Cambodian Grassroots People’s Assembly People’s Statement

We, the Cambodian Grassroots People’s Assembly, are farmers, fisher-folk, forestry activists, land activists, indigenous people, feminists, labour activists, sex workers, youth activists, anti-eviction activists, anti-capitalism activists, LGBT activists, activists impacted by hydro-power dam projects, artists and singers. We are here with our grassroots brothers and sisters from Preah Sihanouk, Koh Kong, Kampot, Takeo, Kep, Kopmong Speu and other parts of Cambodia as part of the Southern Region of the cross sector networks. We are not an anti-government Assembly and we are not involved in any political party. We are here as Cambodian grassroots people who love peace and are committed to active non-violence. We are here as Cambodian grassroots people who believe in people’s human rights, in human dignity and in democracy. That is why we have organized our Assembly.

Our Assembly is timed to raise the people’s voices and problems to existing Members of Parliament (MPs), MP candidates and all political leaders ahead of the National Election on 28 July. In recent years, we have experienced a model of development in Cambodia which has made our lives more insecure and vulnerable. Our poverty has increased as our natural resources have been destroyed, diminished and expropriated. Instead of the political will of our leaders enacting laws and policies which guarantee peoples’ human needs and dignity, our leaders have excluded us, the people, and prioritized the interests of foreign investors and other powerful elites. When the people are excluded from the development model and approach, any development which follows cannot and will not respond to the people’s needs.

If political leaders and Members of Parliament are to have legitimacy before us, then they must represent our voices and concerns and implement real lasting solutions to our problems. They must prioritise using and protecting the natural resources of our country in a sustainable way to benefit us all and serve our livelihoods as Cambodian people now and for future generations.

Political leaders must focus their political will on implementing an approach to sustainable development. This means, putting the peoples’ needs first, achieving meaningful equality, protecting the environment and achieving real democracy by all of us being part of a participatory decision-making process. When all Cambodians live a life with adequate income, a secure livelihood, secure land title, accessible and adequate healthcare and freedom to exercise all of their civic and political rights then we will say the political leaders have legitimacy before us.

  • Our Assembly proclaims the people’s right to space for true representation of our problems, solutions and visions for our future!
  • Our Assembly proclaims the people’s desire for a Cambodia for all Cambodians not just rich and powerful Cambodians!
  • Our Assembly proclaims the people’s belief in legitimate political leaders!
  • Our Assembly proclaims that the people have had enough empty promises already- we want action to bring real lasting solutions to our problems and we want it now on the following people’s demands!
  • Our Assembly proclaims that our leaders should be leaders by us, for us and with us!

OUR COMMON DEMANDS

The cross sector networks in its five regions of Cambodia share common strategic demands, born during its first People’s Assembly (AGPA November 2012). We re-state them here and will continue to struggle to achieve them.

  1. 1.      LAND SECTOR
  • We demand the government to assess and redress the negative impacts of economic land           concessions to date and cancel the ELC policy from now on.
  • We demand government develops policy and laws related to mining and hydro-power dams which serve the interest of people.
  • We demand a transparent policy, mechanism and implementation of land distribution to the Cambodian people.
  • We demand that areas of rich biodiversity are protected.
  • We demand the release of human rights and land activists in prison.
  1. 2.      FOOD SECURITY and SOVEREIGNTY
  • We demand a fair market and a fair price for our products.
  • We demand micro credit from the government with 2% interest rate per year.
  • We demand agricultural technical support from government.
  • We reject any agricultural law which contradicts the Constitution and land law.
  • We demand agro-business laws to protect equal bargaining power between producers and buyers.
  1. 3.      TRADE and INVESTMENT
  • Trade and investment should firstly and foremost strengthen the local economy, production, human capacities and well-being of the Cambodian people. Profit of investors should come after.
  • We demand accessible and equitable healthcare for all Cambodian and for Cambodia to have the rights to produce its own generic medicine.
  • Trade and investment policies being implemented in Cambodia must promote food sovereignty, decent work, protection of natural resources and life with dignity for all Cambodian people.
  1. 4.      LABOUR SECTOR (formal, informal, migrant workers)
  • We demand labor law enforcement in Cambodia.
  • We demand the rights to freedom of association and assembly.
  • We demand a living wage regularly adjusted to inflation.
  • We demand effective and transparent public services in Cambodia.
  • We demand an end to fixed duration contract.
  • We demand investment which enables informal sector workers to earn decent livelihood.
  • We demand recognition and respect for the negotiation rights of informal sector workers.
  • We demand a social security fund for informal sector workers.
  • We demand lower gasoline price in Cambodia.
  • We demand that migrant workers have the rights to form and join unions.
  • We must change laws and policies in Cambodia to protect the rights of sex workers- sex work is work.
  1. 5.      HUMAN RIGHTS and DEMOCRACY
  • We demand that Cambodia respect human rights, democracy and stop discriminating against the poor.
  • We demand an independent judiciary in Cambodia.
  • We demand an end to the manipulation of the judicial system and the violence which criminalizes human rights defenders and land activists.
  • We still reject the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration in its current form and demand consultation and transparency in the on-going process.

