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Jan-22-2014 11:04printcomments

Stop the Violence: A Call for Release, Investigation and Reparation

Human Rights Ambassador for, William Nicholas Gomes, joined 183 organizations condemning the use of armed force and escalating violence against the Cambodian people.

Human Rights Ambassador William Nicholas Gomes
Human Rights Ambassador William Nicholas Gomes

(WASHINGTON, DC) - We, the Cambodian and International Civil Society Organizations represented in this statement, condemn the use of armed force and escalating violence against the Cambodian people. At the start of 2014, following three weeks of peaceful demonstrations in Phnom Penh, tensions increased dramatically as authorities brutally cracked down on garment factory workers, who were demonstrating for a minimum wage of USD 160 per month. The garment industry, which represents 80 % of Cambodia’s export earnings is well established and internationally significant, producing clothes for many well-known global brands, such as Levis®, H&M, Gap, Puma and others.

On the 3rd January 2014, four civilians were shot dead by military forces, at least 39 people were injured, including a 17 year old boy and a pregnant woman, and thirteen more men were arrested near Canadia Industrial Park on Veng Sreng road, Phnom Penh. The previous day, during clashes between security forces and striking workers in front of Yak Jin factory on National Road 4, ten men were arrested by the Military Special Command Unit 911. Those arrested included the human rights defender and President of the Independent and Democracy of Informal Economic Association (IDEA) Vorn Pao, Theng Savoeun from the Coalition of Cambodian Farmer Community (CCFC), Chan Puthisak from the Boeung Kak Community. In total, 23 people were arrested by armed forces. Some of the detainees were badly beaten and left without access to needed medical treatment for several days.

All arrested appeared before Phnom Penh Municipal Court on 3rd and 4th January and were charged under Articles 218 and 414 of the Penal Code (intentional violence with aggravating circumstances and intentional damage with aggravating circumstances). The Royal Government of Cambodia then de facto suspended the Cambodian Constitutional Rights of Freedom of Assembly, Association and Peaceful Demonstration as guaranteed in Articles 37 and 41.

We insist that the Royal Government of Cambodia:

  • Release the 23 detainees immediately without any conditions;
  • Form an independent investigation committee to find those responsible for this violence;
  • Ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice without delay and provide redress to those injured and to the families of the people killed;
  • Stop the use of violence and excessive force, as well as the arbitrary arrest of civilians and instead ensure the protection of the residents of Cambodia;
  • Restore and respect the Cambodian Constitution and domestic law as well as all ratified international human rights instruments, including the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Royal Government of Cambodia must ensure the implementation of democracy and human rights in all its actions.

According to monitors, the clash started when the authorities used electric batons toward the protestors, who then replied by throwing stones. In response, the military used disproportionate force by firing live ammunitions in the crowd.

The use of military soldiers to defend private businesses and crackdown on civilian protests is excessive, and the use of security guards and plain-clothes forces to arrest and detain civilians is illegal. Live ammunitions, sling shots, tear gas, electric batons, metal sticks and the display of excessive force must never be used against civilians who, by law, are entitled to exercise their fundamental rights. The use of any state force must strictly follow the principles of legality, necessity and proportionality, and the demonstrations must comply at all time with international standards in maintaining public order.

We strongly condemn the use of brutally excessive force, arbitrary arrests, killings and inhumane treatment by the Cambodian authorities.

We appeal to the international community to take action on this inhumane treatment on Cambodian citizens.

We also urge that members of Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia (GMAC) drop legal actions against garment unions.

As a matter of priority, we encourage international embassy staff to visit the detainees in prison to ensure their wellbeing. We call on the International Textile Companies to consider the demand of the garment workers to obtain an increase of monthly wages and improvement of their working conditions. We, the 184 undersigned Civil Society Organizations, believe that violence against citizens is never acceptable.

