English


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Destination Justice supports the Petition to the International Association of Prosecutors


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GENEVA, 5 September 2017 Dear members of the IAP Executive Committee and the Senate, Dear members of the IAP, In the run-up to the annual conference and general meeting of the International Association of Prosecutors (IAP) in Beijing, China, the undersigned civil society organisations urge the IAP to live up to its vision and bolster its efforts to preserve the integrity of the profession. Increasingly, in many regions of the world, in clear breach of professional integrity and fair trial standards, public prosecutors use their powers to suppress critical voices. In China, over the last two years, dozens of prominent lawyers, labour rights advocates and activists have been targeted by the prosecution service[1]. Many remain behind bars, convicted or in prolonged detention for legal and peaceful activities protected by international human rights standards, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Azerbaijan is in the midst of a major crackdown on civil rights defenders, bloggers and journalists, imposing hefty sentences on fabricated charges in trials that make a mockery of justice[2]. In Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkey many prosecutors play an active role in the repression of human rights defenders, and in committing, covering up or condoning other grave human rights abuses[3]. Patterns of abusive practices by prosecutors in these and other countries ought to be of grave concern to the professional associations they belong to, such as the IAP. Upholding the rule of law and human rights is a key aspect of the profession of a prosecutor, as is certified by the IAP’s Standards of Professional Responsibility and Statement of the Essential Duties and Rights of Prosecutors, that explicitly refer to the importance of observing and protecting the right to a fair trial and other human rights at all stages of work[4]. Maintaining the credibility of the profession should be a key concern for the IAP. This requires explicit steps by the IAP to introduce a meaningful human rights policy. Such steps will help to counter devaluation of ethical standards in the profession, revamp public trust in justice professionals and protect the organisation and its members from damaging reputational impact and allegations of whitewashing or complicity in human rights abuses. For the second year in a row, civil society appeals to the IAP to honour its human rights responsibilities by introducing a tangible human rights policy. In particular: We urge the IAP Executive Committee and the Senate to: introduce human rights due diligence and compliance procedures for new and current members, including scope for complaint mechanisms with respect to institutional and individual members, making information public about its institutional members and creating openings for stakeholder engagement from the side of civil society and victims of human rights abuses[5]. We call on individual members of the IAP to: raise the problem of a lack of human rights compliance mechanisms at the IAP and thoroughly discuss the human rights implications before making decisions about hosting IAP meetings; identify relevant human rights concerns before travelling to IAP conferences and meetings and raise these issues with their counterparts from countries where politically-motivated prosecution and human rights abuses by prosecution authorities are reported by intergovernmental organisations and internationally renowned human rights groups. Supporting organisations Amnesty International Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, Benin Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa, Kwekwe Article 19, London Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) Asia Justice and Rights, Jakarta Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP), Chiang Mai Asian Human Rights Commission, Hong Kong SAR Asia Monitor Resource Centre, Hong Kong SAR Association for Legal Intervention, Warsaw Association Humanrights.ch, Bern Association Malienne des Droits de l’Homme, Bamako Association of Ukrainian Human Rights Monitors on Law Enforcement, Kyiv Associazione Antigone, Rome Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House in exile, Vilnius Belarusian Helsinki Committee, Minsk Bir-Duino Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek Bulgarian Helsinki Committee, Sofia Canadian Human Rights International Organisation, Toronto Center for Civil Liberties, Kyiv Centre for Development and Democratization of Institutions, Tirana Centre for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights, Moscow China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group, Hong Kong SAR Civil Rights Defenders, Stockholm Civil Society Institute, Yerevan Citizen Watch, St. Petersburg Collective Human Rights Defenders “Laura Acosta” International Organization COHURIDELA, Toronto Comunidad de Derechos Humanos, La Paz Coordinadora Nacional de Derechos Humanos, Lima Destination Justice, Phnom Penh East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project, Kampala Equality Myanmar, Yangon Faculty of Law – University of Indonesia, Depok Fair Trials, London Federation of Equal Journalists, Almaty Former Vietnamese Prisoners of Conscience, Hanoi Free Press Unlimited, Amsterdam Front Line Defenders, Dublin  Foundation ADRA Poland, Wroclaw German-Russian Exchange, Berlin Gram Bharati Samiti, Jaipur Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly Vanadzor, Yerevan Helsinki Association of Armenia, Yerevan Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, Warsaw Human Rights Center Azerbaijan, Baku Human Rights Center Georgia, Tbilisi Human Rights Club, Baku Human Rights Embassy, Chisinau Human Rights House Foundation, Oslo Human Rights Information Center, Kyiv Human Rights Matter, Berlin Human Rights Monitoring Institute, Vilnius Human Rights Now, Tokyo Human Rights Without Frontiers International, Brussels Hungarian Civil Liberties Union, Budapest IDP Women Association “Consent”, Tbilisi IMPARSIAL, the Indonesian Human Rights Monitor, Jakarta Index on Censorship, London Indonesian Legal Roundtable, Jakarta Institute for Criminal Justice Reform, Jakarta Institute for Democracy and Mediation, Tirana Institute for Development of Freedom of Information, Tbilisi International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) International Partnership for Human Rights, Brussels International Service for Human Rights, Geneva International Youth Human Rights Movement Jerusalem Institute of Justice, Jerusalem Jordan Transparency Center, Amman Justiça Global, Rio de Janeiro Justice and Peace Netherlands, The Hague Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law, Almaty Kharkiv Regional Foundation Public Alternative, Kharkiv Kosovo Center for Transparency, Accountability and Anti-Corruption – KUND 16, Prishtina Kosova Rehabilitation Center for Torture Victims, Prishtina Lawyers for Lawyers, Amsterdam Lawyers for Liberty, Kuala Lumpur League of Human Rights, Brno Macedonian Helsinki Committee, Skopje Masyarakat Pemantau Peradilan Indonesia (Mappi FH-UI), Depok Moscow Helsinki Group, Moscow National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders, Kampala Netherlands Helsinki Committee, The Hague Netherlands Institute of Human Rights (SIM), Utrecht University, Utrecht NGO “Aru ana“, Aktobe Norwegian Helsinki Committee, Oslo Pakistan Rural Workers Social Welfare Organization (PRWSWO), Bahawalpur Pensamiento y Acción Social (PAS), Bogotá Pen International, London People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD), Seoul Philippine Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA), Manila Promo-LEX Association, Chisinau Protection International, Brussels Protection Desk Colombia, alianza (OPI-PAS), Bogotá Protection of Rights Without Borders, Yerevan Public Association Dignity, Astana Public Association “Our Right”, Kokshetau Public Fund “Ar.Ruh.Hak”, Almaty Public Fund “Ulagatty Zhanaya”, Almaty Public Verdict Foundation, Moscow Regional Center for Strategic Studies, Baku/ Tbilisi Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), Lagos Stefan Batory Foundation, Warsaw Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM), Petaling Jaya Swiss Helsinki Association, Lenzburg Transparency Anti-corruption Center International , Yerevan Transparency International Austrian chapter, Vienna Transparency International Republika Česká, Prague Transparency International Deutschland, Berlin Transparency International EU Office, Brussels Transparency International France, Paris Transparency International Greece, Athens Transparency International Greenland, Nuuk Transparency International Hungary, Budapest Transparency International Ireland, Dublin Transparency International Italia, Milan Transparency International Moldova, Chisinau Transparency International Nederland, Amsterdam Transparency International Norway, Oslo Transparency International Portugal, Lisbon Transparency International Romania, Bucharest Transparency International Secretariat, Berlin Transparency International Slovenia, Ljubljana Transparency International España, Madrid Transparency International Sverige, Stockholm Transparency International Switzerland, Bern Transparency International UK, London UNITED for Intercultural Action the European network against nationalism, racism, fascism and in support of migrants, refugees and minorities, Budapest United Nations Convention against Corruption Civil Society Coalition Villa Decius Association, Krakow Vietnam’s Defend the Defenders, Hanoi Vietnamese Women for Human Rights, Saigon World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, Harare Footnotes  [1] As documented by a number of internationally renowned human rights organisations, including Human Rights Watch and the ICJ. See, for example, the HRW World Report 2017, China and Tibet, available at: https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2017/country-chapters/china-and-tibet; China: call for action at UN on lawyers and other human rights defenders, available at: https://www.icj.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/UN-HRC34-China-JointLetter-Advocacy-2017.pdf. [2]  The Functioning of the Judicial System in Azerbaijan and its Impact on the Fair Trial of Human Rights Defenders, Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights and Netherlands Helsinki Committee 2016, available at: http://www.defendersorviolators.info/judiciary-in-azerbaijan. [3] See, for example: Human Rights and the Professional Responsibility of Judges and Prosecutors in the Work of CCJE and CCPE. Observations to the CCJE-CCPE Joint Report on “Challenges for Judicial Independence and Impartiality in the Member States of the Council of Europe”, Netherlands Helsinki Committee and Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights 2017, available at: https://www.nhc.nl/assets/uploads/2017/06/20170331-Observations-to-CCJE-CCPE-Report.pdf. [4] Standards of Professional Responsibility and Statement of the Essential Duties and Rights of Prosecutors adopted by the International Association of Prosecutors on 23 April 1999. [5] See, for example, Options for Promoting Human Rights Compliance by the International Association of Prosecutors, policy brief, October 2016....


