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Phoung Sopheap is one of the land rights activists now in prison. Photo:Licadho

Cambodia: Human rights activists imprisoned

On November 10 and 11, 10 Boeung Kak land rights activists were arrested while staging peaceful protests in Phnom Penh. By November 12, all had been sentenced to a year in prison. One of the imprisoned is Phoung Sopheap. 


Wave of arrests

The imprisonment of the women occured during a wave of arrests which targeted not only land rights activists but also opposition party members and activists monks. Eighteen of those arrested remain in detention. 

Every Sunday since the arrests, people have been gathering in Phnom Penh to peacefully protest and urge for the immediate release of the 18 activists. 

The women by the lake Boeung Kak

Phoung Sopheap is one of the women now in prison. She is a part of the land rights activists often called "the women by the lake". The name refers to Boeung Kak lake which was filled with sand when the area there suddenly was leased to a large company.

Already evicted twice

The land rights situation in Cambodia is severe. Phoung Sopheap has been evicted twice, firstly from Borei Keila and secondly from Boeung Kak. While she was living in Boeung Kak she started campaigning with other land rights activists.

In Thmor Kol, where she moved after the eviction from Boeung Kak, she faces the threat of eviction for a third time. She has now become a natural leader for the activists, having seen so many evictions and the consequences of them.

Phoung Sopheap has been arrested and detained once before for campaigning for land rights. 

The Diakonia partners Licadho and Equitable Cambodia are supporting the activists that so bravely struggle for human rights in Cambodia.