Cambodia: Acts of Intimidation and harassment against Mr. Thun Ratha

19/06/2017
Urgent Appeal

KHM 001 / 0617 / OBS 065
Intimidation / Harassment
Cambodia
June 16, 2017

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH, requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Cambodia.

Brief description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) about acts of intimidation and harassment by local authorities against Mr. Thun Ratha, a member of the environmental rights organisation ‘Mother Nature’, following his participation in a peaceful protest opposing sand dredging in Sa-ang District, Kandal Province.

According to the information received, on June 11, 2017, Mr. Thun Ratha participated in a peaceful protest organised by affected villagers to oppose sand dredging by Leng Ching Company [1] in Sa-ang District, Kandal Province. Mr.Ratha had come to Sa-ang district to share his anti-sand dredging campaign experience with villagers and to prevent violation.

On the same day in the evening, Raka Khpos Commune Police Chief came to the house where Mr. Ratha was staying and asked to see his identity card. At 10.30pm, Koh Kor Village Chief, accompanied by around 10 police officers, returned to ask for Mr. Ratha’s identity card. Again, on the morning of June 12, 2017, around 20 police officers returned to ask for Mr. Ratha’s identity card. On each occasion Mr. Ratha refused to provide his identity card to the police, who told him that they wanted his ID “to ensure his security”.

The Observatory strongly condemns the acts of intimidation against Mr. Ratha, which only aim at punishing his legitimate human rights activities.

The Observatory recalls that several members of the organisation ‘Mother Nature’ have faced legal action and have been harassed and imprisoned for their campaigning against illicit sand dredging in Koh Kong Province [2]. The Observatory calls on the Cambodian authorities to put an end to all acts of harassment against Mr. Ratha and all human rights defenders in Cambodia.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Cambodia asking them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Thun Ratha as well as of all human rights defenders in Cambodia;

ii. Put an end to all forms of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Mr. Thun Ratha and all human rights defenders in the country so that they are able to carry out their work without hindrance;

iii. Comply with all the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9, 1998, in particular with its Articles 1 and 12.2;

iv. Guarantee the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and other international human rights instruments signed or ratified by the Kingdom of Cambodia.

Addresses:

·Mr. Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia. Fax: +855 23 360666 / 855 23 880624 (c/o Council of Ministers), Email: leewood_phu@nida.gov.kh / cppparty@gmail.com
·Mr. Sar Kheng, Minister of Interior and Deputy Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia. Fax: + 855 23 212708
·Mr. Ang Vong Vathna, Minister of Justice of the Kingdom of Cambodia. Fax: + 855 23 364 119
·Mr. Prak Sokhon, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Cambodia. Fax: + 855 23 216 144 / 855 23 216 141, Email: mfaic@mfa.gov.kh
·Mr. Keo Remy, President of the Cambodian Human Rights Committee, Fax: +855 12 81 37 81 / +855 23 21 11 62 or +855 23 88 10 45 (c/o Council of Ministers)
·Mr. Suon Visal, President of the Cambodian Bar Association, Fax: +855 23 864 076, Email: info@bakc.org.kh
·Ambassador Mr. Ney Samol, Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Cambodia to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: + 41 22 788 77 74, Email: camemb.gva@mfa.gov.kh

Please also write to the diplomatic representations of Cambodia in your respective countries.

***

Geneva-Paris, June 16, 2017

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH. The objective of this programme is to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. OMCT and FIDH are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29

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