Focus on Human Rights[Last Updated on June 22, 2001]
- Cambodia: Judiciary on Trial
(New York/London, June 20, 2001) - Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch today criticized the Cambodian government for undermining the right to a fair trial of suspected members of the Cambodian Freedom Fighters group.
- Cambodia: Deportation of Montagnard Refugees to Vietnam
(New York, May 20, 2001) Human Rights Watch today denounced the Cambodian government's forced expulsions of at least eighty-nine indigenous minority asylum seekers from the Central Highlands of Vietnam, and called for immediate measures to protect other refugees who may be at risk.
- Cambodia: Refugee Effort Commended
(New York, April 19, 2001) Human Rights Watch today praised the efforts of the Cambodian government and the Office of U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in providing protection for twenty-four indigenous minority asylum seekers from Vietnam. Eighteen refugees have already left for the United States and the remaining six have been approved for departure in the coming days.
- Cambodia: Verdict A Setback for Indigenous Land Rights
(New York, March 30, 2001) Human Rights Watch today expressed strong concern about a provincial court ruling in the highlands of northeastern Cambodia that dispossesses more than 900 indigenous people of their ancestral lands.
- Cambodia: Conviction Ignores Political Motive
(New York, March 15, 2001) Human Rights Watch today welcomed the conviction in Cambodia of a local leader for a politically
motivated murder, but expressed concern that the trial ignored the political aspects of the case.
- Cambodia: Landmark Indigenous Land Rights Case To Be Heard in Ratanakiri Provincial Court
Legal Aid of Cambodia (LAC), Cambodian Association for Human Rights and Development (ADHOC), Oxfam Great Britain, and Human Rights Watch issue the following background briefing memo on a major land conflict in Ratanakiri province.
- Cambodia: Unlawful Arrests and Detention Condemned
(December 6, 2000) In the aftermath of the most serious outbreak of violence in Phnom Penh since a coup in 1997, followed by widespread arrests throughout the countryside, Human Rights Watch today called for heightened international monitoring of the human rights situation in Cambodia. The global monitoring group expressed concern that the Cambodian government could use an armed attack which took place in Phnom Penh on November 24 as a pretext to move against political opponents.
- Cambodia: Armed Threat against Human Rights Workers
(New York, October 3, 2000)-- Human Rights Watch today called on the Cambodian government to prosecute an armed military intelligence officer who threatened to shoot an opposition member of Parliament on a busy street in Phnom Penh. Witnesses said police nearby took no action.
- Human Rights Agenda for Cambodia's Donors
(New York, May 23, 2000) -- Human Rights Watch today called on Cambodia's international donors to put human rights high on the agenda during the Consultative Group on Cambodia (CG) convened by the World Bank, scheduled for May 24-26 in Paris. Prime Minister Hun Sen will participate in the meeting.
- Cambodian Human Rights Workers Intimidated, Threatened with Arrest
(New York, April 9, 2000) -- Human Rights Watch today condemned threats of arrest against staff members of the Cambodian human rights organization Licadho (the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights). The threats are reportedly because of its role in providing humanitarian assistance to victims of labor abuse, including ethnic Vietnamese minorities.
- Core Issues in Khmer Rouge Tribunal Law Unresolved
(New York, January 21, 2000) -- Human Rights Watch today called on the Cambodian government to revamp the draft law setting up tribunals for the Khmer Rouge, to lessen the risks of political manipulation. The rights group urged the United Nations to actively continue negotiations with the Cambodian government to insure that any tribunal meets international standards of independence and fairness.
- Japanese Prime Minister Should Press Cambodia On Khmer Rouge
(New York, January 7, 2000) — Japan should urge the Cambodian government to fully cooperate with the United Nations in establishing a tribunal to try leaders of the Khmer Rouge for crimes committed from 1975-79, Human Rights Watch said today.
- Human Rights Watch Condemns Rearrest Campaign in Cambodia
(New York, December 10, 1999) -- Human Rights Watch today condemned the widespread rearrests of people previously released from prison by the courts in Cambodia. The rearrests were ordered by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on December 3, 1999.
- U.N. Should Insist On International Standards For Khmer Rouge Trial
(August 24, 1999, New York)— Human Rights Watch today urged that any tribunal established to try Khmer Rouge leaders should adhere to the highest international standards. The group criticized as inadequate a U.N. proposal for a domestically-constituted tribunal in Cambodia with international participation, although it noted that the plan has some positive elements.
