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Cambodia: Activists continue to demand the release of prominent union leader Rong Chhun despite threats and intimidation

"Activists demand Rong Chhun’s release despite Hun Sen’s arrest threat", 25 August 2020

A group of activists are continuing to protest for the release of prominent union leader Rong Chhun despite a warning from Prime Minister Hun Sen … that there would be more arrests if the border issue is raised.

Chhun was charged … with incitement to disturb social security over comments he made in a media interview saying villagers in Tbong Khmum province had lost land to Vietnamese soldiers.

Some 20 protesters and supporters gathered … to submit a petition at the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNOHCHR) to intervene in Chhun’s case. They also attempted to deliver the petition to the Embassy of Japan, but were blocked by police and security guards near Kbal Thnal bridge in Chamkarmon district’s Tonle Bassac commune.

Outside the UN’s office, supporters held signs featuring a photo of Chhun below text saying “Our nation is our issue.”

Em Bunnarith, who worked with Chhun at the Cambodian Confederation of Unions (CCU), said … that the recent spate of arrests of Chhun’s supporters was regrettable.

…, Prime Minister Hun Sen warned that more people would be arrested if they dared to raise the issue of lost territory between Cambodia and Vietnam, saying that border issues aren’t a matter of opinion to be advocated for by civil society groups and social or political analysts.

…, 80 civil society groups and communities issued a joint statement, strongly condemning the Cambodian authorities’ use of violence against peaceful demonstrators and the recent arrests…

Am Sam Ath, deputy director at rights group Licadho, said he was concerned by the declining state of fundamental freedoms in Cambodia…

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