Press ReleaseInternational Human Rights Day Dec 10, 2010: "We all need justice and sustainable livelihood!"
December 10, 2010 - More than 20,000 Cambodians from communities and other civil society groups around the country, including trade unionists, students, farmers, fishermen, musicians, youths, entertainment workers, tuk tuk drivers, motorcycle drivers and NGO workers, will celebrate International Human Rights Day (IHRD) in their communities this year.
These celebrations are tied together with the common theme "We All Need Justice and Sustainable Livelihood!" and a common symbol ‐ the blue Kramar to represent the important role of human rights defenders in Cambodia.
Initiatives from civil society groups will mark the achievements made in human rights in Cambodia, but also focus on critical issues still facing the country's citizens - including exploitation of land and natural resources; restrictions to the freedoms of expression, association and assembly; and violations of labor rights.
IHRD is celebrated every year on 10 December as a reminder of the enduring human rights struggles which continue to affect societies and communities around the world. IHRD bears witness to and highlights pervasive human rights abuses as well as standing as a call for action. The celebration of IHRD also marks an opportunity for civil society, governments, international organizations and citizens themselves to highlight their efforts in securing recognition and observance of human rights principles.
Sample IHRD celebrations on 10 December, 2010
- More than 500 villagers and fishery communities will gather in Kang Sav village to hold boat race and release balloons in Phat Sanday commune in Kampong Thom province.
- More than 1,000 motorcycle drivers, tuk tuk drivers, sellers, waiters and waitress will participate in a street march and a round table discussion on human right issues which will air on radio in Siem Reap province.
- More than 200 villagers will participate in a public forum on safe migration in Bantey Meanchey province.
- More than 250 people will hold public discussion on HR issues and show videos on HR in Laang District, Kampot province.
- More than 50 students will gather in Cambodian Youth Network office in Phnom Penh and ride bicycles to Chbar Ampov Bridge, Independence Monument and Freedom Park, distribute leaflets to villagers and submit a letter on youth issues to the National Assembly in Phnom Penh city.
- More than 50 family members, farmers, union leaders, students, artists and NGO workers will bring packages of food and material to 38 human rights defenders detained in Phnom Penh and 6 provincial prisons.
- More than 700 people including local villagers, students, military police, district governor, local authorities and other guest speakers will participate in a IHRD event in Snoul district in Kratie province.
- More than 200 tuk tuk and motorcycle drivers will march and drive together in Sihanoukville town.
- More than 1,000 people will participate in a concert and performance which will be organized by Youth's Messengers in Siem Reap town.
"Cambodia's constitution guarantees the right to freedom of expression and association, both of which are fundamental to a vibrant democracy," said Vorn Pao, President of Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association (IDEA). "Without the freedom to express ourselves, the government cannot understand our hopes and desires, and the goal of justice becomes an illusion."
"Justice must be accessible to the poor and marginalized, and the law must be applied fairly to all including the rich and powerful," said Naly Pilorge, Director of Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO). "The poorest farmer has the same rights as the richest businessman." Naly adds "Cambodia's courts are failing to provide justice to numerous victims of human rights abuses on a daily basis; real reforms of the courts, to strengthen their independence and professionalism and to eliminate corruption, are desperately needed."
"We welcome development but not at the expense of the poor," says Yeng Virak, Executive Director of Community Legal Education Center (CLEC). "There must be an end to forced evictions, and there must be government policies which ensure and enable participation and rights to information, expression and movement for everyone."
Friends of December 10th is an informal group of individuals working to support and assist local initiates to celebrate International Human Right Day throughout Cambodia.
News media are invited to attend the December 10th celebrations and contact focal persons listed for individual activities held areas in Phnom Penh and provinces.