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Cambodia: Amnesty International condemns harassment & intimidation of environmental human rights defenders & claims the acts undercut struggle against climate change

"Cambodia: Harassment of Forest Defenders Undermines Struggle Against Climate Change", 20 March 2020

The Cambodian authorities’ harassment and intimidation of environmental human rights defenders amounts to a wholesale assault against grassroots activism and Indigenous peoples’ rights and undercuts the global struggle against climate change, Amnesty International said … ahead of the International Day of Forests 2020.

…in Kratie Province, Goldman Environmental Prize winner Ouch Leng was arrested and detained along with Prey Lang Community Network (PLCN) members Srey Thei and Khem Soky and forest investigator Man Mat. The four were initially detained, with Man Mat beaten, by staff of an agribusiness company operating in the area while investigating allegations of illegal logging within the Prey Lang forest… They reportedly remain under investigation as suspects for unspecified crimes.

Amnesty International is calling for the baseless investigation into the four forest activists to be dropped and for the Cambodian authorities to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation into all credible allegations of arbitrary detention, torture and illegal logging by agribusiness companies operating in the area…

Ministry of Environment officials claimed … following the incident that PLCN is operating illegally because it has not registered under Cambodia’s widely criticised Law on Associations and Non-Governmental Organisations (LANGO)… Amnesty International reiterates its calls to repeal or substantially amend the LANGO without delay to ensure it is brought in line with international human rights law, and to guarantee a safe and enabling environment for environmental human rights defenders to conduct their work without fear of reprisals.

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