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Destination Justice is proud to support RoCK in organising the 2017 ILGA-ASIA Regional Conference


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Phnom Penh – Destination Justice is proud to support Rainbow Community Kampuchea (RoCK) and ILGA-ASIA in organising the 7th ILGA-ASIA Regional Conference. The first Conference one to be held in Cambodia. The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersexual Association (ILGA) organises regional conferences every two years. In 2015, the Conference gathered 360 participants in Taiwan. This year, Rainbow Community Kampuchea (RoCK), a member of ILGA is hosting the Conference in Phnom Penh 4 to 8 December 2017. The Conference will gather LGBTIQ activists, experts and scholars working on SOGIESC issues and all other allies from around 30 to 40 countries. The Conference acts as a regional forum where LGBTIQ activists, experts and scholars, and allies gather to exchange on regional trends. This year topic of interest may include engagement with human rights monitoring mechanisms, national human rights institutions and governments; youth participation and empowerment; resource mobilisation; family acceptance and support; physical security for LGBTI human rights defenders; sexual and reproductive health and rights.   The goals of this year conference will be: – To review adversities against LGBTI communities in Asia during the past 2 years and brainstorm countermeasures; – To create a safe space for LGBTIQ human rights defenders to freely discuss their works, share best practices in tackling SOGIESC-based violence and discriminations, lobbying changes in national laws and policies and advocating for LGBTI rights at the international levels; – To identify and agree on collective strategies and priorities for regional advocacy and cross-country collaboration; – To strengthen the solidarity amongst LGBTIQ activists in Asia for a strong and united regional movement; – To elect leadership and representatives for the Asian LGBTI communities for 2017-2019.   Registration for participants is still open, you can register here.   For other information, check out the Conference website or contact ILGA-ASIA at asia2017@ilga.org....


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Justice Matters Conference 2017 advocates for better legal aid and information


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Phnom Penh – On 17 July 2017, on World Day for International Justice, celebrating the adoption of the Rome Statute, Destination Justice and the Ministry of Justice organised the Justice Matters Conference at the Cambodiana Hotel in Phnom Penh. The Conference’s objective was to empower policymakers, practitioners, academics and anyone interested in improving the Cambodian justice system by developing and facilitating tools and collaborations. Of the 114 people who attended the Conference, 75% thought the objectives of the Conference were met. Featuring discussions with experts and scholars from civil society, the royal family and the government, the conference included many panel discussions on various topics essential to justice in Cambodia.  The first panel discussion revolved around international justice in Cambodia, as panelists reflected on the best practices of the ECCC and how such practices could be applied in local courts. The second and third panels discussed more exclusively domestic issues including access to legal information and legal aid. After panelists engaged in such important topics and, in keeping with the goal to create collaborative solutions for issues, the conference featured a pitch session where civil society organisations had the opportunity to pitch potential projects that would aim to improve justice in Cambodia. Young researchers and students were also featured at the conference. Specifically, the conference ran a parallel call for papers and video competition, and the winners of each had their work presented and celebrated. These sessions showed the importance of engaging youth to support a future of justice and collaboration in Cambodia. The Conference, made possible by the support of Transparency International Cambodia, the European Union and the Swedish Embassy, proved to be a successful and engaging day debating important topics related to legal issues in Cambodia. The conference illustrated that, through collaboration and sharing of ideas, we can strengthen justice in Cambodia and abroad.   Check out the Photo Album....


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A shrinking space for Human Rights Defenders in Asia


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Phnom Penh, Monday 29 May – Today, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights Defenders, Michel Forst, had an unofficial visit in Phnom Penh at Heinrich Böll Stiftung. Mr. Frost gave a brief overview and explained various trends and situations of Human Rights Defenders across the world and the region of Southeast Asia. Mr. Forst discussed new trends where governments are now implementing and creative laws to criminalize activities of Human Rights Defenders and reduce spaces for civil societies. In addition, Mr. Forst emphasized the importance of a gendered analysis to his work, as women Human Rights Defenders (in addition to LGBTIQ defenders) are usually at a higher risk than other defenders. Moreover, the importance of engaging not only with governments but also companies in investigating potential impacts of the work and safety of Human Rights Defenders is important. Companies can have a large impact on the work of eco-defenders especially, as the work of mining and other extraction companies can be in opposition to the work of defenders of the environment or land use. In the end, Mr. Forst encouraged the audience to support Human Rights Defenders and become defenders themselves. Moreover, he hoped that the government of Cambodia would invite him to complete a report on the situation of Human Rights Defenders in the country. More on the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defendeurs’s work and publications. More on Destination Justice’s Justice for All program: Alternative Human Rights Defenders: Justice For One, Change for All...


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Advice of Cambodian Women of Power for Int’l Women’s Day


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International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, and to promote gender equality. This year, the celebration turned to a day of protest to remind us that this day is still highly needed as women around the world, are still suffering from disparities in terms of education, health, work, and remain at risk of different kinds of violence, and poverty. At Destination Justice, we strongly support Women’s rights, and we are advocating for them. Women’s Rights are Human Rights. In this regards, Destination Justice’s team in Cambodia, through Destination Justice’s social enterprise the Justice Café & Library and its Justice Ambassadors*, worked along the French Embassy in Cambodia to produce a short documentary. Titled “Being a Woman of Power in Cambodia”, the short documentary aims at discussing the place of women in the Cambodian society through the interviews of renowned Cambodian women who have accessed position of power. The video presents five (5) Cambodian women: H.E. Ing Kanta Pavi, Minister of Women’s affairs, H.E. Kim Sothavy, Judge at the Supreme Court, Dr. Pung Chhiv Kek, director of LICADHO, Mrs. Ung Chansophea, TV producer and presenter on CTN, and Mrs. Ung Nary, executive manager for ANZ. Each one of them shares important, inspiring, and humorous anecdotes about their everyday struggle as women in the Cambodian society. This documentary aims at spreading the idea that women can have position of power, and fulfill their dreams, even though they seem unreachable at first. All interviewers are also giving a set of advice to the younger generation of women to help them reach such dreams. We invite you to listen to them in the documentary. The projection has been warmly welcomed by the audience of all genders gathered that day, at the French embassy, in Phnom Penh.   ***About the JCL ‘s “Justice Ambassadors” program The Justice Café & Library’s program “Justice Ambassadors” aims to empower, and engage young people, with the purpose of helping them becoming change makers. For this project, Ratha and Sofok, under the supervision of Destination Justice, were able to contact all the interviews, recording the audio and the sound, as well as assisting the French Embassy with the editing and subtitling of the video. Given the success of the aforementioned program, it will be reconducted in 2017. For more information on the program please contact the JCL team at phnompenh@justice.cafe...


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USCIRF Condemns Trial Outcome of Ethiopian Muslim Leaders


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Last February, the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights issued provisional measures against Ethiopia in the case of 29  Ethiopian Human Rights Defenders brought by Dr. Ibrahim and Dr. Allo and supported by Destination Justice. Destination Justice welcomes the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom’s recent statement condemning the convictions and sentencing of 18 Muslims leaders in Ethiopia. “These individuals were peaceful advocates for religious freedom,” said USCIRF Chairman Dr. Robert P. George. “This trial was a continuation of the Ethiopian government’s use of the anti-terror law to stifle human rights advocacy and dissent.” Read the USCIRF’s press release here. * * * For more information about the case in general, contact Dr. Abadir Ibrahim, Dr. Allo, Ms. Silvia Palomba and Ms. Doreen Chen at info[@]destinationjustice.org. Abadir Ibrahim and Awol Allo are independent legal experts who, with the support of Destination Justice, have assisted the 29 HRDs on a pro bono basis.  Destination Justice is an independent non-profit law, governance and development organisation; to read more about the organisation, click here.  Silvia Palomba and Doreen Chen are international lawyers and Destination Justice Principal Consultant; to read more click here....


