In Cambodia Diakonia supports a variety of local and national NGOs, with a strong focus on human rights, democracy, gender equality and land rights. Some of the partners are large and well-known national NGOs located in the capital Phnom Penh, while others are located in rural areas.
Young population and lack of infrastructure
The country suffered traumatically from wars and the genocide of the Khmer Rouge, where an estimated 1.7 million people perished in the years 1975-1979 alone. Today Cambodia has a population of 15 million (2012). About one third of the population is under 15 years.
The poverty-ridden countryside of Cambodia lacks infrastructure, thereby requiring considerable investments to improve basic needs.
Signs that the democratic space is decreasing
Cambodia experienced a significant economic growth during the last decade, driven largely by an expansion in the garment sector, agriculture, and tourism. But development took a general downturn in 2009 due to the global financial crisis, which affected all sectors in society. At the same time, tensions in society increased, and there is a general view that the democratic space is rapidly decreasing. Diakonia plays an important role as a bridge-builder between partner organizations by arranging opportunities for organizations to share and learn from each other.
Focus on land rights
Cambodia's development has been accompanied by widespread land grabbing perpetrated against poor farmers and communities, as well as in urban areas. Land is converted to large plantations of sugar, rubber and other industrial products mainly for export. Approximately half of the country's arable land has been appropriated by agro-businesses and mining companies. Hundreds of thousands of people have been evicted from their land in recent years.
With this situation, Diakonia works together with our partner organizations LICADHO and Equitable Cambodia to advocate for people's land rights and access to natural resources. Much of the protests are however met with force by the police and military.
All Diakonia partners in Cambodia are human rights NGOs working directly with communities. This includes work with para-legal support and work to achieve justice for victims of violations.
Through the work of Diakonia and our partner organizations, hundreds of thousands of people have become aware of their human rights. By encouraging people to organize themselves, a successful contribution to the general development of the community has been made.
As a result of the support from our partner organizations, people affected by land grabbing have successfully defended their rights. Women are the ones standing at the forefront of those struggles and increasingly gained leadership in their communities.
Read more about our work in Cambodia
Kry Suntha is dedicated to change the work environmentAt first Kry Suntha wasn’t interested in joining the union – that would only cause problems he thought. But he learned more and decided to start a union group. Now – after more than ten years of struggle - he...
Sambo’s struggle for land rights lives in her husbandChhit Sambo was dedicated to the fight for villagers’ land rights and gained many good results. Now she has passed away, and her husband is committed to her legacy and to let the struggle continue to live.
CambodiaIn Cambodia, Diakonia supports a variety of local and national non-governmental organisations working on human rights, democracy, gender equality, good governance and social and economic justice. Diakonia in Cambodia
Fighting for beer workers' rightsMara Priem is one of many so called beer workers in Cambodia, but maybe more courageous than most. Despite threats of loosing her job, Mara is now fighting for better conditions and she's not giving up until...
Knowledge is a weapon to change working conditionsMassage workers at one of Siem Reap’s biggest massage centres were treated more or less as slaves. They were asked to work 12 hours or more a day, they had no annual leave and only received 55 dollars a month -...
Tep Vanny – standing up for land rights in CambodiaTep Vanny is a passionate changemaker who is working courageously alongside others so that people living in poverty can gain power over their own lives. Tep Vanny in Cambodia leads a successful work for land rights
Nget Khoun – fighting for the poorNget Khoun is a passionate changemaker who is working courageously alongside others so that people living in poverty can gain power over their own lives. 72-year old Nget Khoun in Cambodia fights for people in poverty
Cambodian partner organizations discuss land grabbing and partnership with DiakoniaIn Cambodia, land grabbing is a growing problem for people in poverty, as their homes are taken away from them with limited compensation. Diakonia's partner organizations STT, CLEC and LICADHO are currently in Sweden to share the situation and what needs to change in Cambodia. More about the partners
Cambodia: Tep Vanny receives the Global Leadership AwardFor several years, Tep Vanny, the former housewife, have been standing in front of riot fences, protesting against the way she and other people have been treated in regards to land rights. Now she has received the Global Leadership Award for her continuous struggle. Read more about Tep Vanny's price