We, Cambodian Americans for Human Rights and Democracy (CAHRAD), express profound sorrow regarding the murder of prominent activist, Dr. Kem Ley, a popular political commentator and frequent critic of Prime Minister Hun Sen. Dr. Kem Ley was a renowned advocate of civil rights with a distinguished record combating deforestation, land-grabbing, social injustice, political corruption, illegal immigration, and among other issues.
We condemn, in no uncertain terms, the extralegal assassination of peaceful participants in civil society. Furthermore, we urge that independent body leads an impartial investigation in order to uncover the full size and scope of the crime and bring to justice all perpetrators and conspirators.
With the recent persecution of Cambodian NGO workers and political opposition members, it is very hard for the Cambodian people to accept that the killing of Dr. Kem Ley is over a personal loan. The Cambodian government must be transparent of this investigation to regain people trust. With the lack of transparency, the Cambodian people have good reasons to not trust the government or the ruling elite.
May a thousand people rise up in place of Dr. Kem Ley to continue his work in using peaceful means to combat social injustice for the Cambodian people, to free them from political repression, to fight against corruption that steal millions of dollars from the Cambodian people, to help them live in a fair and just society that will result in a higher standard of living.
We call on every person, organization, community and institution to help identify the real and evil persons behind this killing to bring them to justice so that this heinous crime will not repeat to the detriment of the Cambodian people and society.
We extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Dr. Kem Ley and to all those, in Cambodia and around the world, who loved and respected him. He will be severely missed, but the diligence of his life’s work will and must be continued.