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Justice for Cambodians

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Petition to the Parties to the Paris Peace Agreement 1991

‘Justice for Cambodians’

 Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has held onto power for over 30 years through a combination of corruption, intimidation and serious violence. He has ruled Cambodia with an iron fist and committed massive human rights violations comparable to some of the worst dictators. Under his authoritarian rule, widespread corruption has led to a failed judicial system, rigged elections, pillaging of natural resources and widespread homelessness through illegal land grabs.

 The number of innocent and villagers or poor urbanites adversely affected by land-grabbing since 2000 is now estimated to be around 830,000 people. This staggering figure is increasing by about 1000 people per week, or 50,000 per year.  At this rate, within three years, the number of people affected by illegal land seizures will reach 1 million. This has led to social unrest throughout the country as ordinary people try to protect their homes.

 A legal brief submitted on October 7th, 2014 to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court by Human Rights lawyer Richard J Rogers, outlines some of the worst human rights abuses committed by the Cambodian Ruling Elite, including senior members of the Cambodian People’s Party. The legal brief points out that most of the violations are interconnected - whether the forcible evictions of poor families, the assassination of trade union leaders, or the persecution of opposition figures; these are all part of a much broader policy, which is implemented by Cambodian State actors for the benefit of the Ruling Elite.

 Before the 2013 national election, Prime Minister Hun Sen warned of war if he lost the election. This type of threat and fear mongering has sadly become the norm in Cambodia. The real objectives of the Ruling Elite are self-enrichment - primarily through land-grabbing - and the preservation of power at all costs. The violent and sometimes deadly suppression of dissidents has become commonplace.

Enough is enough. We, the undersigned, believe that Cambodian people deserve justice and accountability for past and recent crimes. We deserve real democracy, not merely a façade. We deserve the engagement of an international community that respects its commitments under the Paris Peace Agreement.  Article 5(4) of the Paris Peace Agreement (1991) states that "In the event of serious violations of human rights in Cambodia, [the Parties] will call upon the competent organs of the United Nations to take such other steps as are appropriate for the prevention and suppression of such violations in accordance with the relevant international instruments.” 

 We, the undersigned Cambodian people urge the Parties to implement the Paris Peace Agreement by calling upon the competent organs of the United Nations to take the following steps:

  • The UN High Commissioner on Human Rights to initiate an International Fact Finding Mission to investigate the mass forcible transfer that has taken place in Cambodia over the last 30 years;
  • The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to urgently initiate an investigation into the alleged crimes committed by Cambodia’s Ruling Elite since 2002.

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