Urgent Action Update: ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVISTS FACE ADDITIONAL CHARGES (Cambodia: UA 73.21)
August 11, 2021
Six youth activists from Mother Nature Cambodia, a well-known environmental group that campaigns against environmental destruction and related human rights abuses, continue to face ongoing persecution. Three of the activists, already sentenced to 18-20 months imprisonment for trumped up charges of incitement, face an additional 10 years behind bars for “plotting” to endanger the Kingdom of Cambodia. Imprisoned solely for peacefully protecting the environment, advocating for climate justice, and promoting the rights of local communities, they should be released immediately and unconditionally.
Please take action as-soon-as possible. This Urgent Action expires on October 11, 2021.
Write a letter in your own words or using the sample below as a guide to one or both government officials listed. You can also email, fax, call or Tweet them.
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Prime Minister Hun Sen
Office of the Prime Minister
Jok Dimitrov Boulevard Phnom Penh,
H.E. Mr. Chum Sounry
Royal Embassy of Cambodia
4530 16th St. NW, Washington DC 20011
Phone: 202 726 7742
Email: [email protected]
Salutation: Dear Ambassador
Dear Prime Minister Hun Sen,
I am deeply concerned about the relentless persecution of young environmental activists affiliated with Mother Nature Cambodia. Long Kunthea, Phuon Keoraksmey, Thun Ratha, Sun Ratha, Ly Chandaravuth, and Yim Leanghy have all been imprisoned solely for peacefully exercising their human rights to freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly. They should be released immediately and unconditionally.
It is distressing to learn that Long Kunthea, Phuon Keoraksmey and Thun Ratha are facing additional criminal charges of ‘plotting’ by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court. Already sentenced to 18-20 months imprisonment for trumped up charges of ‘incitement’, they could now face an additional 10 years in prison if convicted. Adding to my alarm are reports that, contrary to their fair trial rights, the three youth were not afforded legal representation when escorted from the prison for questioning by an investigating judge.
All six individuals continue to be held in overcrowded prison cells to the severe detriment of their safety and wellbeing. Amnesty International has repeatedly raised concerns regarding overcrowding, poor conditions, and human rights abuses in Cambodian prisons. The organization has most recently raised concerns about Covid-19 outbreaks in many prisons, which are putting all prisoners at additional risk.
As you know, Cambodia is well-known for its precious natural resources including rainforests and lakes, and the preservation of these resources is vital both for the protection of the human rights of local communities, and to advance climate justice. The efforts of these brave young human rights defenders should be recognized and supported, not criminalized and punished.
I therefore urge you, Prime Minister Hun Sen, to take all necessary measures in order to:
Ensure the pardon and immediate release of Long Kunthea, Phuon Keoraksmey, Thun Ratha and quash their convictions.
Drop all pending charges against Long Kunthea, Phuon Keoraksmey, Thun Ratha, Sun Ratha, Ly Chandaravuth and Yim Leanghy and ensure their immediate and unconditional release from prison,
Pending their release, ensure that they are protected from all forms of ill-treatment and provided access to adequate healthcare,
End the harassment, intimidation and persecution of Mother Nature Cambodia and all environmental activists and groups and provide adequate support and protection to those working on defending the environment in Cambodia.