Group calls for UN scrutiny over land grabs

Source : Khmer Times

Rhona Smith, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Cambodia. KT/ Mai Vireak

A global coalition of grassroots groups has called on the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Cambodia to look into cases of land grabbing allegedly perpetrated by the state prior as part of her review of the human rights situation in the Kingdom.

The People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty in a statement said that thousands of people from various provinces were mobilised on November 6 to submit petitions to various government institutions in the capital, but were blocked by the authorities.

PCFS said the groups were blocked as UN rights envoy Rhona Smith was in the country meeting with government officials to discuss Sustainable Development Goals.

The gatherings were led by the Coalition of Cambodian Farmers Community, a member of the PCFS.

“We are enraged that people were denied their right to express themselves, assemble and raise their grievances to the government,” said PCFS co-chair Sylvia Mallari. “The reasons cited by Cambodian authorities, such as disruption of public order, are unacceptable.”

The PCFS said Ms Smith should look into the revival of charges against community leaders in Preah Vihear, where four activists are being accused of incitement to prevent development.

It noted that the four activists were summoned to court on November 5 to be questioned about the case that occurred in 2014.



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