THE PARTICIPATING NETWORKS IMMEDIATE DEMANDS

The Southern Region of cross sector networks have had enough empty promises- we want real and lasting solutions to our problems below.

 

  • C. E. 5 Community (126 families) 
    • We demand the 5th mandate elected government to measure our farm-land and house-land and grant the legal land title to all of us.
  • Anlung Trei Community
  • We demand the 5th mandate elected government to solve the land problem of 157 families whose 400hectares (farmland and house-land) was taken by the company and powerful people.
  • We demand the 5th mandate elected government to provide free quality education and healthcare for all of us.
  • We demand the 5th mandate elected government reduce the gasoline and food prices.
  • We demand the 5th mandate elected government to stop making empty promise and tackle and solve our problems from the previous mandated government.
  • Prek Treng Community (92 families with 135 hectares of land problem)
  • We demand the provincial authority returns our land and grants legal land title according to the decision of the Ministry of Urban Planning and Land Management, Prime Minister and National Assembly.
  • We demand for the authorities at all levels to respect the rights to livelihood and access to free quality public services such as education and health.
  • The 5th mandate elected government has to stop forced eviction.
  • Every violation of people’s right must be address and gain sufficient compensation.
  • In the 5th mandate elected government MPs must be the real MPs and understand the real problems of the people.
  • Veal Shanthi Community (70 families with 125 hectares of farm and housing land)
  • Ream village, Ream commune, (Preah Sihanouk province) demands the Yischia company allow the people to re-build their house.
  • We demand the 5th mandate elected government to grant us back our farmland as it was in 2004 for us to use.
  • We demand the 5th mandate elected government to grant the farmland and house-land for 70 families.
  • Spean Chhes community (107 families)
    • We wish for the local authorities to measure the land for 107 families as soon as possible. If you don’t do so you must permit us all to go back to our old land.
    • We wish the provincial authority to grant land for sufficient housing, to grant legal land titles, provide stable jobs and provide re-location sites within 5 km of the city of Preah Sihanouk.
    • We request that the relevant authorities participate in negotiating and solving directly with the community representatives and the community committee.
  • Kampenh Chah community
  • 24 families demand the authorities to land and legal land titles to us.
  • Kanhpenh Thmey community  (137 families)
  • We demand the 5th mandate elected government to return our land to 137 families.
  • Koh Kchong village (152 families), Or Chrao commune, Preah Nouk district
  • We demand the government to stop intimidating the community by using the court to scare people.
  • We demand the government to use the court fairly and give justice to the land communities by giving the 152 families back their land.
  • K’bal Hong Toek village, Ream commune, Preah Nouk district
  • We demand the 5th mandate elected government to negotiate with the clean water company to return the land to 204 families who land has been taken.
  • Stung Hao, Preah Sihanouk province
  • We demand the 5th mandate elected government to stop selling electricity to private companies that charge prices which are too high.
  • Outres community, Village 6, Sangkat 4, Khan Mittapheap, Preah Sihanouk
  • We demand the 5th mandate elected government to support us to avoid the eviction from our community and grant us our full rights to re-build our homes.
  • Sugar Justice Network (Koh Kong, 200 families 1364.802hectares)
  • We demand 1)Thai KSL (Koh Kong Sugar Company Ltd and Koh Kong Sugar Plantation Ltd), 2)Okhna Ly Yon Phat, 3) Taiwan company give back the above amount of land to the people.
  • The companies  must be responsible and accountable before the law for whatever they have done wrong.
  • Authorities and relevant institutions at all levels must tackle the problem of land and return the land to the people.
  • We don’t need any more empty promises like the previous mandate. We demand the candidates for the 5th elected mandate must solve our land problems.
  • The government must grant the legal land title for the all the people.
  • We demand for all of our freedoms.
  • We demand the 5th mandate elected government to enable the poor to access real justice, to get our land back and for those perpetrators of violence against community activists to be prosecuted for their crimes.
  • Farmer Nature Network (FNN)
  • We demand the 5th mandate elected government to provide fair markets and fair prices.