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Open Dialog Foundation and Destination Justice wish to raise awareness of the practice of persecuting independent advocates currently in place in the Republic of Moldova


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EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini European Neighbourhood Policy & Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn The President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker European Parliament President Martin Schulz PACE President Pedro Agramunt OSCE PA President Christine Muttonen United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein Notwithstanding its obligations, the Moldovan government has clearly deviated from the democratic course it claims to be following and from its duty to respect, protect and fulfill human rights. We urge the international community to react to this practice and remind the Moldovan authorities that persecuting advocates because of their professional activity and their criticism of the ruling elite is contrary to Moldova’s international obligations. Last October, the law-enforcement agencies  of Moldova  reopened the case against Ana Ursachi – a renowned Moldavian lawyer –  for  a murder that occurred  19 years ago. In 1997, the case against Ana was dismissed because of lack of evidence. Open Dialog Foundation and Destination Justice regard the reopening of the case to be unlawful because it was done in flagrant contravention of the current statute of limitations and of  the 14 May 2015 ruling of the Constitutional Court of Moldova of which declared  unconstitutional the multiple prosecution of the same person for the same act. The criminal case against Ana was reopened in October 2016 shortly before she started defending Vyacheslav Platon (Kobalyev), one of the main opponents of Vladimir Plahotniuc, an influential Moldovan oligarch and politician. Platon (Kobalyev) is one of the key witnesses in two corruption  cases allegedly involving Plahotniuc: the stealing of 1 billion dollars from the state budget of Moldova by means of declaring 3 Moldovan banks bankrupt (in November 2014), and  the  the laundering of 21 billion dollars through the banking system of Moldova. Platon (Kobalyev) declared his availability to give testimony to the American and European investigating officers with regard to Vladimir Plahotniuc’s possible involvement into these cases. In addition to Platon (Kobalyev)’s case, there are other well-founded reasons to believe that there is a link between Vladimir Plahotniuc and the reopening of the case against Ana Ursachi. Notably, Ana defended the interests of many other opponents of Vladimir Plahotniuc. On behalf of her clients, for example, she published evidence concerning Plahotniuc’s involvement in corruption and transportation of drugs to the EU and US. Apart from criminal prosecution, Ana Ursachi is also the subject of a smear campaign launched by the media owned by Plahotniuc. In particular, his TV channels aired the documentary film entitled The Devil’s Advocate, which portrayed Ana Ursachi as the  leader of a criminal organization which functioned in Moldova in the 1990s and which was allegedly involved in the 1997 murder case recently reopened against her. This clearly violates the principle of the presumption of innocence. Moreover, Ana Ursachi faces pressure through other means. For instance, on 21 November 2016, an unlawful search was performed in the apartment of Ana’s parents, conducted at night time (after 10 p.m.) and in the absence of Ana’s lawyers. Her 72-year-old father and 19-year-old son were present in the apartment at the time of the search. As a result of the search, Ana Ursachi’s personal computer and tablet computers were seized and confidential information regarding her clients were obtained in complete disrespect of attorney-client privilege. On 5 December 2016, it became known that the authorities furthermore opened a questionable criminal case against Eduard Rudenco, Ana Ursachi’s lawyer. Though the case was opened in April, 2016 Rudenco was notified only few months ago and, curiously, only when he formally took the defence of Ana Ursachi. The criminal proceedings opened against Ana Ursachi and Eduard Rudenco are clearly being used as a means through which to prevent them from defending their clients. Open Dialog Foundation and Destination Justice call upon the international community to stop the practice of persecuting independent advocates in Moldova. We urge the governments of the United States and of other European countries, together with the competent bodies of the EU,  the OSCE, PACE and the UN to take the following actions: Strongly and publicly condemn the persecution of Ana Ursachi and Eduard Rudenco. Restrict the financial and legal assistance given to Moldova until the criminal proceedings against Ana Ursachi and Eduard Rudenco are dismissed. Suspend cooperation with the law enforcement agencies of Moldova until the criminal proceedings against Ana Ursachi and Eduard Rudenco are dismissed. Prevent the misuse of the Interpol instruments to support the political persecution of which Ana Ursachi and Eduardo Rudenco are victims. Silvia Palomba | Director DESTINATION  JUSTICE    Telephone: +33 (0) 4 50 83 48 80 E-mail: silvia@destinationjustice.org  Lyudmyla Kozlovska | President Open Dialog Foundation   Telephone: +48 507 739 025 E-mail: lyudmylakozlovska@odfoundation.eu  Upload the full statement here....


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Khniom Chang Doeung: What is SOGIE?


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In the wake of International Human Rights Day, Rainbow Community Kampuchea (RoCK) and Destination Justice are releasing a new episode of Khniom Chang Deung (“I want to Know”) addressing the topic of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Gender Expression (SOGIE).  This episode is part of the fruitful collaboration between the two organisations and hopes to support RoCK’s effort in sensitizing the Cambodian people to the issue of SOGIE. About SOGIE Sexual Orientation refers to an individual’s physical, romantic sexual, and/or emotional attraction to a specific gender or genders. As such, individuals may identify themselves as lesbian or gay (that is, when they are attracted to the same gender as theirs), bisexual (that is, when they are attracted to both female and male genders), asexual (that is, when they do not have sexual feelings or desire towards any gender), or straight (that is, when they are attracted to the opposite gender). Gender expression may be expressed in particular through behaviour, dress, voice, names, and pronouns an individual may use to identify themselves. For example women dressing and behaving like men is the expression of their gender. This is the same for men dressing and behaving like women. Gender identity refers to a person’s deep internal feeling of who they truly are, even if who they are is opposite to society’s traditional expectation of them. For example, a transgender woman is born in a man’s body but has a deep internal feeling that she is truly a woman; also a woman who loves other women (a lesbian) knows this as the truth inside her even though society traditionally expects her to love a man. As such, SOGIE constitutes a spectrum and is a shared characteristic among all human beings, not only those individuals identified as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, or Queer. LGBTIQ individuals may fear discrimination on the basis of their SOGIE in many areas of their lives. These areas include, but are not limited to, access to education, healthcare, employment, or even marriage. While the Cambodian legal framework forbids any form of discrimination, no explicit regulation exists so as to specifically address forms of discrimination faced by LGBTQ individuals based on their SOGIE. Interview Sofok Sorng, now a Project Officer with Destination Justice, was assigned to the animation of the video. He would like to share with us what was his experience while working on the video. What’s your name, your age, and your province of origin? My name is SORNG Sofok. I’m 23 years old. I’m from Siem Reap. How did you first know about “LGBT”? I’ve known about “LGBT” since High School when I participated in a small conference organised by RHAC (Reproductive Health Association of Cambodia) on sexual education. While they talked about the necessity of condoms,  they also mentioned a bit issues linked to LGBTI issues. Why did you join the Rainbow Justice project? I joined the Rainbow Justice project because I wanted to know more about LGBTI people, and to learn how to protect them by creating a greater acceptance as well as open minds about us. What inspired you to work on this educational video on SOGIE? There are a lot of discriminations against the LGBTI people in many area of their life such as family, relatives, school and work, and most of it comes from the fact that Cambodian people do not know about sexual orientation, gender identity and expression clearly. I joined the group and did the SOGIE video because it is a key to show what the LGBTI people are going through. What did you learn in making the video? Working on the video was a great experience because I learned a lot about the LGBTI community and its members. I learned that LGBT stand for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender, and that there are also transexual, intersex and queer people. It is the first time for me to think about a person who was born with two biological organ reproductives. Intersex people, even if they existed since the birth of Earth, are very new for Cambodian people. What do you want people to learn from the video? People will know how do LGBTI people feel and how hard discrimination can affect them. The video includes different characters of the LGBTI community member that are animated. By making them appearing as real people at the end of the video, we want to show that no matter what their SOGIE is, everybody is human and should live equally. Do you think the video will change something? The video is very important to spread knowledge to all the Cambodian people. It is understandable for children, people in the countryside, and older generation. I hope that this video will make a change in creating more acceptance from the Cambodian people to the LGBTI people and that it will diminish discrimination. What advice would you give to someone discriminating LGBTI people? I think that we should not discriminate LGBTI people because of who they are. Discrimination is a source of war, and since we are all human, we should live together happily to create a better place for peace and love. If you want to know more about the Rainbow Justice Project, contact us at rainbowjustice@destinationjustice.org...


