June 19-20

For Immediate Release: The Cross-Sector Network and partners will hold their second of three Cambodian Grassroots People’s Assembly (CGPA) tomorrow in Preah Sihanouk, following last week’s successful and inspiring Assembly  in Kampong Chhnang where over 600 grassroots people participated. The event is set to take place in the public space in front of the Old Theatre in Preah Sihanouk from 8AM onwards, and will provide the organizers and those attending an opportunity to voice their many concerns and their solutions to representatives of the three political parties invited- CPP, FUNCINPEC and CNRP. Representative are invited to attend the whole day event- to listen to grassroots people in the morning and to speak to people’s problems and answer people’s questions in the afternoon. Finally MP candidates will be asked to sign the CGPA People’s Statement to signal their commitment to end empty promises and take real action to solve people’s problems, if elected.

Representatives from the Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP) and FUNCIPEC attended the June 13 CGPA in Kampong Chhnang where the Cross-Sector Network and its partners including Phnom Kuk, Cambodian Independent Civil-Servant Association (CICA), Independent Democracy for Informal Economic Association (IDEA), Tonle Sap Fisheries Network (TSN), Farmer Nature Network (FNN) and others presented their CGPA People’s Statement. KY Vandara, MP candidate for CNRP, and CHHIM Chhon, MP candidate for FUNCIPEC, both signed the statement. The final activity of the Assembly was a march to the MP Office of the CPP candidate as he did not attend and people wanted their CGPA Statement to be accepted and signed by the CPP candidate also. Having set out to march, people were faced off, after about 50 meters, by a line of soldiers and police blocking their route.  The leaders of the Assembly reiterated their purpose, to peacefully but surely see their Statement received by CPP. After a short time, an officer from Kg. Chnang CPP MP Office, Mr. VONG Vibol, came to meet the marchers on the street and signed and accepted a copy of the Statement.

 “We made excellent progress in Kampong Chhnang. Grassroots people spoke honestly and bravely about the daily struggle they face to survive in the face of many injustices. MP candidates’ commitment to the needs of everyone in Cambodia is for the moment giving us some hope and we thank them for signing the People’s Statement,” said Khat Vem, representative from Anlung Thre community. “We’re also thankful that the CPP, while they did not attend, took the time to come and meet us when we tried to march to their office They too have signed the People’s Statement, which is positive.”

This positive exercising of people’s democratic rights will continue in Preah Sihanouk where it is hoped the authorities will continue to strongly respect and cooperate with Cambodian citizens’ rights to assembly and freedom of speech which will show the real progress of democracy so far in Cambodia. “As with the ASEAN Grassroots People’s Assembly (AGPA) last November, the recent CGPA has proved once again our commitment to non-violent, peaceful actions. Our purpose is to seek solutions which have not yet come. We hope that our stance will be respected and that the CGPA will be able to go ahead unhindered without interference from anyone” added Mang Socheat (IDEA representative, Preah Sihanouk).

The Preah Sihanouk event will see approximately 1,500 grassroots people from Preah Sihanouk, Koh Kong, Kampot, Kep, Kg. Speu, and other parts of the country, gathering together in solidarity seeking solutions to their continuing problems. “The problems experienced in one province are also the problems of everyone’s province- we want all of our common problems to be heard and addressed, whether the problem happens in Koh Kong or Kep, Kampot or Preah Sihanouk. June 19 our Assembly happens in Preah Sihanouk but if we see no real action to solve our problems we will continue to do Assemblies in every province of Cambodia until we get the real and lasting response from our leaders” Teng Kao, Sugar Justice Network, Koh Kong. Members of IDEA, Spean Chheh Community, Anlung Thre Community, Farmer Association for Peace and Development (FAPD), Sugar Network for Justice and CICA will speak about their problems ranging land conflicts; moto rentals & tourism; farming, livelihoods & protection; the now famous Sugar plantation land concession in Koh Kong awarded to Senator Ly Yong Phat; and the livelihoods issues faced by civil servant. Each network and community will also present their solutions to the issues and ask the political party representatives in attendance to sign to People’s Statement and commit to real, equitable and sustainable solutions to the many problems faced by ordinary people across Cambodia.

