A platform for voices supporting women's rights
Many of the protesters are women who have suffered personally the effects of losing a home that their family has lived in for decades.
After a 79+ million dollar corporate development land deal with the Cambodian government was made in 2007, displaced minority families in the northern Boeung Kak Lake region rose to 4,200, says human rights organization Amnesty International. The money for the real estate development scheme also included a 99 year lease, leaving little-to-no possibility for those families who want to return to their generational homeland. It also blocked them from ever being able to live there again.
Today those who continue to be affected most severely in this crisis include local women rights defenders and their families who are desperate to bring the issues of land rights and legal rights for minorities in Cambodia to the table with reform for Cambodia’s Land Rights law. There is a near universal consensus that forced evictions disproportionately affect women. The Phnom Penh movement proves that women can take action and do something about it. It challenges the stereotype of women as unaware of their rights and vulnerable, ‘easy targets’ for forced evictions.
On June 14, 2013 the Court of Appeal in Phnom Penh affirmed a guilty verdict on charges of aggravated assault against land-rights activist Yorm Bopha. Although the court reduced her sentence from three to two years, Bopha, 29, is convinced the decision came as a punishment for her activism. Women hold signs with Bopha’s pictures and wear headbands calling for her release. Chanting and singing, with flowers in their hands, they have been protesting in front of the Court of Appeal in Phnom Penh from early afternoon into the evening hours. When they learn of the courtroom verdict against Yorm Bopha, they call louder than before. Some women are crying.
Following the court’s decision, human rights groups around the world joined the called for Yorm Bopha’s immediate release, alleging lack of due process by the Cambodian courts. “I will appeal the court’s decision and will do everything to prove that I am innocent. I didn’t do anything wrong. I was just exercising my right to say what I think,“ said Bopha in a public statement made just after the courtroom announced her sentence.
For the full story: http://womennewsnetwork.net/2013/08/23/cambodia-forced-evictions-phnom-penh/