- Minimum Benchmarks for a Khmer Rouge Tribunal
(August 24, 1999) Human Rights Watch continues to believe that justice is best served by a fully international tribunal. In the event, however, that a tribunal is established under Cambodian law, Human Rights Watch considers the following to be minimal acceptable benchmarks for a credible and legitimate tribunal:
- Dismissal of Charges Against Cambodian Rights Workers Welcomed
(July 22, 1999, New York) -- Human Rights Watch today welcomed the dismissal of charges against ten people, including two workers from the Cambodian human rights organization Licadho, who were arrested after demonstrations broke out in Sihanoukville, Cambodia in December 1998.
- Cambodia: Charges Against Rights Workers Should Be Dropped
New York, June 25, 1999 - In a letter sent today to the prosecutor general of the Phnom Penh Appeals Court, Human Rights Watch called for criminal charges against two Cambodian human rights workers to be dropped. Kim Sen and Meas Minear of the human rights organization, Licadho, are scheduled to go on trial on July 8. They are accused of inciting a violent demonstration against toxic waste dumping in Sihanoukville in late December. The prosecutor of the Sihanoukville court, Mourn Mith, was quoted in the Cambodia Daily on June 23 as saying that no human rights group had "officially" written to request that the charges against rights workers be dismissed.
Impunity In Cambodia: How Human Rights Offenders Escape Justice
(Phnom Penh, June 11, 1999) -- In a new report published today, three human rights organizations urged the Royal Cambodian Government to end impunity for perpetrators of human rights violations in Cambodia.
- Cambodia: Dismiss Charges Against Human Rights Defenders
(New York, May 28, 1999)-- In a new report issued today, Human Rights Watch calls for the dismissal of outstanding criminal charges against two staff members of the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (Licadho). The Cambodian government must decide within weeks whether to proceed with the trial of the two, who could face ten years in prison if convicted.
International Standards in Khmer Rouge Trials a Must
March 25, 1999: Human Rights Watch today expressed serious concerns about the Cambodian government's insistence that Khmer Rouge leader Ta Mok and possibly other top Khmer Rouge leaders can only be tried in Cambodian courts.
Statement to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Subcommittee on East Asia and the Pacific by Human Rights Watch, March 9, 1999
Captured Khmer Rouge Leader should be Prosecuted Before an International Tribunal
March 8, 1999: Human Rights Watch called today for the prosecution of Khmer Rouge leader Ta
Mok, 72, before an independent international tribunal. On March 6, Cambodian officials arrested the
seventy-two-year-old guerrilla and transferred him to the military prosecutor's prison of the Phnom Penh
Military Court. Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith has said that Prime Minister Hun Sen wants Ta Mok
tried in a Cambodian court under Cambodian law, rather than before an international tribunal.
Donors Should Hold Cambodia to Its Human Rights Commitments
February 19, 1999: As Cambodia's international donors prepared to meet in Tokyo on February 25-26 for the first time since the July 1997 coup, Human Rights Watch called on participants to attach human rights conditions to any pledges of non-humanitarian aid to the Cambodian government. Prime Minister Hun Sen will be attending the donor meeting, convened by the World Bank, at Japan's invitation.
- Human Rights Watch Denounces Killing of Cambodian Rights Worker
January 12, 1999: Human Rights Watch today denounced the killing of a Cambodian human rights
activist in Kandal Province on December 19 and called for the prompt investigation, arrest and prosecution of
the perpetrators of the murder.
- HRW Condemns Arrests of Human Rights Workers
December 23, 1998: Human Rights Watch today strongly condemned the arrest of two
Cambodian human rights workers in Cambodia's port city of Sihanoukville. Meas Minear and Kim Sen, staff
members of the Cambodian human rights organization Licadho, were arrested on December 21 after they
monitored demonstrations and received complaints from citizens in Sihanoukville angered about the dumping
of industrial material thought to be toxic. The waste had been shipped from Taiwan to a site about fifteen
kilometers from Sihanoukville.
- Statement on Cambodia by Human Rights Watch, Asia Division to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Subcommittee on East Asia and the Pacific
October 2, 1998: The U.S. government has played a critical role in the months leading up to, and following, this past July's election in Cambodia. Unfortunately, at this time, there is little reason to be optimistic about the short-term future, as the Cambodian government has failed to address the fundamental human rights problems that plagued the pre-election period, including political
violence, extrajudicial killings, and official impunity for abuses.These same problems now threaten to undermine prospects that any new government can gain the full confidence and support of the Cambodian people.
- Cambodia: Opposition Activists Targeted In Post-Election Reprisals
August 10, 1998: The waning of post-election political
violence in Cambodia following an appeal by the
Second Prime Minister Hun Sen showed that the
Cambodian leader did indeed have the power to turn such
violence on and off at will, Human Rights Watch said in
a statement today. But the organization said that the fear
created by attacks and threats in the immediate post-election period had already done its work, making people in Phnom Penh and outside the capital wary of voicing dissent or supporting opposition organizations. It called on the international community to exert pressure on Hun Sen to disarm and punish the perpetrators of the latest incidents of attacks on opposition party members so that Cambodians could freely exercise their rights to freedom of expression, association, and assembly.
