Press ReleaseBan on non- violent demonstrations violates the Constitution
Cambodia Human Rights Action Committee (CHRAC)
March 20, 2003 - The Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee (CHRAC), a coalition of 18 local human rights NGOs, is opposed to the actions of the police and fly tiger police who prevented the Students of the Faculty of Law and Economics from conducting a non-violent demonstration to demand the release of the 4th year law Student Mr. Ken Sara from Prey Sar Prison.
The students planned to conduct the non-violent demonstration on March 20, 2003 in Phnom Penh, but they were forced to stop this activity because the police and “Fly Tigers” prevented the demonstrators from the leaving the Faculty campus, while human rights workers, and national and international journalists were banned from entering to cover the event.
According to a human rights group, the Government’s forces threatened to arrest the demonstrators, the human rights workers and the journalists and confine them in a truck if they continued their activities.
Mr. Ken Sara was arrested and put in Prey Sar Prison together with other students who were accused of being involved in the 29 January 2003 anti-Thai riots in Phnom Penh.
The CHRAC believes that the ban on demonstrating, the threats and the actions taken by the police and fly tiger police against the demonstrators, and the exclusion of the press and human rights workers from the event are violations of the Constitution of Cambodia article 37, stating that “ the rights to peacefully strike and demonstration shall be implemented in the framework of the law and article 41, stating that all Khmer Citizens have the freedoms of expression, the press ".
CHRAC appeals to all government authorities to let the people enjoy their full right to demonstrate, while journalists and human rights workers must be allowed to interview the demonstrators to ensure the free democratic process and the freedom of expression in Cambodia.
For more information, please contact:
• Mr. Chun Sath, Acting Chairperson of Action Committee tel: 016 939 368
• Mr. Ni Chakriya, tel: 023 218 653, 982 407, 012 920 730