More Determined Than Ever

Minutes after arrest. MU Sochua holding up 7 , symbol of the opposition-AP picture

Minutes after arrest. MU Sochua holding up 7 , symbol of the opposition-AP picture

24.07.2014

After Jailing, Mu Sochua ‘More Determined’
by Men Kimseng, VOA Khmer

A Cambodian lawmaker from the main opposition party of Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) Mu Sochua, center, gestures to make the number seven, the party’s ballot number, before being detained by authorities at Freedom Park, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Tuesday, July 15, 2014. Three lawmakers from the opposition CNRP were detained and sent to police headquarters for leading about a hundred of their supporters to demonstrate in front of the park, asking authorities to open the site to the public. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)
A Cambodian lawmaker from the main opposition party of Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) Mu Sochua, center, gestures to make the number seven, the party’s ballot number, before being detained by authorities at Freedom Park, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Tuesday, July 15, 2014. Three lawmakers from the opposition CNRP were detained and sent to police headquarters for leading about a hundred of their supporters to demonstrate in front of the park, asking authorities to open the site to the public. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

Mu Sochua, the outspoken lawmaker of the opposition who just spent a week in jail, says she is going to continue pushing for democratic reforms in Cambodia.
“I’m not intimidated by arrest,” she told “Hello VOA” on Wednesday. “Instead, my will to defend the people and fight for democracy is even sharper and more determined.”
Mu Sochua has led a series of non-violent demonstrations outside Freedom Park in Phnom Penh since the government enacted a ban on public assembly in January.
One of those protests turned violent last week, when her supporters turned on city security guards who had again barred them entry into the park and, witnesses say, provoked demonstrators.

Mu Sochua and seven other members of the Cambodia National Rescue Party subsequently were arrested and charged with insurrection and incitement of violence, charges that remain, despite their release earlier this week.

Mu Sochua says the guards beat the protesters, too. “We never incite, never endorse violence,” she said Wednesday.
After their arrest, she said, the seven lawmakers and her assistant were held in handcuffs overnight, allowed to rest only on a chair. They were later charged with crimes that carry up to 30 years in prison.

Mu Sochua said her time in jail demonstrates many flaws in the system.
“If we don’t reform our judicial system, we won’t be able to solve this big national issue,” she said. “We cannot address this issue of impunity. Those who beat others will go free, and those who order the attack can still go free, and Cambodia then will plunge into bloodshed.”
She and the other prisoners were released late Tuesday, following a political deal between Prime

Minister Hun Sen and Rescue Party President Sam Rainsy. Electoral reform and high-ranking seats in the National Assembly were also part of the agreement.
Some supporters have expressed frustration with the deal, but Mu Sochua says it will allow the opposition to protect people from the National Assembly.
“Give us time to do the work before you pass judgment,” she said.

The Power of Women’s Networks

Released fro  jail

Released fro jail

Thanks to social media

http://www.forbes.com/sites/tomwatson/2014/07/22/cambodian-civil-rights-leader-freed-did-network-effect-help-her-cause/

Bogus Charges Must Be Dropped

The first 3 lawmakers arrested on 15 July,2014 at Freedom Park The first 3 lawmakers to be arrested on 15 July,2014 at Freedom Park[/capti

The call for dropping of the charges

http://www.vitalvoices.org/blog/2014/07/release-mu-sochua

A LETTER FROM PREY SAR PRISON

FREEDOM 2

REBUILDING A DIVIDED NATION

I am free tonight and i thank all who have poured out all the support and took action for my release and the release of my other 7 colleagues.

This letter was drafted while in prison last night. The power went off and the rain drops entered our cell.

i am now catching up on what i missed in the past 7 days while in pre-trial detention.

The Phnom Penh Post on 16 July, 2014

“Tables Violently Turn
” is the front page headline with a half=page picture of a security guard with a bloody head. He is down on the ground. He is in pain. I feel his pain. His blood is of Khmer blood, same as mine. I will continue to call for peaceful protest and will continue to condemn violence.

Cambodia must stop being a divided nation. We must find peaceful solutions for real democracy, respect for human rights, for freedoms and for liberties of our citizens. Our grand mission is to build national reconciliation and prosperity that is sustainable and that does not further widen the haves from the have nots.

In Prey Sar notorious prison in the outskirts of Phnom Penh, I shared my life behind bars with five hundred other women who open my eyes to a justice system that is rotten to the core. I heard women cry out for justice, even if they recognize the crime they committed. Each and everyone of them had to pay those in the justice system who set the price tag for each step of the court process. It all begins at the police station at the time of the arrest, with or without court order, to paying for a small privilege in Prey Sar Prison. many remain in pre-trial detention over the legal time limit.

There is no peace without justice. There is no human rights without freedoms of speech and of assembly.

My campaign since April to “free, Freedom Park” lead to violence to our arrest and to a high level summit to end the 12-month political deadlock. Today the top leaders from the ruling party and the opposition reached an agreement based upholding national interest. A deal is made that has allowed the 55 Cambodia National Rescue Party to claim our seats in parliament in the next few days.

A new chance to build true democracy for the Cambodian people is opening up once again. let us not forget that by signing the deal the top leaders have committed to make it known to the nation that they can be held responsible and accountable to their acts. the work has just begun. The road to peace is still far ahead.

Much more is to be done to build democratic governance.Let us begin with checks and balances and with true reforms. Our obligation to the people is their fair share of power, therefore building a strong and dynamic civil society is a crucial part of our mission We must learn to live side by side and to accept the differences rather then to paint each other with colors. We must end the culture of impunity, corruption, nepotism, clientelism and solidly establish rule of law.