- Cambodia: International Community Should Stand Firm on the Electoral Process
July 24, 1998: As Cambodia prepared for national elections this Sunday, July 26, Human Rights Watch warned the international community not to give its stamp of approval to a flawed electoral process. The elections have been tainted by political violence and intimidation, and may not improve the country's progress towards genuine democracy, the rights group warned.
- Cambodia: Fair Elections Not Possible
June 19, 1998: In a new report issued today, Human Rights Watch concludes that the present
political environment in Cambodia, in which opposition parties are not able to operate freely and
safely, is in no way conducive to the holding of free, fair, and credible elections scheduled for July
26, 1998. The report was issued on the eve of a June 20 meeting in Bangkok, Thailand of the
grouping of countries known as the Friends of Cambodia.
- Human Rights Watch report: Cambodia: Fair Elections Not Possible
June 1998: The present political environment in Cambodia, in which opposition parties are not able to operate
freely and safely, is in no way conducive to the holding of free, fair, and credible elections. The
primary obstacle is neither logistical nor technical, but rather the determination of the ruling
Cambodian People's Party (CPP) to control the electoral process and restrict basic freedoms.
Human Rights Watch recommends postponement of elections until the conditions conducive to a free
and fair poll are in place. Human Rights Watch recommends concrete steps that donor nations and
the Cambodian government can take to minimize yet further human rights abuses and even greater
intimidation of Cambodian citizens in exercising their right to elect a government.
- Human Rights Watch Urges Non-Selective Approach On Proposed Cambodia Tribunal
May 1, 1998: Human Rights Watch today welcomed the possibility of establishing an international tribunal to try the leaders of the Khmer Rouge. The organization urged, however, that any court have the power to try all those who committed crimes against humanity during Cambodia's tragedy.
- Rights Organization Condemns Takeo Grenade Attack
April 29, 1998: Human Rights Watch today condemned a deadly April 25 grenade attack on the home of the family of a Cambodian opposition activist from the Son Sann Party. The incident, in the southeastern province of Takeo, may have been in part politically motivated, Human Rights Watch charged. In a separate incident on April 26, the Son Sann Party president in Tramkak District of Takeo reported that several shots were fired in front of his house, but no one was wounded. The organization said the April 25 attack, which resulted in two dead and three wounded, was the latest in a series of violent incidents involving political party members running against the ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) of Second Prime Minister Hun Sen in elections slated for July 1998.
- International Tribunal For Khmer Rouge Leaders
April 16, 1998: Human Rights Watch today said that with the death of Pol Pot, the group of countries known as the Friends of Cambodia, meeting this weekend in Bangkok, should continue the effort to bring the remaining leaders of the Khmer Rouge before an international tribunal for crimes against humanity. "Pol Pot may have been the most important figure in the Khmer Rouge, but he was not the only one responsible for the massacres," said Sidney Jones, Asia director of Human Rights Watch. "Many others who took a direct role in the killings from 1975 to 1979 are alive and well and working with the Hun Sen government."
- Cambodia: No Aid For Elections Until Rights Guarantees In Place
January 23, 1998: Human Rights Watch today called on the international community to withhold financial and technical assistance to the Cambodian electoral process until conditions are in place that will be conducive to the organizing of free and fair national elections. Elections are now scheduled for July 26, 1998. The minimum conditions, according to Human Rights Watch, should include concrete steps toward the prosecution of perpetrators of political violence, including those responsible for the killings of opposition political figures during the July 5-6, 1997 coup; restoration of freedom of the press; full freedom for opposition parties to engage in political activities without fear of intimidation or violence by government agents or individuals acting at the government's behest; and an end to the harassment of human rights workers.
- Asean Urged to Address Abuses in Burma, Cambodia
July 25, 1997: As the foreign ministers of ASEAN (Association of South East Asian
Nations) move into the final day of their meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and prepare to meet
with their "dialogue partners" on July 28-29, Human Rights Watch/Asia is calling on ASEAN to
effectively address the serious human rights problems in Burma and Cambodia in order to promote
stability in the region.
- International Community Urged to Protect Cambodians and Condemn Coup
July 8, 1997: Human Rights Watch today called on the international community to
unequivocally condemn the coup in Cambodia on Saturday by Cambodian People's Party leader
and co-Prime Minister Hun Sen against his coalition partner, Prince Ranariddh of the royalist
FUNCINPEC party, and to take all necessary measures to prevent the CPP from carrying out a
massive purge of its opponents.