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Access to Law & Justice: Destination Justice signs MoU with Transparency International Cambodia


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After the success of the Justice Matters Conference in July 2017 highlighting the need to all work together for better justice in Cambodia, we are proud to announce the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding with Transparency International Cambodia (TIC) setting access to legal information and improvement of justice as the main purpose of our collaboration with specific activities to unfold in 2016-2017....


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Peace & Better Justice in Cambodia: Destination Justice & Youth for Peace sign MoU


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Youth for Peace is a Cambodian NGO that offers education in peace, leadership, conflict resolution, and reconciliation to Cambodian’s Youth. Destination Justice and Youth for Peace (YFP) have been in contact since the end of 2013 and started to explore opportunities to work together. In 2014, we attended an event organised by YFP and started to record some footage in Kraing Ta Chan with the idea of eventually producing a documentary about the former Khmer rouge security. This is our pleasure to announce that we have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Youth for Peace setting youth empowerment to promote peace and better justice in Cambodia as the main purpose of our collaboration with specific activities to unfold in 2016-2017. Photo Credit: Mural at the Kraing Ta Chan former Khmer rouge security centre, by Rudi Towiro Photography....


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International Law Protections for Minority Groups’ Right to Self-Identify


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International law protects minority groups' right to self-identify in several key ways, confirms a new briefing paper released by Destination Justice today, "International Law on Minorities' Right to Self-Identify". The briefing paper explains that minority group protections stem from one core international law principle that states are prohibited from discriminating against a person on the basis of their race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. ...


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Destination Justice and Transparency international celebrate World Day for International Justice with Justice Matters Conference


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‘The Justice Matters Conference aims to gather the community of changemakers to celebrate international justice and its importance for strengthening domestic justice in Cambodia. We look forward to collaborating with all parties to grow shared understanding of justice and a common way forward for all Cambodian people.’ Rodolphe Prom, President of Destination Justice ‘International Justice Day highlights the fundamental role the judiciary in Cambodia should play to ensure a stronger rule of law and better access to justice for all. We humbly urge all relevant stakeholders to reform the judiciary to ensure its independence and restore public trust.’ Preap Kol, Executive Director of Transparency International Cambodia On 15 July 2016, in honor of the World Day for  International Justice celebrating the adoption of the Rome Statute, Destination Justice, with the support of the Swedish Embassy and Transparency International, organised the Justice Matters Conference at the Intercontinental Hotel in Phnom Penh. As Cambodia is one of the two ASEAN countries that signed and ratified the Rome Statute and one of the few countries ever to host a UN-backed domestic tribunal, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), we believe the celebration of its adoption was a great opportunity to gather and talk about why justice matters as well to show how  the pursuit of international justice can strengthen domestic justice in Cambodia. Various stakeholders and guest speakers from the Swedish Embassy, the ECCC, OHCHR, Pannasastra University, the Royal University of Law and Economics, the Documentation Centre of Cambodia, Women Peacemakers were invited to talk about their views and to share their experience. Since each of these groups are currently playing a strong role in the development of the Cambodian legal and judicial system, It was an important opportunity to engage in conversation about why fair, independent and transparent justice matters in Cambodia. The World Day for International Justice was also the occasion to unveil the Justice Matters exhibit combining ICC panels and new panels we created showcasing the impact of international justice through the ICC and the ECCC on the domestic justice of Cambodia. The conference, made possible through the generosity of the Swedish Embassy, illustrates the importance of collaboration and communication as we grow a dialogue on why justice matters and how we can strengthen it together, both in Cambodia and around the world....


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Destination Justice welcomes the UN Human Rights Council adoption of a Resolution for an Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity


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Geneva, 4 July 2016 – On 30 June 2016 the UN Human Rights Council, in its 32nd session, passed a ground-breaking resolution that will establish the first global-level Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transexual (LGBT) monitor in the form of an Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.  Through this historic appointment, the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) reaffirms its commitment to eradicating violence and discrimination against LGBT people around the world. The resolution was introduced by the core seven Latin American countries and received support from more than 600 civil society organisations.  Among the HRC members, 23 states voted in favour of the resolution, 18 against with 6 abstaining. While this is not the first HRC resolution addressing sexual orientation and gender identity, it is the broadest in scope and most ambitious to date, coming just after the UN Security Council’s unprecedented condemnation of the Orlando attacks in the USA.  Previous resolutions have authorised reports on discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender indentity.  The current resolution, by contrast, signals a more active engagement with LGBT rights advocacy.  The Independent Expert will have a powerful mandate to address violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, exercising a strategic role in assessing existing human rights law, identifying gaps in legal protections, developing best practices, engaging in dialogue with States and other stakeholders, and in facilitating the provision of advisory services, technical assistance, and capacity building strategies to help end violence and discrimination against LGBT people at a global level.  The Independent Expert will be a welcome addition to other ongoing UN LGBTIQ intitiatives, such as its global public education campaign, ‘Free & Equal’, which focuses on education as a tool to end homophobia and transphobia.  The Office of the Independent Expert will add much-needed weight behind this advocacy, working to change laws as well as minds. This resolution signifies the building momentum behind LGBTIQ rights advocacy and confirms Destination Justice’s commitment to working to end injustice against members of the LGBTIQ community.  Through its Rainbow Justice Project, the Destination Justice team in Cambodia has been working with grassroots NGO, Rainbow Community Kampuchea (RoCK), on promoting human rights for LGBTIQ members through projects such as  the ‘Guide to Human Rights for LGBTQ in Cambodia’ in English and Khmer.  The team is now working on an educational video to promote SOGIE understanding countrywide. Destination Justice’s pro bono Associates are currently drafting a report on the status of LGBTIQ human rights defenders in Southeast Asia.  This forthcoming report, based on analysis of the UPR recommendations made to Southeast Asian countries regarding their treatment of their LGBTIQ communities and their approach to SOGIE non-discrimination.  The report will be released in September 2016. For more news on #RainbowJustice, follow us on Facebook.  For more information, please contact: Ms. Doreen Chen, Director, at doreen@destinationjustice.org....


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The UN Human Rights Committee raises serious concerns about the full implementation of freedom of expression and political participation in Kazakhstan


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Geneva 23 June 2016 – On 22 and 23 June 2016 the UN Human Rights Committee – the body that monitors the implementation of the rights enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) – reviewed for the second time since Kazakhstan is a party to the ICCPR the status of civil and political rights in the country. The Government of Kazakhstan submitted its initial periodic report to the Committee in 2009 and was reviewed in 2011. Already at that time, the UN experts expressed concerns about the Government’s failure to implement the right to freedom of expression pretected under Article 19 of the ICCPR. The experts recommended Kazakhstan “to review its legislation on defamation and insults to ensure that it fully complies with the provisions of the Covenant”. Furthermore, it observed that “the State party should desist from using its law on defamation solely for purposes of harassing or intimidating individuals, journalists and human rights defenders”. On the occasion of the second periodic report, in the aftermath of the Zhanaozen massacre, the crackdow on the media and the more recent abuses committed on the land reform protesters, Destination Justice and the Open Dialog Foundation submitted a joint report to the UN Human Rights Committee aimed at submitting precise information on the implementation of the right to freedom of expression in Kazakhstan. Destination Justice and the Open Dialog Foundation denounce that since its first review the situation in Kazakhstan has effectively worsened and that Kazakhstan unjustifyably restricts the right to freedom of expression and political participation in the country. We, thus, welcome the strong position of the members of the Human Rights Committee on the implementation of Kazakhstan’s obligations under the ICCPR, including in the area of freedom of expression and political rights. We were pleased to see many of the concerns expressed in our joint submission reflected in the Members’ oral statements and questions raised during the interactive dialogue. In particular, we commend the Committee for having addressed the long debated issue of vague and imprecise articles on extremism and on incitement to social, national, tribal, racial, class or religious hatred, both often abused by the authorities with the aim of silencing the civil society, independent media and political opposition. The Committe cited the case of Vladimir Kozlov to show how such broad charges can be used against any opposition party or activists. The Open Dialog Foundation has long called on the international community to take up the issue before the Kazakh authorities.   The expert members also reiterated their concern over the preventive arrests and detentions carried out by the police forces prior to and during the land-reform related protests on 21 May 2016, seeking clarificarion on the legal basis and possible chilling effect relating to these administrative detentions. The Open Dialog Foundation had strongly criticised the mass detentions, used to prevent and discourage people from exercising their right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. Moreover, the Open Dialog Foundation and Destination Justice handed the experts an updated list of activists, journalists and bloggers recently arrested and jailed for having expressed their criticism of the planned land reform or having supported the protests, in some cases exclusively on-line on their social media profiles. Many of the comments of the Committee members referred to the questionable banning and closure of the independent media outlets, officially motivated by minor infractions, as well as to the disproportionate sanctions against journalists charged with defamation or dissemination of knowingly “false information”. Finally, the recently introduced law on communications, also analysed in the joint Destination Justice and Open Dialog Foundation submission, raised serious concerns over the protection of users’ privacy and data and the state’s growing surveillance of citizens’ private communication. The Open Dialogue Foundation and Destination Justice appreciated Kazakhstan’s declaration of readiness for a constructive dialogue with the Committee. We look forward to the Committe’s concluding observations and expect their prompt implementation by the Kazakh authorities.   For more information, please contact: Ms. Anna Koj, Head of the EU office of the Open Dialogue Foundation at a.koj@odfoundation.eu . Ms. Silvia Palomba, Director Destination Justice France at silvia@destinationjustice.org ....


