Logo of Friend of Decemer 10th.
Thousands Set to Mark International Human Rights Day in
Phnom Penh, December 8, 2012- Nearly 62,000 Cambodians will
gather on Dec. 8, 9 & 10 to mark International Human Rights Day (IHRD) - including hundreds who will convene another day in front of the National
Assembly in Phnom Penh to present petitions to the country's lawmakers.
The National Assembly gathering will be the final event in a
series of celebrations designed to highlight this year's IHRD theme "We All
Need Justice & Freedom!" The exact date of the gathering will be announced
shortly after IHRD on Dec. 10. Organizers plan to present hundreds of petitions
to the National Assembly at the conclusion of the event. The signatures express
support for a collection of petitions organized under three major rights
themes: land, labor, human rights & democracy.
Organizers will also present the Assembly with nearly 40,000
signatures gathered by Amnesty International - sent by supporters from Germany,
France, South Korea and New Zealand - calling for an end to forced evictions in
Cambodia. The supporters also sent thousands of messages for affected
communities, human rights defenders and activists. The messages include
drawings by children, inspiring words, thumbprints and handprints.
The Amnesty International petitions and support messages
will be carried to the Assembly in creative ways, some hung as "leaves" on
replica sacred Bodhi trees and others dangling from traditional bamboo poles
slung over the shoulders of participants.
"IHRD should be a fun & festive event - it's a
celebration of our rights, our hopes for the future and our vision for
society," said Tim Malay, President of Cambodian Youth Network (CYN). "But at
the same time, it also draws attention to a very serious issue: The fact is
that the human rights situation in Cambodia has taken a very disturbing turn in
the past year."
An additional 198 events in 23 provinces are planned prior
to the Dec. 14 event. Participants will include community groups, trade
unionists, land activists, students, farmers, fishermen, musicians, entertainment
workers, tuk tuk drivers, motorcycle drivers and NGO workers.
The gatherings will mark the achievements made to advance
human rights in Cambodia, but will also focus on critical issues still facing
Cambodian citizens, particularly the exploitation of land and natural
resources, labor abuses and the need for a legitimate democracy.
"Land and labor, in particular, have emerged as the most
pressing human rights issues in Cambodia today," said Vorn Pao, President of
Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association (IDEA). "Land and labor
also form the foundation of peoples' livelihoods - they are at the core of any
society. When there is no justice in these sectors, there is no justice in any
"Immediately releasing all imprisoned human rights defenders
would be a good start toward improving the human rights environment in
Cambodia," said Pilorge Naly, Director of LICADHO. "And there is no better time
to do it than during IHRD celebrations."
IHRD is celebrated worldwide every year on December 10 as a
reminder of the enduring human rights struggles which continue to affect people
around the world. IHRD bears witness to and highlights pervasive human rights
abuses and serves as standing call for action against abuses everywhere. 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.
All of the celebrations are tied together with the common
theme "We All Need Justice & Freedom!" and a common symbol the
blue Kramar to represent the important role of human rights defenders in
Cambodia. The events are organized by Friends of December 10th, an informal
group of human rights defenders working to support and assist local initiatives
to celebrate IHRD throughout Cambodia.
Media are invited to attend the IHRD celebrations. Please
contact event organizers listed for more information on individual IHRD events
in Phnom Penh and 23 provinces.
For more information, please contact:
Mr. Vorn Pao, President of Independent Democracy of Informal
Economy Association (IDEA) at 012 534 796 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr. Sar Mora, President of Cambodian Food Service Workers
Federation (CFSWF) at 016 525 781 or
Mr. Yeng Virak, Executive Director of Community Legal
Education Center (CLEC) at 012 801 235
Ms.Pilorge Naly, Director of Cambodian League for the
Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO) at 012 803 650 or