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ICC NOTE: Cambodia has a long history of human rights violations and the infamous Khmer Rouge regime which saw the deaths of millions of Cambodian citizens. The current Cambodian government has held power for nearly three decades limiting its people’s freedoms and incarcerating political and religious activists. Currently four individuals from the human rights group ADHOC have been held on charges of bribery. Crackdowns on political dissidents and human rights activists have been rather quiet in terms of reaching the media, but like many nations in Southeast Asia stories which paint the regime in a poor image have difficulty reaching the public view. 

6/2/2016 Cambodia (Global Voices) – Every Monday since May 9 of this year, activists in Cambodia have been urging the public to wear a black t-shirt in support of a campaign advocating the release of jailed human rights activists.

The “Black Monday” campaign was initiated after police arrested four officers from the human rights group ADHOC and an election official on charges of bribing a woman to remain silent regarding a sex scandal involving Kem Sokha, the country’s second-most prominent opposition leader. ADHOC insists the group was merely extending legal aid to the woman as part of its advocacy work.

The detention of the activists and the criminal charges against members of the political opposition inspired various groups to come together to form the “Black Monday” campaign, which the government has labeled an “urban insurrection.” Officials have also threatened to arrest more activists, if protests are held without the required permits. Police have even told activists that they must first obtain the state’s permission before posting contrary views on Facebook.

The “Free Human Rights Defenders” campaign can be monitored online using the hashtag “#FreeHRDKH.”

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