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On this 68th Anniversary of the International Human Rights Day, December 10, 2016, the Cambodian Americans for Human Rights and Democracy (CAHRAD) joins people around the world in the celebration of this auspicious day and to mourn countless people who have fallen for the defense of these sacred rights that they were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice.

The United Nations’ theme for this year is to "Stand up for someone's rights today." Many activists have said that your government or the rich and powerful may violate your neighbors’ rights today.  Tomorrow, they might violate your family’s rights and then one day they will violate your own rights.  That is if you don’t stand up for someone’s rights today, one day it will be your rights that will be violated.  Let’s help improve the system so that one day it will be fair to everyone including ourselves, our family and our neighbors. 

Our family or your family may be powerful at the moment.  It does not mean that it will last forever; nothing lasts forever according to the Buddha’s teaching.  Our best interest is to create a fair system so that it will be worthy for all of us whenever we fall out of favor or we no longer remain powerful.  Let do the right things.  The right things may not mean that we are winning at every game.  This will be alright because, in a fair game, the individuals who deserve to win should win.  We would not be happy if the other guys win through cheating and so would they. 

Cambodia is a constitutional monarchy, operating in a framework of a parliamentary, representative democracy.  Cambodia’s constitution enshrines the rights stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  Cambodia ratified the international human rights treaties, such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which guarantee the freedoms of expression, association, peaceful public assembly, and other key civil and political rights: As citizens or leaders, our responsibility is to work harder to honor the Cambodian people these unalienable rights.  By honoring those rights we will be building a lasting peace, leading Cambodia to a more prosperous nation.

During this International Human Rights Day, we urge the government of Cambodia to release all prisoners of conscience, the political prisoners including lawmakers and activists from the opposition party, senior members of civil society organizations involved in the defense of human rights and a senior executive staff of the National Election Committee (NEC), and other land rights activists; and we urge the government to stop all actions that violate the rights guaranteed under the Constitution and international human rights treaties ratified by the government. 

Cambodian Americans for Human Rights and Democracy (CAHRAD)

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