Worldwide, Guterres Warns Against Self-Defeating ‘Vaccinationalism'

With more than two million lives now lost worldwide to COVID-19, the UN Secretary-General appealed on Friday for countries to work together and help each other to end the pandemic and save lives. In a video statement , Secretary-General António Guterres ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Washington Riot And The Georgia Results

Hong Kong and Washington DC. On the same morning, the tyrants in power in Beijing and their counterpart in the White House have shown how they refuse to accept the legitimacy of any different points of view, and the prospect of losing power… More>>

UN: Guterres To Seek Second Five-year Term
António Guterres will be seeking a second five-year term as UN Secretary-General, which would begin in January 2022.... More>>

UN Rights Office: Iran Execution Of Child Offender Breaks International Law

The execution of an Iranian man for a crime allegedly committed when he was 16 years old has been condemned by the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) and raised concerns over violations of his right to a fair trial. In a statement released on Thursday, ... More>>