Press release | Aug. 3, 2016

Open letter to Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen

Dear Prime Minister Hun Sen,

Less than a month since activist and political commentator Kem Ley was gunned down in broad daylight in Phnom Penh, reports have surfaced that his friends and colleagues have been threatened and intimidated. Two activists, Chum Hour and Chum Hout, have reportedly fled to Thailand in fear for their lives. 

It is the duty of a democratic government to protect the rights and security of its citizens, including those who criticise it. As a signatory of numerous human rights conventions, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, we call on your government to guarantee the safety of these individuals and those who support them, and respect their right to freedom of speech.

Kem Ley’s murder is the most recent in a long line of violence against members of the opposition, activists and journalists, and is a damning indictment of the democratic process and rule of law in Cambodia. The early stages of the investigation into Kem Ley’s killing have done nothing to allay fears that, like the others before it, this investigation will fail to identify or prosecute those who ordered the crime.

Your government must urgently commission an independent and thorough investigation into Kem Ley’s murder. The hundreds of thousands of Cambodian citizens who took to the streets for his funeral procession, together with the widespread international condemnation of the killing, should leave you in no doubt that anything short of an independent investigation will lack any credibility. 

Yours sincerely,

Patrick Alley

Co-Founder & Director

Global Witness



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