This morning, around 80 community members came together to participate in an event in Cambodia to commemorate International Women’s Day.
Of the participants, around 30 were local schoolchildren, with members of social movements and civil society organisations also participating, including two from Messenger Band, one from Social Action for Change and one from Focus on the Global South.
Community members from Lor Peang shared their thoughts and experiences on women’s and land rights, especially in the context of their long-running land dispute against KDC International, which has greatly exacerbated their daily struggles:
“I struggle for my land but authorities were coming to suppress us; they were not coming to help us. We have to know weapons to fight back. What we can do is go to ask government to help to solve the land conflict for my community. What I expect and hope is to have justice for our community. I want to receive a gift from government to release Ms. Tep Vanny and the other five human rights defenders. Please Prime Minister come to visit our community to hear about the real land conflict with KDC company.” Ms. Keo Vannak, land activist at Lor Peang.
“I have a land conflict with KDC and my livelihood is very poor. No government institutions are helping to solve our land conflict.” Ms. Sim, female activist and widow at Lor Peang community.
“I lost my land in Lor Peang. When I lost my land I lost my livelihood; my husband passed away and I am living as a widowed mother. I have children who need me to support them so I go to work in the factory but it does not mean I no longer join the struggle of land. I still continue to join other activists when I am free. I would like the government to solve our land conflict urgently. I don't understand- today is Women's Rights day but why does the factory owner still work as normal?” Ms. But Touch, a factory worker in Lor Peang community.
“I have lost land in this community. Rights are stated in the declaration on human rights and other conventions; also it is included in Cambodia constitution. In Cambodia from my observation there is a lack of human rights respect and protection, including implementation.” Mr. Peng Rum from CNRP.
"Women play an important role in family and politics." Mr. Sgnoun Ngoun, a land activist at Lor Peang community.
“I was a former school teacher. I lost my position and career because of the land conflict with KDC company. My son joined school when he was 11 years old. The tactic of the company is for our community to lose the case and so we cannot continue our struggle. We have lost rights to live, land and livelihoods. What we fight for is justice and land for our community and generation.” Ms. Oum Sophy, Lor Peang community representative.