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The Open Dialog Foundation and Destination Justice bring international attention to violations of freedom of expression in Kazakhstan


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On 22-23 June 2016, the UN Human Rights Committee will consider the implementation of Kazakhstan’s obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).  Destination Justice and the Open Dialog Foundation presented the Committee with a report in which they drew the Committee’s attention to the gross violations in Kazakhstan of freedom of expression and dissemination of information – rights protected under the Covenant. Through the use of oppressive policies and legislations, Kazakhstan has unjustifiably restricted the right to freedom of expression and information of journalists, lawyers, human rights defenders and critics of the government and its representatives. By doing so, Kazakhstan has undermines the  essence of the right and violated its international committments. The new 2015 Kazakh Criminal Code contains vague and politicised charges mainly used to prosecute journalists, activists and opposition politicians. In particular, long-term imprisonment is envisaged as punishment for defamation under the Code (Article 130); for insulting the president or a representative of the authorities (Articles 373, 375, 376, and 378); for interference of members of public associations with the activity of state bodies (Article 403); for inciting social, national, tribal, racial, class or religious hatred (Article 174); and for disseminating of knowingly false information (Art. 274). According to official data, from January to November 2015, the Kazakh authorities initiated 88 cases under Article 174 of the Criminal Code and 67 cases under Article 274 of the Criminal Code. The Kazakh government continues to detain Vladimir Kozlov: a prominent political opponent who is serving a 7.5-year prison for inciting social discord and calling for the overthrow of the constitutional order. Other egregious examples include the cases of Yaroslav Golyshkin and Gyuzyal Baydalinova, respectively sentenced to 8 and 1.5 years in prison for their journalistic activities. In addition to criminal sanctions, the provisions of the Civil Code on the protection of reputation (Articles 141 and 143) are used by the authorities to crack down on opposition journalists by imposing excessive penalties on them. For example, the editors-in-chief of the Nakanune.kz portal, the newspaper ‘Zhas Alash’ and the magazine ADAM received fines respectively for 61,000 euros, 101,000 euros and 126,300 euros. These are significant fines considering that the minimum monthly wage in Kazakhstan is 61 euros. Moreover, Articles 451, 453 and 456 of the Administrative Code allow the authorities to suspend the circulation of media outlets for minor technical violations (namely, errors in specifying the output data). New amendments to the law on “Telecommunications”, “Mass Media” and “Combating Terrorism” also established new avenues through which to silence dissent. For example, the prosecutor’s office is now able to block the operation of Internet websites without a court trial if it deems them to be used in criminal activities or it recognizes them as extremist. The Kazakh Ministry of Investment has now the authority to monitor the media and to halt the spread of “illegal information.” Under the Administrative Code, outspoken media outlets have been shut down through court trials which are frequently carried out with gross violations of fair trial principles. In 2012, 34 non-state media outlets were banned. Subsequently, the operation of the newspapers Assandi Times, ‘Pravdivaya gazeta’ [‘The Truthful Newspaper’] and the magazine ‘ADAM Bol’ were also suspended. It is also commonplace for websites or individual journalistic articles to be blocked in Kazakhstan. The Kazakh authorities have repeatedly refused to decriminalize defamation, insulting and disseminating of knowingly false information under the justification that these crimes are necessary to stop the attempts to “use free speech” against the “interests of the individual, society and state”. The authorities also expressed support for the measures taken to suspend or block media outlets with the aim of “ensuring information security”. Already in 2011, the UN Human Rights Committee recommended Kazakhstan to review its legislation regarding information, pointing to the many incidents of persecution of journalists, human rights defenders and activists. The imprisonment of the journalist Gyuzal Baydalinova and the recent mass arrests of activists who supported protests against changes of the land law demonstrate that the government has taken no steps in respect of implementing that recommendation. On the contrary, it has become increasingly repressive and has consistently encroached on the space to exercise freedom of expression in Kazakhstan. The Open Dialog Foundation and Destination Justice therefore have urged the UN Human Rights Committee to strongly recommend Kazakhstan, among other things, to: Immediately cease the practice of intimidating, harassing, arresting, and prosecuting journalists, bloggers and civil society activists for exercising their right to freedom of expression and information. Immediately end the practice of closing, suspending, blocking and obstructing the work of all media outlets. Ensure that effective judicial remedies are in place so as to allow courts to i) review those sentences and penalties that have been imposed on the basis of legislation that is contrary to Article 19 of the ICCPR, and ii) provide adequate compensation in the event of miscarriage of justice. Amend the legislation relevant to the field of press and information in accordance with international standards on freedom of expression. A more detailed analysis of the implementation of the freedom of expression in Kazakhstan and more examples of violations can be found in the report submitted by Destination Justice and the Open Dialog Foundation at the following link: http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=INT%2fCCPR%2fCSS%2fKAZ%2f24045&Lang=en   The Open Dialog Foundation was established in 2009 and has its representative offices in Warsaw (Poland), Kiev (Ukraine) and Brussels (Belgium). The statutory objectives of the Foundation include protection of human rights, democracy and rule of law in the post-Soviet area, with particular attention focused on the largest countries in the region: Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine. Website: http://en.odfoundation.eu/   Destination Justice was established in 2011 with offices in France and Cambodia. Destination Justice is a community committed to ending injustice. Structured as a non-profit, its work focuses on strengthening human rights and the rule of law through activities such as the provision of legal services to vulnerable populations and partner organisations. Website: http://destinationjustice.org/   For more detailed information, please contact: Silvia Palomba, Director Destination Justice France  – silvia@destinationjustice.org Lyudmyla Kozlovska, President of Open Dialog Foundation – lyudmylakozlovska@odfoundation.eu Igor Savchenko, Analyst of Open Dialog Foundation – igor.savchenko@odfoundation.eu...


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Destination Justice Finds Violations of Fair Trial Rights and Threats to the Freedom of Expression in Trial of Malaysian Human Rights Defender Lena Hendry


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Phnom Penh, 14 April 2016 – Destination Justice released a report today documenting its findings following the monitoring of the trial of Malaysian human rights defender Lena Hendry, who was arrested, criminally charged, and acquitted in connection with the screening of the film “No Fire Zone: In The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka” (NFZ) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Wednesday 3 July 2013.   Destination Justice’s trial monitoring report expresses concerns as to the fairness of the December 2015 to February 2016 trial, highlighting a number of irregularities with regard to equality before the law, equality of arms, and several other basic principles of criminal justice and human rights, as well as the threat posed to freedom of expression in Malaysia by the Film Censorship Act. “Freedom of expression is one of our fundamental freedoms.  Under international law, States can introduce laws limiting the freedom, but only to a degree, and any prosecution for any alleged violations of those laws must ensure defendants enjoy the minimum international law guarantees for a fair trial”, said Destination Justice Director Doreen Chen.   The defendant in the observed case – Lena Hendry, 31, a Malaysian Human Rights defender (HRD) working as a program coordinator for the Malaysian NGO Pusat KOMAS – was arrested and released on bail on 4 July 2013 following the private screening of the documentary “No Fire Zone: In the Killing Fields of Sri Lanka” directed by the UK award-winning director Callum Macrae.  She was charged under Section 6 (1)(b) of the Film Censorship Act (2002).   After a failed challenge by Ms. Hendry’s defence as to the constitutionality of the Film Censorship Act, the accused went on trial in the Magistrate’s Court in December 2015.   At trial, procedural irregularities that Destination Justice’s monitor observed included violation of  the right to a fair trial based on the lack of defence access to the prosecution’s evidence; the right to have access to a duly reasoned and written judgement; and, the right to equality before the law and to equality of arms due to communication of the facts of the case amongst the witnesses, and between the witnesses and the prosecution through a WhatsApp group. On 10 March 2016, the Magistrate ruled that the prosecution failed to establish a prima facie case against Lena Hendry, and dismissed the case, acquitting Ms. Hendry.  However, the prosecution has appealed this judgement.  Thus, Ms. Hendry may be subject to further investigations or a retrial. Destination Justice encourages the Malaysian government to take all necessary measures to adhere to the principles enshrined in international covenants and treaties, including the UDHR and ICCPR, and therefore to repeal or amend the Film Censorship Act to comply with the right of the freedom of expression enshrined in the Federal Constitution of Malaysia at Article 8.  Destination Justice further urges the Malaysian government to tackle the clear deficiencies in its criminal justice system as highlighted in the trial monitoring report. Read the report: Destination Justice – Trial Monitoring Report – Lena Hendry...


