Tag Archives: Campaign Trail

Young Women for Democracy- Ramdoul

“I am confident that people will vote for me because I am from this village. I am involved in the struggle of the people to find better ways for their daily survival" - Ramdoul

Born in the Barkrateh village (in Khmer “the broken cart”) , Ramdoul is one of seven children in a family where education has always been a priority. Her parents worked as sellers in the market but their income was very limited. However they were able to loan Ramdoul enough money to attend the Battambang University.

At 25, she already has completed her Bachelor’s` degree in accounting and has been an active party member since 2006. She leads the youth movement in this cluster of villages with skills and experiences she has acquired from youth training from the International Republican Institute(IRI) and her active participation in the Sam Rainsy Party Youth Wing

Her commitment to the empowerment of youth has gained her great recognition from her peers and the party leadership.

She will run for the first time as candidate for the 2012 commune elections. The party is confident that she will win her seat and has trusted her with a winning position on the party list, in Battambang province-North West of Cambodia.

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Attended a Human Rights forum in Battambang

In 1997, over 10,000 hectare of the forest in the district of Koh Kralor were given to Khmer Rouge army officers and leaders in exchange for their re-integration and to stop the armed conflict.

The remaining 3,800 hectares of the forest were reserved for social concessions. 

Throughout the years, the former KR officers and leaders have sold part of the 3,800 hectares that are state land. In the meantime, villagers from the neighboring commune have cleared the remaining forest for farming.

The sale of the state land continues till today with the help of the commune chief, the village chief, and other former KR leaders with protection from police and the court. Villagers who have cleared the forest for farming are threatened, their crops destroyed and face arrest and detention.

I have intervened and rescued many villagers, including children who are arrested and detained. Villagers live in fear of arrest.

My question: why are local authorities allowing and are part of the sale of state land?

My solution: the committee in charge of land management should register villagers with no land and provide them land equally and with transparency, to end the dispute. 

My recommendation to the people: vote for a commune chief who will defend your land and not for a candidate who will sell your land.

A day after the forum took place, a woman is accused of stealing some type of farming equipment. The commune police are threatening with arrest. 

This is a threat and a message to villagers to not speak up against the local authorities.

Help Increase the Number of Women Candidates in Cambodia

Women’s empowerment must start within the party but also in society. Women’s empowerment is not only critical to the promotion of the rights and well-being of women, it is central to the development and strengthening of Cambodian fledgling democracy. Cambodian democracy cannot fulfill its potential when half of its citizenry is underrepresented.

Read how you can donate to the Justice Fund, which aims to help more women get elected in Cambodia.

Fight for Your Land-Use Your Collective Power

Planting Democracy Seeds-Part 2

Rattanak Mondoul-Battambang Province-North West Cambodia

“My first husband died when he was just 25 years old. We had two children. We came to this part of the forest over 10 years ago. It was nothing but land mines. We were too desperate for land. Our young children watched their children blown up by a land mine”.

“I was clearing the forest and there it was: 3 land mines. I was so terrified, I was paralyzed. I will never forget that day”.

“The rich man tells me that I do not own this land, because I am too young. I say to him that I came with my father to plant these mango trees. I crossed this creek with my father every day. I know every parcel of this land. Do you?”

As I listen to this group of 40 farmers talking about their desperate search for land to cultivate, I hear their burning need for justice. For over a decade, they have farmed these plots of land collectively and have managed to build a community and survived year after year from the crops.

Today, rich and powerful men claim that every single plot of land in this community is theirs. They have the backing of the new village chief and the commune chief. They are protected by police and local authorities.

I say to the villagers:

Tell your stories. Tell the truth. That is your power.

Stand up together. That is your power.

Speak with one voice. That is your power.

The rich men do not have your power.

“Land is life- land is hope. ” a song from the messenger band. A group of young women who put justice into songs.

Planting Democracy Seeds in Former Khmer Rouge Territory

Building democracy in this part of Cambodia-a strong hold of the Cambodian People’s Party is a challenge to the mind and the body. The CPP in Samlot is led by former Khmer Rouge soldiers who reintegrated with the Cambodian Royal Armed Forces in 1997.

Inspecting party signs

For our team, coming to this territory to bring a message of change is similar to the farmers preparing the field. The hard work continues on with seed planting, weeding, watering, till it is time for harvest.

My body is aching from a cold and weakened by the challenge of walking from field to field. Members of the team consult each other when we can’t seem to get the message of change through to the villagers who have lived with fear for over two decades-the legacy of the Khmer Rouges, responsible for the killing of 1.7 million Cambodians.

Despite daily threats, intimidation, villagers who have lost or about to lose their land seem to be stuck with the same feeling: what if the village chief finds ut that we are from the opposition.

My colleagues and I use the word “democracy”, “human rights”, “freedom” with a lot of caution. We spend hours listening, convincing, and reassuring that only when farmers have title of their land can they live in peace. Land tenure is a right, to men and women.

We have been coming to this territory for the past 15 years but our votes go no farther than 10%.

We train women and youth, we empower the few who have shown courage to continue the struggle.

12 more months before local elections. Time is short. In Some villages, we have no representatives.

Very few organizations here. very little attention given to human rights and democracy.

A true challenge but we are inspired by the courage of our representatives.

Thanks to IT, I am able to blog, tweet and post on facebook.

blogging and tweeting with the help of a 3G cell card

Forgot malaria pills back in the city. Spread myself with mosquito repellant, hoping that it will work.

 

Typing this inside a mosquito net and under a light run on battery.

 

All for Democracy.

Samlot

19 July, 2011

A day in the life of Mu Sochua

Video created by Philip Skoczkowski. Check out his amazing work at www.skoczkowski.com

A Day In The Life Of Mu Sochua from Philip Skoczkowski on Vimeo.

Sochua blog video BB day 2

“I do not fear death; I fear political silence against injustices”

-Malalai Joya, MP Afghanistan

Donate to Mu Sochua’s Justice Fund