Saturday December 16, 2017
SNc Channels:

Search
About Salem-News.com

 

Jan-03-2014 11:46printcomments

Cambodia: Ongoing Threats Against Human Rights Defender Mr Ou Virak

Human Rights Ambassador for Salem-News.com, William Nicholas Gomes shared concern about the Ongoing threats against human rights defender Mr Ou Virak.


human rights defender Mr Ou Virak

(Washington, D.C) - Over the past three weeks, human rights defender Mr. Ou Virak has been receiving a number of death threats as well as threats of violence against his family. Ou Virak is the President of Cambodian Centre for Human Rights (CCHR), a non-aligned human rights organisation which works to promote and protect human rights of all people.

Since the issuance on 12 December 2013 of an open letter by the CCHR to the leadership of the Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP) expressing grave concern over reportedly discriminatory language used by the CNRP, Ou Virak and his family and colleagues have been receiving near constant threats via telephone, email and social media. The threats reportedly number in the hundreds, and have included racial slurs, calling the human rights defender a traitor and spy, demands for his resignation from the CCHR, as well as demands that he stop working for human rights and leave Cambodia for good. The human rights defender has been accused of acting as a “slave to Vietnam” and there have also been false allegations that Ou Virak is linked to the ruling Cambodia People's Party, despite his continuing criticisms of and campaigns against the human rights violations under the government over the past few years. There have also been phone calls made to his colleagues which threatened violence against Ou Virak.

The CCHR letter of 12 December 2013 refers to remarks reportedly made on 11 December 2013 during a rally of the CNRP. During the rally it is alleged that party leader, Mr Sam Rainsy, used the pejorative term “yuon” during a discussion of Vietnamese immigration to Cambodia. In the letter, Ou Virak states that the use of such language could encourage racism towards Cambodian citizens of Vietnamese origins as well as towards Vietnamese nationals living in Cambodia. The letter also raised concern over remarks made by Sam Rainsy which referred to Prime Minister Hun Sen as being “weaker than a woman”.

On 18 December 2013, due to the volume of threats received, the CCHR issued a press statement clarifying its position. However, the threats have continued. In particular, a serious death threat was received on 19 December, and on 23 December, the same day when Sam Rainsy published a rebuttal in the Cambodia Daily newspaper, comments were posted to Ou Virak's Facebook page referring to him as an animal and threatening the use of violence against his family.

The remarks by Sam Rainsy come in the context of a CNRP statement on 27 August 2013, in which the CNRP highlighted its opposition to racism, xenophobia and discrimination. They also come at a particularly crucial time for gender equality in the country as the 2013 National Assembly elections in Cambodia saw the first decrease in female representation in twenty years.

Ou Virak was previously the subject of an urgent appeal issued by Front Line Defenders on 19 October 2012, when he and his colleagues were summoned to appear for questioning in relation to their work helping the indigenous Tumpuan people in the context of a land dispute with a private company. Front Line Defenders is deeply concerned about the new threats against human rights defender Ou Virak and his family, particularly as they appear to be directly related to his peaceful and legitimate advocacy on ending racial discrimination in Cambodia.


Mr. Hun Sen
Prime Minister
Office of the Prime Minister
Phnom Penh
Kingdom of Cambodia
Fax: +855 23 88 06 24 (c/o Council of Ministers)

Your Excellency,

I am William Nicholas Gomes, Human Rights Ambassador for Salem-News.com.

Over the past three weeks, human rights defender Mr. Ou Virak has been receiving a number of death threats as well as threats of violence against his family. Ou Virak is the President of Cambodian Centre for Human Rights (CCHR), a non-aligned human rights organisation which works to promote and protect human rights of all people.

Since the issuance on 12 December 2013 of an open letter by the CCHR to the leadership of the Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP) expressing grave concern over reportedly discriminatory language used by the CNRP, Ou Virak and his family and colleagues have been receiving near constant threats via telephone, email and social media. The threats reportedly number in the hundreds, and have included racial slurs, calling the human rights defender a traitor and spy, demands for his resignation from the CCHR, as well as demands that he stop working for human rights and leave Cambodia for good. The human rights defender has been accused of acting as a “slave to Vietnam” and there have also been false allegations that Ou Virak is linked to the ruling Cambodia People's Party, despite his continuing criticisms of and campaigns against the human rights violations under the government over the past few years. There have also been phone calls made to his colleagues which threatened violence against Ou Virak.

The CCHR letter of 12 December 2013 refers to remarks reportedly made on 11 December 2013 during a rally of the CNRP. During the rally it is alleged that party leader, Mr Sam Rainsy, used the pejorative term “yuon” during a discussion of Vietnamese immigration to Cambodia. In the letter, Ou Virak states that the use of such language could encourage racism towards Cambodian citizens of Vietnamese origins as well as towards Vietnamese nationals living in Cambodia. The letter also raised concern over remarks made by Sam Rainsy which referred to Prime Minister Hun Sen as being “weaker than a woman”.

On 18 December 2013, due to the volume of threats received, the CCHR issued a press statement clarifying its position. However, the threats have continued. In particular, a serious death threat was received on 19 December, and on 23 December, the same day when Sam Rainsy published a rebuttal in the Cambodia Daily newspaper, comments were posted to Ou Virak's Facebook page referring to him as an animal and threatening the use of violence against his family.

The remarks by Sam Rainsy come in the context of a CNRP statement on 27 August 2013, in which the CNRP highlighted its opposition to racism, xenophobia and discrimination. They also come at a particularly crucial time for gender equality in the country as the 2013 National Assembly elections in Cambodia saw the first decrease in female representation in twenty years.

Ou Virak was previously the subject of an urgent appeal issued by Front Line Defenders on 19 October 2012, when he and his colleagues were summoned to appear for questioning in relation to their work helping the indigenous Tumpuan people in the context of a land dispute with a private company. I am deeply concerned about the new threats against human rights defender Ou Virak and his family, particularly as they appear to be directly related to his peaceful and legitimate advocacy on ending racial discrimination in Cambodia.

I urge the authorities in Cambodia to:

  1. Ensure that an investigation into the threats against Mr. Ou Virak and his family be immediately carried out in a thorough and impartial manner, with a view to bringing those responsible to justice in accordance with international standards;
  2. Take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity and security of Ou Virak as well as that of members of his family;
  3. Take measures to encourage the public recognition, by the authorities as well as public figures including politicians, of the important and legitimate role played by human rights defenders;
  4. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Cambodia are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of intimidation or reprisals.


Yours Sincerely,
William Nicholas Gomes
Human Rights Ambassador for Salem-News.com
Twitter @wnicholasgomes
www.williamnicholasgomes.com

________________________________________

- See more at: http://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/24588/action#sthash.1Ad7Ipx2.dpuf

_________________________________________




Comments Leave a comment on this story.
Name:

All comments and messages are approved by people and self promotional links or unacceptable comments are denied.


[Return to Top]
©2017 Salem-News.com. All opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Salem-News.com.


Articles for January 2, 2014 | Articles for January 3, 2014 | Articles for January 4, 2014
Your customers are looking: Advertise on Salem-News.com!

Annual Hemp Festival & Event Calendar

Support
Salem-News.com:

Since 1985, Tattoo Mike is one of the most reputable tattoo artists in Oregon.

The NAACP of the Willamette Valley

Tribute to Palestine and to the incredible courage, determination and struggle of the Palestinian People. ~Dom Martin