I am willing to accept the out-pouring sense of “betrayal” by our supporters when they heard the result of the negotiation. They misunderstood that CNRP is now “sleeping with the devil?’

We must not forget that we have chosen a very long and winding road and we must agree to disagree and we must learn the rules of noon-violence training to guaranty non-violence .

.

Going Back to Freedom Park – The Fight for Constitutional Rights and Freedoms

Maina Kiai unofficial visit to Cambodia

Maina Kiai unofficial visit to Cambodia


“The right to freedom of assembly is about preserving pluralism, and pluralism is essential in a democracy. We might not always agree with what a person or a group says, but we must defend their right to say it,” said Kiai, who paid an unofficial visit to Cambodia in February when the ban was in place.

http://www.phnompenhpost.com/national/un-envoy-hits-out-freedom-park-cutoff

CNRP MPs-elect to be at Freedom Park
Tuesday 15 July, 2014
8.30am

“Free, Freedom Park” symbol will be launched as a public and national campaign to end the ban on Freedom Park.

We demand the release of the government report of the investigation of the violent crackdown in front of Canadia Industrial Park and the lifting of the unjustifiable ban of Freedom Park.

Free, Freedom Park

20140626-044846.jpg

The Troubling State of Human Rights

US lawmakers criticize Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar

WASHINGTON (AP) — Lawmakers reviewed the “troubling” state of human rights in Southeast Asia on Wednesday and stiffly criticized Vietnam and Cambodia. But they reserved some of their toughest words for Myanmar, demanding an end to U.S. concessions to its quasi-civilian government.
The Republican chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Ed Royce, likened conditions faced by minority Muslims in western Myanmar to concentration camps. A Democratic lawmaker questioned whether there were signs of genocide.
The hearing indicated congressional goodwill toward Myanmar’s government has been exhausted, and criticism of the Obama administration’s forward-leaning engagement policy has intensified.
Royce pronounced the outlook for human rights in Southeast Asia, a region of 620 million people, as “very troubling.” The committee’s top-ranking Democrat Eliot Engel said that as the U.S. looks to deepen its strategic interests in the region, promoting rights “is the right thing to do and it’s also the smart thing to do.”
While no lawmakers mentioned Wednesday’s presidential election in Indonesia that the White House lauded as sign of its maturing democracy, the seven congressmen who spoke found plenty to criticize in region. They took aim at suppression of dissent and religious freedom in Vietnam, the strong-arm tactics of Cambodia’s leader Hun Sen, and the military takeover in Thailand.
Conservative and rights advocate, Republican Rep. Chris Smith, said, “Vietnam is in a race to the bottom with the likes of China and even North Korea.” He criticized the leader of the Democratic-led Senate for failing to allow a vote on a bill that has repeatedly passed the House and would impose sanctions on Vietnamese officials complicit in rights abuses.
On Cambodia, Engel said the ruling party of Hun Sen, who has led the country for almost three decades, has tightened its “chokehold” on the media, silenced human rights advocates and failed to stop illegal land grabs. Royce said the ballot count in last year’s flawed national elections was “truly preposterous.”
Former senior State Department rights official, Lorne Craner, recommended that the U.S. avoid high-level contacts with Cambodia’s government until it resolves its dispute with the main opposition bloc which is boycotting parliament as it presses its demand for an independent investigation into election irregularities.
Democratic Rep. David Cicilline joined several lawmakers in condemning the treatment of Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims. Some 140,000 Rohingya have been displaced and corralled in camps after bearing the brunt of vicious outbreaks of sectarian violence involving majority Buddhists, while tens of thousands more have fled the country.
He questioned whether there was an “element of genocide in the attacks against the Rohingya population.” Rights advocate and former Democratic congressman Tom Andrews, who has visited the strife-hit Rakhine State, testified he thought there was, and that attacks were systematic and done with the support of the government.
Myanmar dismisses that notion, and President Thein Sein has vowed serious actions against perpetrators of sectarian violence. But amid fears of rising nationalism ahead of 2015 elections, the former general has also recently been criticized by the State Department for proposing discriminatory legislation, including possible criminalization of interfaith marriage.
Royce demanded an immediate cessation of nascent U.S. military-to-military cooperation with Myanmar until the persecution of minorities ends, and his Democratic counterpart echoed the desire for a more circumspect outreach to the country also known as Burma, which has been rewarded with rapid sanctions relief and massive aid in the past two years.
“We need to see real progress from Burma’s leaders on these human rights issues before we provide the military-led government with any further concessions,” Engel said.

Real Danger in the Adoption of the New Judicial Laws

Police crackdown on protesting workers - 3 January, 2014

Police crackdown on protesting workers – 3 January, 2014

Who suffers and will continue to be victims of a controlled justice system:

http://www.phnompenhpost.com/video/garment-worker-crackdown-six-months

There will never be justice till there is real political commitment for reforms. The judiciary in Cambodia is sliding even further down an incurable state with the new laws on the judiciary, adopted solely by the same party that is not the choice of the majority of Cambodians.

What the U.N has to say:

http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=47904#.U72smJSSygw

Some analysts are quick to see “reforms” with the young faces in the Cambodian People’s Party. I wish it were true so that we can rebuild our society by starting with reforms in the judiciary.

What the civil society has to say:

http://www.licadho-cambodia.org/pressrelease.php?perm=346