 

Southern Region Key Organizers at Sihanouk Ville 19-20 June 2013 (SHV, Koh Kong, Kampot, Takeo)

 

Mang Socheat Independent Democracy of Informal Economic Association (IDEA), Preah Sihanouk

 

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IDEA Kg. Som office is set up since 2009 and Socheat has served as President since then by election. IDEA is currently very active in organizing its members. IDEA is organizing campaign on Human Right day and International Labour Day every year in order to demand for rights of informal workers to generating income for livelihood. The main issues happening to IDEA members are Motor rental services, Free pick up services from/to guesthouse, members are not allowed to park in some areas, accident and facing with local traffic polices.

IDEA is currently demanding for the cancellation of Motor rental services which caused a lot of issues because the foreigners who are renting the motor has no driving license and doesn’t understand the traffic law. Some renters have been caused to trouble when the motors have lost. IDEA is also demanding to stop Free Pick Up Serviced provided by guesthouses/hotels or bus companies.

 
Ek Vithean Spean Chheh community, Preah Sihanouk

 

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Mr. Vithean is one of the leader in Spean Chheh community which there are 107 families living there since 1991 on 16 hectares of land. The conflict was happening since 2007 when his Excellency Ngor Srun and Chumteav Phoeng Ravy has come and evicted people out of the land. It is land conflict with powerful people who are trying to evict people and get the land. People have struggles and submitted complaint against His Excellency and Chumteav to provincial office, MoI, MoJ, PM office, Ministry office and including Prime Minister house. As the result from the struggles, people have received empty promise many times.

People are now demanding for the demarcation and land title before the election because they want real and practical solutions. No more empty promise!

 
Khat Vim Anlung Trey community, Preah Sihanouk

 

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Mr. Vim is one of the community leaders in Anlung Trey community, Preah Sihanouk province which there are 157 families affected. Mr. Vim has become a land activist since 2005 when the conflict started. People are living here since 1993, 94 or 95 but then in 2005, Mr. Toek Gnuon who is a businessman came and claimed that he bought the land from soldiers and tried to evict people out of the land but people have refused to leave. Later on, on 16 Oct 2007, Mr. Toek Gnoun together with Khov Saly company, district and provincial authorities and polices have come evict people and demolish people’s houses. People then have submitted complaints to provincial court, PM office, National Assembly and many other ministries. From the struggle, people have just received empty promise without any practical solutions. The current struggle is to demand for land and people agree to relocate if the new relocation is not too far.  
Nhel Pheap Farmer Association for Peace and Development (FAPD), Takeo

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Mr. Pheap has been actively involved in workers movement since 1999 until 2007. He used to join in 3 big confederations to organize and mobilize workers for better living condition. Later on, in 2010, he was elected as FAPD president in Takeo province. FAPD is working with farmers on 3 main focuses; human rights protection, advocacy and promoting farmers livelihood.  
Taeng Kao Sugar Network for justice, Koh Kong

 

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Mr. Kao is a farmer in Koh Kong province. He has become a land activist since 2006 when 2 sugar companies owned by tycoon, Ly Yongphat came to clear people’s and evict them on 19 May 2006. There are 200 families in Koh Kong affected by the concession with 1364, 802 hectares of land (housing land and farming land). People has struggle many years putting complaints against the company to provincial court, National Assembly, MoAFF, EU, and even blocking the road. Until now, there is no practical solution and people are demanding for the land back from the company.  
Tom Sam Art Cambodia Independent of Civil-Servants Association (CICA)

Kampot province

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Mr. Sam Art is a teacher in Kampot province since 1998 and joined CICA as member in 2007. Later on, in 2009, he was elected as CICA president in Kampot province. CICA Kampot currently has more than 200 members of teachers and government health officers at health centers. CICA members are facing livelihood issues because of very low salary. CICA is working to focus and demand for better social services such as education and health services and also for better salary for civil-servants.  
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