This statement is endorsed by the following Cambodian and International Civil Society Organizations:

  2. A141Skun community (Siem Reap)
  3. Action Aid
  4. Action for Environment and Community (AEC)
  5. Advocacy and Policy Institute (API)
  6. Alliance Action for Rural Restoration Organization (AARR)
  7. Anlung Treng community (Kompong Som)
  8. ASEAN services Employees Trade Union council
  9. ASEAN Youth Assembly (AYA)
  10. ASEAN Youth Council (AYC) - Myanmar
  11. ASEAN Youth Movement (AYM) - Myanmar
  12. Asia Pacific Research Network (APRN)
  13. Asia Pacific Solidarity Coalition (APSOC)
  14. Asian Muslim Action Network ( AMAN) Indonesia
  15. Banteay Srei
  16. Boat People SOS
  17. Bread for the World
  18. Buddhism for Social Development Action (BSDA)
  19. Buddhism Foundation For Community Development (BFCD)
  20. Building Community Voices (BCV)
  21. Burma Pastuership (BP)
  22. C E Pram 5 community (Kompong Som)
  23. CamASEAN Youth Future (CamASEAN)
  24. Cambodia Indigenous Youth Association (CIYA)
  25. Cambodia Organization to Promote Kui Culture (OPKC)
  26. Cambodia Women Crisis Center (CWCC)
  27. Cambodian Center for Independent Media (CCIM)
  28. Cambodian Defender Project (CDP)
  29. Cambodian Food and Service Worker Federation (CFSWF)
  30. Cambodian HIV/AIDS Education and Care (CHEC)
  31. Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee (CHRAC)
  32. Cambodian Human Rights Task Force (CHRTF)
  33. Cambodian Independent Teacher Association (CITA)
  34. Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO)
  35. Cambodian Men Network (CMN)
  36. Cambodian Organization for Children and Development (COCD)
  37. Cambodian Rural Development Team (CRDT)
  38. Cambodian Volunteers for Society (CVS)
  39. Cambodian Youth Network (CYN)
  40. Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC)
  41. Cambodian Labour Confederation (CLC)
  42. Center for Labor Rights of Cambodia (CLARI)
  43. Chapter - 8 - Myanmar
  44. Chi Kreng community (Siem Reap)
  45. Children and Life Association (CLA)
  46. Childwise Cambodia
  47. Christian for Social Justice (CSJ)
  48. Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers's Democratic Union (C.CAWDU)
  49. Coalition of Cambodian Farmer's Community (CCFC)
  50. Coalition to Abolish Modern-day Slavery in Asia (CAMSA)
  51. Coastal Fisherfolk Network (Kampot, Kep, Kompong Som, Koh Kong)
  52. Committee to Promote Women in Politics (CPWP)
  53. Community Capacities for Development (CCD)
  54. Community Legal Education Center (CLEC)
  55. Community Organization for People's Action (COPA)
  56. Community Peace-Building Network (CPN)
  57. Cooperation Committee for Cambodia (CCC)
  58. DanChurchAid/ChristianAid (DCA/CA)
  60. Development and Peace
  61. Development for People of Cambodia (DPC)
  62. Diakonia
  63. East West Management Institute (EWMI)
  64. Empowering Youth in Cambodia (EYC)
  65. Equitable Cambodia (EC)
  66. Farmer Community Network Kampot
  67. Farmer Community Network Takeo
  68. Farmer Nature Network (FNN)
  69. Finn Church Aid / Asia
  70. Forum Syd
  71. Four Regions Slum Network (FRSN)
  72. Free Trade Union of Worker of Cambodia (FTUWC)
  73. GABRIELA Philippines
  74. Gender and Development for Cambodia (GAD/C)
  75. HEKS
  76. Highlanders Association-Ratanakiri (HA-RTK)
  77. Housing Rights Task Force (HRTF)
  78. Human Rights Ambassador for, UK
  79. Human Rights Defenders and Promoters Network (HRDP)
  80. Human Settlement Foundation (HSF)
  81. Inclusive Development International (IDI)
  82. Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association(IDEA)
  83. Independent Monk for Justice and Peace Network (IMNSJ)
  84. Indigenous Community Support Organization (ICSO)
  85. Indonesian Human Rights Monitor (IHRM)
  86. Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID)
  87. Interfaith Youth Coalition on AIDS in Myanmar (IYCA-Myanmar)
  88. International NGO Forum on Indonesia Development
  89. International Volunteers of Yamagata (IVY)
  90. Investing in Children and their Societies (ICS)
  91. K'bal Hong community (Kompong Som)
  92. Kdei Karuna
