The UN’s outgoing human rights envoy to Cambodia on Friday accepted several petitions calling for the release of 11 activists jailed in November and his intervention in ongoing land disputes.
More than 50 people chanted and held signs aloft outside the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights offices in Phnom Penh until Surya Subedi appeared from the building at about 11 am and received a petition to release seven land activists jailed for “blocking traffic” outside Phnom Penh City Hall in November and four others who were arrested the following day while protesting the seven activists’ detention.
He was also presented with petitions relating to land disputes in Phnom Penh’s Boeng Kak, Borei Keila and Thma Koul neighborhoods and another from Preah Vihear province.
“I understand your problems and understand that land disputes and evictions are two of the main problems in Cambodia,” Mr. Subedi told the gathered crowd.
“I will push these issues with the government and will seek some intervention in your causes,” he added.
Prominent Boeng Kak land activist Yorm Bopha was hopeful that Mr. Subedi’s support could help the cause.
“We are happy to see that Mr. Subedi came to intervene for us and we believe him. “