Monthly Archives: October 2010

Agricultural Visit to Angkor

Monday, October 25, 2010

Yesterday, Monday 25th October, me and my team went on an agricultural research trip to Siem Reap. For the past few months, I have been looking into supporting women farmers in my own consistuency, Battambang Province. Some very successful NGOs have offered to help me, including CADF and the Agricultural Development Denmark Asia (ADDA), both based in Siem Reap. The latter focuses on women farmers empowerment in 3 Cambodian provinces (Siem Reap, Bantey Meanchey, and Battambang), with the support of the EU and WB notably. We met with some of their representatives to discuss their model and work with local women, as well as to discuss directly with some of the women involved (visiting their farms and community groups).

After this trip, we will work on developing our own system in Battambang, following local women’s needs and desires, as well as market demand and supply there, but using some of the tools already successfully put in place by ADDA notably.

Building Relationships in Battambang

Mu Sochua with Global Fund for Women volunteers

Women's Wing, Battambang

Dancing to Traditional Khmer Song

European Parliament Resolution on Cambodia

Brussels, 21st October 2010 – European Parliament resolution on Cambodia, in particular the case of Sam Rainsy and Mu Sochua

Read the full articles here.

European Parliament


A. whereas a worrying authoritarian trend has been noticeable in Cambodia over the last few years; whereas this is reflected in a deterioration in the human rights situation, the stifling of fundamental freedoms, a brutal policy of land-grabbing that affects essentially the poor, the suppression of all forms of criticism and protest, the persecution of the parliamentary opposition and civil society activists, the use of the courts for political ends and a drift toward a one-party system,

E.  whereas the strategy of Cambodia’s ruling party is to use a politically subservient judiciary to crack down on all government critics,

F.  whereas an alarmingly high number of people are being held in detention in Cambodia owing to various shortcomings in the criminal justice system, and whereas there is still no guarantee of the independence and impartiality of the judiciary,

G. whereas, according to human rights NGOs, the government has used the courts to silence criticism of its responses to land-grabbing, corruption and border disputes,

1.  Condemns all politically motivated sentences against representatives of the opposition and NGOs, in particular the sentences of 23 September 2010, 13 October and 27 January 2010 against Sam Rainsy, as well as that of 30 August 2010 against Leang Sokchoeun and those against Mu Sochua and the journalist Hang Chakra;

12. Calls for an emergency humanitarian plan to be put in place, with EU involvement and UN coordination, to assist the Cambodians who have been hardest hit by the crisis, in particular those working in the textile and construction industries who have lost their jobs;


The debate that preceded the adoption of the Resolution can be viewed at the following link (in English and 22 other European languages)

Update on Lem Nath’s Case

Many prominent NGOs based in Phnom Penh continue to follow this case. Before Pchum Ben Day various organizations met with the villagers who have a very strong commitment to help Mrs. Lem Nath, and even stronger after outside assistance stepped in.

Even though they have been threatened and bribed by the authorities, they still stand with Lem Nath. We continue to push for support for Lem Nath, Cambodian justice, and will help our collaborators to find further evidence.

Tuon Mon, Leap Torng Village, Trea Commune, Stong District, Kampong Thom Province

This photo is of Tuon Mon. The litigator against Lem Nath claims that she forged Tuon Mon’s thumb print. However, Tuon Mon explains that she agreed to sign and that more than anything she wants Lem Nath to return home.

Lem Nath is still imprisoned. The court case continues. I will post more information as it becomes known.

SEVEN Staged in Delhi on the Closing Day of Vital Voices of Asia Summit

We were so thrilled this evening to bring an incredible three-day summit to a close with the staging of our documentary play, SEVEN, featuring seven acclaimed Indian actresses. Shabana Azmi, celebrated actress and women’s advocate, championed our Delhi production, taking it upon herself to engage fellow actresses in the staging after being moved by the SEVEN script depicting the real life stories of remarkable heroines in the Vital Voices Global Leadership Network.

A packed audience of summit delegates and international guests was in attendance for the first production of SEVEN in Asia. Featured actresses included: Shabana Azmi in the role of Inez McCormack;Urmila Matondkar in the role of Farida Azizi; Tannishtha Chatterjee in the role of Hafsat Abiola; Mahira Kakkar in the role of Mukhtar Mai; Mahabanoo Mody Kotwal in the role of Anabela de Leon; Tanvi Azmi in the role of Marina Pisklakova-Parker; and Jayati Bhatia in the role of Mu Sochua.

After what was one of the most moving productions of SEVEN to date, our summit moderator, Zain Verjee, welcomed the performing actresses to the stage once more for a brief question and answer session. Cambodian parliamentarian and long-time Vital Voices Global Leadership Network member Mu Sochua, one of the seven women portrayed in the documentary play, joined Zain and the actresses on stage alongside Vital Voices Vice President for Human Rights, Cindy Dyer.

Sochua said that the theatrical depiction of women’s stories of tragedy and triumph never fails to move her:

“Each time I see SEVEN, I hold my breath. I still cry.”

Shabana Azmi commented on both her involvement in the production as an women’s activist, and her experience as an actress:

“It’s hugely inspiring. What we did is surrender totally to the lives of these extraordinary women. All we could do is try to communicate their stories. It was a tribute, and a very humbling experience.”

Cindy Dyer recognized the sponsoring partners for the evening, the Avon Foundation for Women, and appealed to delegates to make use of a domestic violence toolkit produced by Vital Voices in collaboration with Avon; the toolkit includes strategic methods for advocacy, such as staging a reading of SEVEN to highlight the tremendous struggle and achievement of these remarkable women.

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