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Destination Justice releases “Cambodia at a Crossroads: On the Road to Rule of Law” documentary calling for a change in road behaviour


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On Saturday, March 26, 2016, Destination Justice premiered its newest documentary, “Cambodia at a Crossroads: On the Road to Rule of Law” to the general public in a screening and talk at The Justice Cafe & Library in Phnom Penh....


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Release of the Guide to Human Rights for LGBTQ in Cambodia


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The ‘Guide to Human Rights for LGBTQ in Cambodia’, a collaboration between Destination Justice and Rainbow Community Kampuchea (RoCK), has been released on 10 December 2015, and is now available online in English and in Khmer. The guide is available on chbab.net in English and in Khmer....


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Australian Deterrence Policy towards Asylum Seekers in question


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Geneva, Switzerland.  Destination Justice together with Franciscans International and Edmund Rice International presented a side-event on the “Human Rights of Asylum Seekers to Australia” during the 30th session of the UN Human Rights Council, on 15 September 2015. The event was well attended and attracted the attention of a number of Permanent Missions including Australia, Canada, Germany, Indonesia, Russia and the UK who sent representatives. Phil Glendenning, Director of the Edmund Rice Centre in Sydney and President of the Refugee Council of Australia addressed the meeting via Skype and was able to give the audience an insight into the Australian policy relating to the processing and detention of asylum seekers. He noted the emphasis on deterrence, rather than protection and human rights of people as driving the policy. He also reminded the audience that despite being demonised as ‘illegal’ by the Australian government these people were innocent of any wrong-doing and were exercising a fundamental right set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Carol Hucker, a former case worker and counsellor gave personal testimony to events and human rights abuses she had witnessed while working on both Manus and Christmas Islands. Carol told harrowing stories of the detainees she had met and described the conditions they experienced, highlighting the inedible food, sub-standard accommodation, inadequate medical care, loss of personal property and violence perpetrated by staff – with apparent impunity. Beyond these physical considerations however, Carol highlighted the loss of hope and personal dignity (detainees are addressed by a number rather than their names), the anxiety brought about through the indefinite nature of the detention. In her presentation, Rachel Ball from the Human Rights Law Centre in Melbourne, cited the many instances in which the Australian policy regarding the processing of asylum seekers has been criticised by the UN for failing to meet international human rights standards and  detailed how the Australian legislation violates international law. She also highlighted the need for Australia to demand greater accountability for the respect for human rights on the part of the private businesses contracted to operate the detention centres. All speakers drew attention to the detention of children, with its adverse effect on their access to education and their mental health (one 6 year old had attempted suicide). The response of the Australian government that “the best interest of the child is outweighed by other policy considerations” was noted with concern. In response the Australian government representative declined to comment on specific issues raised, but stressed the willingness of the Australian government to continue to engage with civil society in order to listen to concerns and work to improve the situation in the detention centres. A number of common recommendations were put forward by the speakers; among them, Australia was recommended to repeal mandatory detention and children detention provisions and to ensure that migrants’ protection claims are properly assessed and independently monitored....


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The Justice Café & Library Opens its Doors in Phnom Penh


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On Friday, 3 July 2015, in a quiet corner of Phnom Penh, Destination Justice officially opened the doors to its new Justice Café & Library.  The café brings to life a simple concept: to support, connect, and inspire young people advocating for better justice in Cambodia. “In Cambodia, freedom of expression, association and thought are increasingly under threat.  The Justice Café & Library is our response to that: it’s a safe and participatory space where young people can meet and develop ideas that can change the world,” said Destination Justice’s President Mr. Rodolphe Prom. One way the Justice Café & Library hopes to inspire change is by providing access to resources.  This includes free wifi, tablets, and a physical/electronic library focused on human rights, rule of law, education, innovative ideas, and social change stories.  This is a rarity in a country with hardly any libraries at all and the first free resource centre in Cambodia dedicated to young people and advocating justice. Destination Justice’s staff, who work next door, are on hand at the café to offer advice and research support.  Another source of inspiration are the social changemakers who participate in the Justice Café & Library’s regular events including workshops, film screenings, and trivia and game nights. Most recently, on 17 and 18 July 2015, four young Cambodian justice leaders led interactive dialogues celebrating International Justice Day.  The discussions engaged young people on the importance of international and local justice.  Upcoming events at the café include a workshop on LGBT rights and a Mario Kart Wii tournament. Ms. Sophanny Mom, a Justice Ambassador and Associate Consultant at Destination Justice, said that the Justice Café & Library offered “the perfect balance; it lets me grab my favourite cappuccino, fight off sleep, and appreciate all the great books and resources available at the café!”. A striking feature of the café is that it was not only created for young people but also created by them.  Most furniture and design features in the café were hand-built by Destination Justice’s young Cambodian and international team, who used local and recycled materials — and plenty of elbow grease and positive thinking — to transform an empty space into a vibrant epicentre for change in just a year’s time. The other essential ingredient in the Justice Café & Library’s success has been sponsorship.  In particular, French financial advisory firm CFIDEV provided a start-up grant to fund initial construction; countless individuals and organisations donated all of the available resources; graphic designers created the logo and other artwork free of charge; and several volunteers have helped build and now run the café.  Further sponsorship in any form would be very welcome — whether it be through financial support, expertise, equipment or café stock, volunteers, or sponsorship of a scholarship for a Justice Ambassador. The Justice Café & Library is the latest project from Destination Justice, a start-up non-profit law, governance and development organisation.  Destination Justice aims to strengthen human rights and rule of law in a pragmatic, collaborative, sustainable and holistic way.  It was established in 2011 with headquarters in France, a sister association in Australia, and a field office in Cambodia. All profits from the Justice Café & Library are reinvested directly into Destination Justice’s advocacy for better justice in Cambodia, making our work sustainable in the long-term.  Our work includes Justice Roadshows where Destination Justice’s team travels around Cambodia speaking to young people about what justice should be and what it means to them; and the Justice Ambassadors project, providing training and mentorship to young Cambodians interested in careers in the justice sector. CONTACTS AND FURTHER INFORMATION: Media and sponsorship inquiries should be directed to Rodolphe Prom at info [@] destinationjustice.org. Further information on the Justice Café & Library can be found here: Website: http://www.justice.cafe Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/justicecafepp Instagram: http://instagram.com/justicecafepp Ways to get involved or sponsor the café: http://justicecafe.destinationjustice.org/contribute Latest events at the café: http://justicecafe.destinationjustice.org/events Full list of materials in the library collection: http://justicecafe.destinationjustice.org/library Further information on Destination Justice can be found here: Website: http://destinationjustice.org Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/destinationjustice LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/company/destination-justice Instagram: http://instagram.com/destinationjustice Twitter: @DestnJustice More photos on the Facebook pages of the Justice Café & Library and Destination Justice....