  93. Kepa (Finnish NGO platform and an expert organisation working with global development issues)
  94. Khlaing Leu community (Kompong Som)
  95. Khmer Ahimsa (KAH)
  96. Khmer Akphiwat Khmer Organization (KAKO)
  97. Khmer Association For Development Of Country-side Cambodia (KAFDOC)
  98. Khmer Civilization Foundation (KCF)
  99. Khmer Institute for National Development (KIND)
  100. Khmer Kampuchea Krom For Human Rights and Development Association (KKKHRDA)
  101. Khmer Youth and Social Development (KYSD)
  102. Khmer Youth Association (KYA)
  103. Korean Missionary Society (KOMISO)
  104. Land Communities Network (Kandal)
  105. Leaders and Organizers of Community Organizations in Asia (LOCOA)
  106. Legal Support for Children and Women (LSCW)
  108. Life with Dignity (LWD)
  109. MARUAH( Working Group for ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism, Singapore)
  110. Messenger Band (United Sisterhood)
  111. MIT - Myanmar
  112. Mlup Baitong
  113. Monitoring Evaluation & Research Institute (MERI)
  114. Morodok
  115. My Village
  116. Network of the Councils of Mekong Tambon Community Organization in Thailand’s 7 Northeastern Provinces
  117. Neutral & Impartial Committee for Free & Fair Elections in Cambodia (NICFEC)
  118. New Hope Cambodia (NHC)
  119. NGO Coalition on the Rights of the Child (NGOCRC)
  120. NGO Education Partnership (NEP)
  121. NGO Forum on Cambodia (NGOF)
  122. NGO Gender Group (NGOGG) - Myanmar
  123. Northeastern People Council (NPC) - Thailand
  124. Northeastern People's Network to Protect their Native Land (NNPNL) - Thailand
  125. Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA)
  126. O Kampuchea community (Kompong Som)
  127. Oral Network (Kompong Speu)
  128. Oxfam
  129. PACT
  130. Partnership for Development in Kampuchea (PADEK)
  131. People Action for Change (PAC)
  132. People Center for Development and Peace (PDP)
  133. People in Need-Cambodia
  134. People’s Forum on Cambodia (PEFOC, J)
  135. Phnom Kouk Network (Kompong Chnang, Pursat)
  136. Ponleu Ney Kdey Sangkhum (PNKS)
  137. Ponlok Khmer
  138. Prek Trey community (Kompong Som)
  139. Riverkids Foundation
  140. Sahmakum Teang Tnaut (STT)
  141. Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (SDIA)
  142. Shwe Has Momyt (SHM) - Myanmar
  143. SILAKA
  144. Sna Sangkream community (Siem Reap)
  145. Snoul community (Kratie)
  146. Social Action for Change (United Sisterhood)
  147. Spean Che community (Kompong Som)
  148. STAR Kampuchea (SK)
  149. Strey Khmer (SK)
  150. Sugar Justice Network (Kompong Speu, Koh Kong, Oddar Meanchey)
  151. Tabaing Keut community (Siem Reap)
  152. Tabaing Lech community (Siem Reap)
  153. Taiwan Association for Human Rights (TAHR)
  154. Taksvarkki ry (ODW Finland)
  155. Tani community (Siem Reap)
  156. Tapaen community (Siem Reap)
  157. Terre des Hommes Germany
  158. Thai Poor Act (TPA)
  159. The Cambodian Center for the Protection of Children’s Rights ( CCPCR)
  160. The Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (COMFREL)
  161. Think Centre - Singapore
  162. Tonle Sap Network
  163. Towards Ecological Recovery and Regional Alliance (TERRA)
  164. Transparency International (TI)
  165. Urban Poor Women Development (UPWD)
  166. Veal Chanty community (Kompong Som)
  167. Volunteer for Sustainable Development (VSD)
  168. Welthungerhilfe
  169. WomanHealth Philippines
  170. Women Corp of Indonesian Moslem Student Movement (KOPRI)
  171. Women Peace Maker (WPM)
  172. Women's Legal and Human Rights Bureau (WLB) - Philippines
  173. Women's Network for Unity (United Sisterhood)
  174. Women's Organizations Network of Myanmar (WON)
  175. Woment's Media Center of Cambodia
  176. Worker Hub for Chane
  177. Worker's Information Centre (United Sisterhood) 178. Working Group for Partnerships in Decentralisation (WGPD)
  178. Working Group for Peace (WGP)
  179. World Renew
  180. Yayasan LINTAS NUSA - Batam - Indonesia
  181. Youth Council of Cambodia (YCC)
  182. Youth For Peace (YFP)
  183. Youth Resource Development Program (YRDP)



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