People’s Statement for the Northwest Siem Reap, 24 June 2013

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 Siem Reap, Kampong Thom, PreahVihear, Outdor Mean Chey, Kratie and other parts of Cambodia as part of the Northwest 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.
  • 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 as neighboring countries.
  • We demand that migrant workers have the rights to form and join unions.
  • We demand ASEAN government to recognize and ratify rights of migrant worker to receive adequate wage and public services as local migrant worker.
  • 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

Cambodian Food and Services Worker Federation (CFSWF) Beer promotion workers, massage workers, cleaners, karaoke workers, flight attendants and petrol station workers

  • We demand a wage increase to $150 per month.
  • We demand national and international holidays with regular pay.
  • We demand an annual bonus (thirteenth month salary) equal the last full-month wage.
  • We demand there must be a bilateral agreement between employer and employee/worker
  • We demand an 8 hour working day, or 48 hours per week. If working hours go over 8 hours workers must be entitled to overtime pay.
  • We demand that discrimination against members of trade union must stop.
  • We demand that employers are liable for work injury to workers.

 

Independent Democracy of Informal Economic Association (IDEA)

  • APSARA Authority must stop their plan to import electronic cars to Siem Reap.
  • The 5th mandate government must stop granting monopoly rights to electronic car companies and must stop monopolizing the parking at tourist areas in Siem Reap.
  • The 5th mandate government must stop charging parking fees at all tourist areas in Siem Reap.
  • The authorities should provide ID cards and uniform-vests to renovated tuk-tuks.
  • The authorities must take action to stop hotel owners who dismissing tuk-tuk drivers from where they are doing their business every Monday.
  • The authorities must make an intervention which prevents private business owners from renting vehicles to expatriate tourists.
  • The 5th mandate government must lower the road tax for tuk-tuk by charging a tax rate which is based on engine size.
  • The authorities should provide free mechanical check-up services to tuk-tuks to help support the informal economy.
  • The 5th mandate government must lower the gasoline price to be low like neighboring countries.
  • The 5th mandate government must allow renovated TukTuk to do business free of charge.

 

Angkor Thom Community

  • The 5th mandate government must intervene with APSARA Authority to implement a measure which admits newly-established families to construct houses on their residential land legally and without conditions.
  • The 5th mandate government must conduct a census with the remaining population in Angkor Thom district.

 

Tani Village, RuntaEk Community, BanteaySrei District Community

  • The 5th mandate government must provide social land concession of 158 hectares and issue land titles to 38 households in our community.

 

Tapein Community

  • We demand the provincial authorities must urgently return land of 183 hectares and issue land titles as agreed to 90 families in Tapein village that was occupied by Forestry Administration since 2003.
  • We demand the provincial authorities repair 4000m of roads in our community.

 

Skun Village, Banteay Srei Community

  • The 5th mandate government must issue land titles to 117 families in our community.
  • The court must stop condemning and arresting land activists.

 

Reul Community (Reul Commune, Pouk District)

  • The 5th mandate government must issue legal land titles to 12 families in our community who have been living there since 1999 and farming the land every year.

 

Tbaeng Lich

  • Fifth mandate government must provide farm land and issue legal land title 427 hectare to 105 families in community.

 

Chi Kraeng Community

  • The 5th mandate government and Siem Reap authority must solve and return 475 hectares of land to Chi Kraeng community.
  • The 5th mandate government and Siem Reap authority must stop accusing and arresting land activists.
  • The 5th mandate government must guarantee to have and independent and just judiciary.
  • The 5th mandate government and Siem Reap authority must stop using violence and armed force to crack down on land activists.

 

Sna Sangkream Community

  • The 5th mandate government must provide farm land of 254 hectares and issue legal land titles to 87 families in Sna Sangkream village, Balaing commune, Prasat Bakong district of Siem Reap province.

 

Women’s Network for Unity (WNU)

  • The 5th mandate government must recognize and grant rights to sex workers.
  • The 5th mandate government must provide Health Equity Fund to poor people so they can access quality healthcare.
  • The authorities must implement the law, respect human rights and protect sex workers.

 

Prey Lang Network

  • The 5th mandate government must take immediate measures to stop clearing the forest inside Prey Lang.
  • The 5th mandate government must stop granting Economic Land Concession inside Prey Lang area.
  • The 5th mandate government must grant Social Land Concession to communities.

 

Snoul Community Network, Kratie province

  • The 5th mandate government must review the illegal operations of companies and must completely stop all powerful officials who encroach and illegally own plots of land and the government has to prosecute them.
  • The 5th mandate government must withhold the land of BenPheouk I and BenPheouk II and return it to 400 families as their residential and farm land once again.

 

Farmers and Nature Network (FNN)

  • We demand the 5th mandate government to provide fair market and fair price.
  • We demand the 5th mandate government to provide credit at a 2% annual interest rate.
  • We reject the Law on Agriculture Land Use and Management which contradicts to the National Constitution Law and Land Law.
  • We demand the 5th mandate government to develop the Agricultural Law which grants equal bargaining power between the producers and buyers.

 

Beoung Pe Community Networkm Preah Vihear province

  • The authorities must take immediate measures to stop forest encroachment.
  • The 5th mandate government must abolish the Economic Land Concession granted to companies in Beoung Pe community.
  • The 5th mandate government must not grant mining concession to private companies in Roveang district, Preah Vihear province.
  • The 5th mandate government must abolish the Railway Construction project from Roveang district, Preah Vihear province to Koh Kong province.
  • The 5th mandate government must grant and recognize the community forests in Roveang district, Preah Vihear province.

 

Sugar Network, Oddar Meanchey province

  • The 5th mandate government must eliminate Economic Land Concession to companies and give back the land to 602 families.
  • Stop condemning and arresting land activists.
  • Before granting Economic Land Concession, the government must conduct community consultation with local people.

 

Tonle Sap Fishery Network (TSN)

  • Specialized Fishery department must strengthen and implement the laws effectively.
  • Government must provide and ensure the rights of fisher-folks to participate in the protection of natural resources and combat illegal fishing
  • The 5th mandate government must provide special university scholarships to the children of fisher-folk.
  • The 5th mandate government and authority must construct 6 kilometers of road; repair 4 kilometers length of stream in Kampong Tlok; and repair the 10 kilometers length stream in Kampong Khleang.
  • The 5th mandate government must reduce the price of gasoline to be the same price as neighbouring countries.
  • The 5th mandate government must provide credit to fisher-folk at a 2% annual interest rate.
  • The 5th mandate government must give social land concession to fisher-folk.
  • The 5th mandate government must provide alternative jobs possibilities to fisher-folk, besides fishing.
  • The 5th mandate government must provide free healthcare and education services to fisher-folk.
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