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Award Ceremony for “Outstanding reporting on Corruption in Cambodia 2015”


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On Wednesday 22 July 2015, Transparency International Cambodia in cooperation with the Club of Cambodian Journalist launched the first journalism award ceremony for “Outstanding reporting on Corruption in Cambodia 2015”. The ceremony took place at the Himawari Hotel in Phnom Penh and aimed at rewarding and encouraging Cambodian journalists who are committed to fight corruption.   During the ceremony, Mr Ok Serei Sopheak, Transparency International Cambodia’s Board Chairman, first explained how corruption is widespread in the society and that it remains endemic among local politicians and officials.  He added that the utopian goal of a corruption-free society will be a challenging journey.  He insisted on the fact that “we all need to collaborate to eliminate it” – even if it is a tremendous challenge.  That formed the baseline of this award ceremony.  One of the most effective way of fighting corruption is the use of independent and free media which are an extremely powerful tool to spread information well as naming and shaming the corrupted authorities.  But “reporting corruption requires courage from  journalists”. Moreover, youth is the best catalyser when it comes to fight corruption thanks to the use of social media.  It belongs to the next generation to take on and continue the fight against corruption with dignity and integrity.  Mr Ok Serei Sopheak added that “the information power is in [the youth] hands”.   Then, Senior Minister Dr. Om Yentieng, President of the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU), reaffirmed the crucial role of media.  He said that “the role of journalists in the decision making is extremely important, as media need freedom to fit the information […] and they have also a role to educate the society, and not to perpetuate its mistakes”.  Senior Minister Dr. Om Yentieng finally added that “anti-corruption reporting must be based on anti-corruption law” which gives journalists a legal framework for their report and that “journalists need to build up their capacities and skills to improve their ethic and professionalism [on such sensitive topics]”. Finally, Mr. Chhay Sophal, Executive Director of the Club of Cambodian Journalists explained the procedure that had been followed by the jury to give the scores to the contestant and announced the award winners. Were awarded Mr. Phak Seangly from the Phnom Penh Post, Mr. Im Navin from Radio France International, Ms. Khorn Champa from ThmeyThemey, Mr. Aun Chhengpor and Mr. May Titthara, both from the Phnom Penh Post.  ...


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Celebrating International Justice Day 2015 in Cambodia #JusticeMatters


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17 July is widely known as International Justice Day.  It celebrates the anniversary of the adoption of the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 1998. As of today, 123 States signed the Rome Statute thus recognizing the importance and the necessity of an independent and permanent International Criminal Court. The ICC is the first permanent international tribunal that has jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for the gravest crimes: war crimes, genocide and crime against humanity. Since 11 April 2002, Cambodia is a Member to the Rome Statute, being one of the few Asian States to agree to the international criminal law principles. It signaled the government’s commitment to uphold the principles of justice protected by the Statute.     Destination Justice’s Justice Matters program focuses on raising awareness among the Cambodian youth about the importance of justice.  Destination Justice Team makes it its mission to promote and celebrate International Justice Day every year by organising a different set of events that will foster discussions around international and local justice.  This year, Destination Justice chose to put on stage young legal leaders that were able to give a second breath to the international justice’s landscape and to draw inspiration among juniors.   On 17 July 2015, Destination Justice with the Royal University of Law and Economics (RULE)’s Pôle de Cooperation Française, held a workshop engaging students to discuss how justice matters to them.  Around 30 students from different years and programs joined the two-hour event. Destination Justice Team first gave some insights of its work regarding access to justice and the improvement of the rule of law before explaining to the students the international and Cambodian students the meaning of the International Justice Day.  The debate’s first round focused on the meaning of justice.  As per answers, the students defined justice as “fairness”, “equality before the law”, “truth”, “responsibility”, “non-discrimination”, and “transparency”.   Then, a discussion was engaged involving all the students  on whether justice matters in the Cambodian context and what solutions could be developed to improve it. The workshop received a warm welcome from the students, some of them joined the Destination Justice Team later on at its newly opened Justice Café & Library to pursue discussions on #JusticeMatters. [fbalbum url=https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.838840736212612.1073741840.272305039532854&type=3 limit=7] Part of the celebration, the portable version of the ICC exhibit #JusticeMatters was displayed at the Justice Café & Library while conversations with special guests on justice took place. Destination Justice Associate Consultant and former AIJI Trial Monitor, Chhaya Chhin, gave a talk about his experience as a trial monitor at the ECCC, and was joined by one of his former colleagues working now for the Supreme Court. The conversations continued the next day. Noyel Ry, an ECCC Defense Case Manager, discussed the difference of the Law “de jure” and “de facto”, in other words, the theoretical and implementation of the Law in the Cambodian context.  She encouraged the law students in being more involved, for instance by attending trials when they are open to the public as it is one of the best ways to observe the concrete application of their theoretical education. Sivhoang Chea, an ECCC Associate Legal Officer and Greffier, first explained the division of case 002 into two cases (002/1 and 002/2), before highlighting some of the ECCC’s procedures such as the examination of the witnesses or the preparation of legal documents.  She focused then on the role of greffier within the context of the ECCC including its interactions with other staff members that can turn into interactions of cooperation or contention. Sophary Noy, an ECCC Defense Legal Consultant, discussed about fair trial right in International Justice based on Article 10 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other internationally recognised principles such as the right of the accused, right to legal representation, or the presumption of innocence. The set of events received a warm welcome from the attendees who enjoyed talking about how justice matters to them in the safe and engaging space that the Justice Café & Library offers. More on Justice Matters Program Contact us...


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ICIRD Conference 2015: Business and Human Rights in ASEAN: Case study of Cambodia


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On 9-10 July 2015, the 4th International Conference on International Relations and Development was held at Mahidol University in Bangkok (Thailand). The ICIRD provides a platform for academic analysis and exchanges on ASEAN, as well as critically addressing issues of human rights, development, democracy, governance, peace, etc. in Southeast Asia from interdisciplinary perspectives. The forum is open to academics, researchers, graduates, civil society organisations, government officers and regional as well as international organisations. The 2015 Conference focused on “Traversing the next ASEAN: Challenges and prospects in Development, Democratisation, Human Rights and Peace”. The conference was hosted by the Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies of Mahidol University and co-organised with Thammasat University, Chulalongkorn University, and Chiang Mai University. Special focuses were drawn in plenary sessions on the “Situation and experience of Rohingya as rejected people”, on “The power of “I” as Identity, Intersections and Interests Living SOGIE in ASEAN”, and on “The democracy drawbacks in Southeast Asia”. Six parallel sessions were organised where forty panels discussed ASEAN politics; Labour, Migration and Refugees; Development and Business; Regional and State policy; Environment issue; Conflict Management and Resolution; Governance and Democracy; Indigenous and minority rights; Human Rights. Regarding the current state of politics and internal affairs in Thailand (i.e. the release from detention by a military court of 14 students facing sedition charges after organised an anti-coup peace rally on 26 June 2015), the conference organisers congratulated themselves that no incident happened allowing critical and constructive discussions.   As a PhD student affiliated to Aix Marseille University (France) and a Destination Justice’s affiliate Consultant, I presented a paper studying the case of Cambodia within the context of business and human rights in ASEAN and globally. Abstract: In this context of growing international concerns over human rights fundamental principles enforcement in and by businesses, ASEAN member states are due to integrate into an ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by the end of 2015.  Nonetheless, to date, there remain large gaps to be filled in a very small amount of time in order to create a functional and sustainable common economic market ­ gaps which have been highlighted by the AEC’s detractors.  The most obvious gap appears between the economic development of each country.  The second is the vast difference between each country’s human right compliance record, as well as their level of implementation of the law in general.  If these issues remain unaddressed by ASEAN and each of its member states, they could damage the realisation and long-term viability of what will become one of the biggest economic entities in the world. A case study of the state of business and human rights in Cambodia will encompass the need for a better implementation of the UN “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework as well as the need for a more comprehensive enhancement of private initiatives such as the ILO Better Factories Cambodia Program   The full paper can be downloaded here....


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The Justice Café’s Grand Opening


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The Justice Café & Library started with a simple idea: having a space so young people can have access to resources and share ideas to change the world. While we were running other projects, we invested our time and resources in actually building the café with our bare hands (and some tools!). Because this project is a cause close to our heart, we raised the bar high. We wanted to have a space that looked like us, that was really inviting and had all the equipment necessary to run a broad range of activities. It took us a year, some resources (a huge thank to our sponsor CFIDEV for the boost) and a lot of elbow grease (thanks to our fabulous team) to reach our goals....


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Corruption Perceptions In Cambodian Small and Medium Enterprises


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  Phnom Penh, 27 May 2015 – Transparency International Cambodia releases the first research report on corruption perceptions in Cambodian small and medium enterprises. Conducted by a team of Destination Justice over the course of six months under the guidance of Transparency International Cambodia, the research is based on desk research and interviews with one hundred chief executive officers, directors and general managers of SMEs. Check out TIC’s website for the press release and the link to the report....


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Destination Justice Petitions the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in the Case of Mansur Mingelov


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On 22 May 2015, Destination Justice filed a petition with the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD) against the Government of Turkmenistan, calling for urgent action and the immediate release of Turkmen citizen and minority rights advocate Mansur Mingelov. The American Bar Association (ABA) Center for Human Rights has supported Destination Justice’s efforts through its Justice Defenders Program, which coordinates pro bono legal support to human rights defenders....