  • We demand the 5th mandate elected government to provide microfinance that has 2% interest per year.
  • We object to agricultural laws that are against the constitutional law and land law.
  • We demand the 5th mandate elected government to ensure agricultural law that protects equal power of negotiation between producers and buyers.
  • Farmers for Peace and Development (FAPD)
    • We demand for the 5th mandate elected government to set the fair price for agricultural products in line with inflation.
    • We demand the 5th mandate elected government to stop accusing and discriminating against community labeling them opposition party when they are simply demanding for solutions to their problems.
    • We wish that MPs will respect all the freedoms of people (right of expression, right to access information, right to decent living).
    • We request the government to stop importing agricultural products from our neighbouring countries which are affecting our health and livelihood.
    • We demand for the newly-mandated government to develop the social security for the old people, orphans, widows and those who are jobless.
    • We request the new government to create jobs for youth and stop migration.
  • Cambodian Independent Civil Servants Association (CICA)
  • The 5th mandate elected government must raise salary for civil servants to at least 1,000,000riel/month and ensure quality and effective public services.
  • We demand the 5th mandate elected government to respect the rights to form and participate I trade unions without discrimination.
  • Fisheries Communities
  • The 5th mandate elected government must ensure the rights and role of fisher-folk in preventing and apprehending illegal fishing and protecting fishery resources.
  • The 5th mandate elected government must stop illegal fishing on the seaside.
  • The 5th mandate elected government must stop rich and powerful people from cutting flooded forest which destroys fish breeding grounds and must stop moving fishing breeding ground into private ownership.
  • The 5th mandate elected government must stop making empty promises.
  • We demand for a reduction in electricity price to 650riel/kw
  • Independent Democratic Economy Association (IDEA)
  • We demand mote rental to foreign tourists should be stopped.
  • We demand transportation service for passengers from the guesthouses be stopped.
  • We demand a reduction in the tax price of imported motos so that we can afford to buy motos to improve our livelihood.
  • We demand a reduction in the gasoline price to 4000riel per litre.
  • We demand that the police chief and military police effectively implement Letter Nr 17 dated December 2010 by the provincial governor’s house.
  • We demand the authorities stop accusing IDEA as being opposition party activists. Stop discrimination against us!
  • We demand the Tourist Police officers seriously implement the Traffic Law Article 35.
  • We demand the 5th mandate elected government to ensure a reduction in market prices in line with the income of informal sector workers.
  • We request the police to monitor trucks transporting loads from the Special Economic Zone which are overloaded and are not respecting the traffic law.
  • We request the Preah Sihanouk police to stop charging loading fees at the loading check point.
  • Women’s Network for Unity (WNU)  
  • We demand recognition that sex work is work so that we can support our family.
  • Stop discrimination against sex workers
  • We demand the promotion of quality and effective treatment for people living with HIV.
  • We demand legal protection for sex workers and entertainment workers.
  • We demand rights and justice for women.
  • We demand legal service for women, safe sex, a reduction in HIV infection and a reduction in human trafficking.
  • We demand the needs of people are always put before profit.
  • Worker’s Information Centre (WIC)
  • We demand the 5th mandate elected government to improve the working conditions in garment factories- to ensure proper medical treatment; proper safety standards and monitoring of factory buildings; hygiene and safety in the rentals; a reduction in the cost of monthly rentals and an increase in our wages to make it a living wage.
  • We demand factory owners respect and implement the Labour law of Cambodia.
  • CamASEAN
  • We demand the 5th mandate elected government to improve the quality of the education for students.
  • We demand the 5th mandate elected government to expand the work of the NGO sector and the private sector.
  • We demand the 5th mandate elected government to stop the advertising of alcohol on radio and TV as it is negatively impacting on our culture.
  • We demand the 5th mandate elected government to increase the precise understanding and meaning of politics among students and people generally.
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