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Has Science Discovered God?
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God in the Cosmos
I am coming to believe more strongly by the day that part of the human rights education conducted by civil society must include a pointed, highlighted, bold communication to the potential / current abusers about the perpetual infamy of their crimes, which can be documented, stored and culled with the click of a finger by the world's people... now, or tomorrow, or next year, or 3 decades from now!!
(Ask Khieu Samphan and his ECCC Gang of Four. And their crimes were pre-internet, pre-globalization age!)
I believe these individuals who are human rights abusers in their heart of hearts care for their reputation and name. Again, think of the ECCC Gang of Four wilting away in detention under the weight of condemnation by history and the current population of the world. Let them try erasing all the odor and vulgarities attached to their names; assuming they can do it in Cambodia, but what about the world - the Human Rights Watch / Amnesty International reports will live forever in cyberspace, in the US, in Japan, in India - forever and ever?
So, perpetrators of human rights violations - take note. You are not invisible or invincible - even if you have temporary impunity. Think of all the cellphones with built-in cameras, as just one example of technology's pervasive ability to record abuses. Remember, the long arc of moral history bends toward justice, to paraphrase the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
- Theary Seng, Phnom Penh, 10 Sept. 2010
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by FIDH / OMCT
Paris - Geneva, September 2, 2010. Cambodians have faced increasingly severe restrictions on their freedom of expression since 2008, according to a new report by the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders.
The report, “CAMBODIA: Freedoms of expression, association and assembly: A shrinking space”, is the result of an international fact-finding mission carried out in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Ratanakiri (Cambodia), from February 14 to 24, 2010. The Observatory is a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) .
The Observatory found that trade union leaders, land rights activists and journalists have faced among the worst human rights violations, facing new legal restrictions and fierce retaliation for documenting and denouncing abuses. The trade union movement, for example, remains shaken by the assassination of three leaders of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia (FTUWKC) in 2004 and 2007 - Messrs. Chea VicheaRos Sovannareth (2004), (2004) and Hy Vuthy (2007). Their real assassins have yet to be brought to justice, and police investigations are at an apparent standstill.
Meanwhile, as of December 8, 2009, 52 land rights activists were detained in Cambodia’s prisons – most on trumped-up charges designed to remove them from their role as community leaders. Countless others have suffered forced evictions and harassment.
“Time and again we see the same pattern – those who dare to speak out against injustice are arrested, imprisoned and intimidated”, said Souhayr Belhassen, FIDH President. “The message to human rights defenders is clear: Be quiet, or the Government will forcibly silence you.”
The Government has also stepped up activity on the legislative front, enacting and proposing a trio of new laws which dramatically reduce space for freedoms of expression, assembly and association.
The Law on Peaceful Demonstrations, which places excessive restrictions on the freedom of assembly, was promulgated on December 5, 2009 and finalised without consultation of the civil society. The vague terms of the law give to the authorities sweeping discretion to deny Cambodians permission to peacefully assemble and protest. The Observatory believes that the law is inconsistent with Cambodia’s Constitution and the country’s international human rights obligations.
“The new law is worrisome because authorities often refuse to authorise demonstrations or delay granting authorisation until the eleventh hour, even though the letter of the law only contains notification requirements”, said Eric Sottas, OMCT Secretary-General. “It is yet another tool for the Government to silence its critics” he added.
The Government is also in the process of drafting a new law on trade unions and a law on NGOs and Associations. Local groups fear that these new laws are intended to restrict the lawful activities of Cambodian civil society organisations. All three laws were highlighted as a priority by Prime Minister Hun Sen in public statements, indicating that the current push was orchestrated at the very highest levels of Government.
In view of the information provided in the report, the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders recommends to the authorities of Cambodia:
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