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Attending the ASEAN Civil Society Conference / ASEAN People’s Forum Malaysia 2015: Reclaiming the ASEAN Community for the People


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Background – For its tenth anniversary, the ASEAN Civil Society Conference / ASEAN People’s (ACSC/APF) gathered around 1,500 representatives of civil society organisations (CSOs) from 11 countries (the ten ASEAN countries plus Timor-Leste) on 21-24 April 2015 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The purpose of the ACSC/APF is to deliver a joint statement and recommendations for the ASEAN Leaders regarding the ASEAN Summit which are submitted to the ASEAN Secretariat and the government representatives even if these recommendations could not be delivered during open spaces for dialogue scheduled with ASEAN Leaders. Malaysia, as ASEAN Chair country for 2015, decides to focus this year talks on a “people oriented and people centered ASEAN”. This theme carried a lot of questions during the ACSC/APF from the attendance wondering how the ASEAN could be people-centered when ASEAN is seen as an elite organisation by the People. But beyond this assumption, the CSOs spend these four days, raising awareness on local and transnational rule of law, human rights and environmental issues, debating the upcoming ASEAN Economic Cooperation (AEC) and its impact on Migrant Workers, challenging politicians and parliamentarians about their commitment to their voters, and working together to propose recommendations to the ASEAN Leaders who will gather in Kuala Lumpur on 24-27 April 2015. The Malaysian National Organising Committee (MNOC) in charge of this year’s Forum decided to center the debates around 4 axes: Development Justice; Democratic Process; Non discrimination and Equality; and, Peace and Security. These themes governed the four plenary sessions and no less than 70 workshops, as well as a field visit to an indigenous community, 4 pre-session workshops, a Film Festival, a Walk and a lot of punctual events happening throughout the Forum.   ACSC/APF 2015 Highlights – One of the highlights of the Forum was the “Town hall open discussion between civil society and Parliamentarians” (APHR) which gathered Parliamentarians from Myanmar, Malaysia (ruling party and opposition), Indonesia, Cambodia, Thailand, Singapore. They had to answer questions the future of ASEAN, the main issues faced by their home-country, the meaning of the ASEAN People community, and how they are working with CSOs. All of them agreed on the necessity of redefining the principle of non-interference, proposition renewed by Former Malaysian Foreign Minister, Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar during its keynote address at the opening dinner on Wednesday 22 April. Indeed countries interfere with each other policies all the time regarding business and investments but refuse to do so when its human rights or rule of law related. According to Mu Sochua (Cambodian National Rescue Party Representative), “we need to built a bridge from already empowered people to the ASEAN which include free and fair elections, multipartism and direct democracy”. Kraisak Choonhavan (MP in Thailand before the 2014 Coup) added that “only CSOs are working crossborders, but parliamentarians should too besides being directed by business and investments”. Finally, they all agree with Charles Santiago (Malaysian MP) that “ASEAN, for now, is an elite project and does not benefit the people” and questioned the fairness of the AEC regarding the fact that huge gaps exist inside each country and within the countries themselves.   Four plenary sessions were held gathering politicians and CSOs representatives on stage before a 1,400 audience. The first one focused on “Toward a People-Centered ASEAN” was addressed by Datuk Paul Low, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department who advocate that “Human rights is not a zero-sum game but the ultimate realization of the worth and value of people. Human security is a human right and so is the right to development. Yet with the administration of government, the realization of human rights in the context of national and regional diversity at times pose a real conundrum for governments.” The Second plenary session was CSOs-centered  with representatives from Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar and the Philippines, and focused on “Reclaiming the ASEAN community for the people”. Issues regarding migrant workers (documented and undocumented) as well as transnational environmental concerns were raised. Indeed there are millions of migrant workers in the ASEAN Countries who are leaving and working without legal protection both from their home country and host country. The 2007 Cebu Declaration, or ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers, is currently a non-binding document which can’t answer the millions of workers’ issues. To answer to that, a coalition of NGOs drafted the ASEAN Standard and Mechanism to protect the rights of workers which is comprised of a binding declaration and a reporting mechanism that will be proposed soon for adoption to the ASEAN Leaders. The third and four sessions focused on the AEC, with a session addressed by Hon. Corazon Juliano-Soliman, Secretary, Department of Social Welfare and Development of the Republic of Philippines, on “Where should People be in the ASEAN Economic Community”, and the other session on “Making AEC People-responsive” addressed by Anthony Tujan (Philippines, IBON), Tan Sri Dr Munir Majid (Malaysia, Chair of ASEAN Business Advisory Council), Eni Lestari (Indonesia, International Migrants Alliance) and Dr Seree Nonthasoot (Thailand’s representative to the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR)). These plenary sessions were interspersed with three series of parallel workshops (with 33 workshops by serie). These workshops were an occasion for the CSOs to meet up and to draft common recommendations, to develop new partnerships, or to address safely critical human rights issues as the one of the LGBTIQ community, homosexuality being still criminalised in half of the ASEAN countries. The workshops were also a place to inform the ASEAN CSOs community on current ASEAN initiatives and politics, and to advocate for the inclusion of the environment as ASEAN  fourth pillar raising awareness on multiple environmental issues faced by ASEAN countries and their citizens among them the most vulnerable being the indigenous people.     Aside these plenary sessions and workshops, several flash mobs took place asking for the return of Sombath, a Lao activit who “disappeared” two years ago; the end of death penalty, the non-signature of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP); the no-construction of the Don Sahong Dam in Laos which would irreversibly damage the ecosystem life of the Mekong and the life of Millions of Cambodian, Vietnamese and Lao People, etc. Activists and lawmakers of the region tried to raise awareness among the attendance on the issues they are facing on daily faces, and on how CSOs could help each other working together and / or sharing their remedies. During the last day, the ASEAN walk allowed them all to advocate their issues in the street and to attract the People, Medias and ASEAN Leaders’ attention.   Major Statements and Commitments – One of the major concern raised by the Civil Society and the former leaders of ASEAN regards the Rohingya crisis and how ASEAN is dealing with it. Indeed for Charles Santiago and Malaysian Parliamentarians, resolving Rohingyas statelessness issues is central to Malaysia’s Leadership of ASEAN and they called on the ASEAN Leaders to act on it. A Malaysian Parliamentarian, Nur Jazlan committed himself to draw the attention of the Malaysian Parliament during the next session about the issue of the Don Sahong Dam. Initially, taken part in the forum to learn more of the people’s concern and to listen to experiences of other Asean members countries, he was “especially [touched by] the environmental issue of the Don Sahong Dam being built in the Laos part of the Mekong River by a Malaysian company. We’ve realised the detrimental effect this project has on the environment”.   For more information and details on the ACSC/APF 2015, check out the website or Facebook page.  ...


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Destination Justice and RoCK sign MoU


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Destination Justice is proud to announce the signing of an MoU with the Rainbow Community of Kampuchea (RoCK), a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) support and advocacy organisation....


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Interim Victory at the African Commission for 29 Ethiopian Human Rights Defenders


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On 15 February 2015, the African Commission on Human and People's Rights (the African Commission) issued its first-ever provisional measures against Ethiopia in a case championed by legal experts Dr. Abadir Ibrahim and Dr. Awol Allo with the support of Destination Justice Principal Consultants Silvia Palomba and Doreen Chen and their Litigation Program team....


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KAS’s Law Talk March 2015: Cambodian Constitution Law – Implications for State Organisation and Basic Rights


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Upon Konrad-Adenauer Stiftung (KAS)’s invitation, around 30 Cambodian and International legal experts gathered last weekend in Sihanoukville to debate constitutional and rule of law reforms in Cambodia. This forum had two main objectives. The first one was to discuss the “Electoral, Parliamentary and Political Party Reform” as well as basic constitutional rights, their international foundations and legal enforcement in Cambodia. A special focus was given on the second day on the analysis of the newly adopted Electoral Law which was explained from the CPP’s perspective by H.E. Sik Bunhok, the CNRP’s perspective by H.E. Yem Ponhearith, and the civil society’s perspective by COMFREL.   The second objective for KAS was to gather the authors of the soon-to-be published “Handbook on the Development of Cambodian Constitutional Law”, providing them with the opportunity to network and to share their work and analysis with a wider audience. It was a pleasure for Destination Justice to attend this event, we welcome KAS’s initiative on this handbook on Constitutional Law and look forward to the publication. It will hopefully be a useful resource to develop our Annotated Cambodian Constitution and generally speaking legal information on our legal website Chbab.net.  ...


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