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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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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.

Cambodian Americans for Human Rights and Democracy (CAHRAD) believes basic human rights and fundamental freedom are fast deteriorating in Cambodia. This crisis situation requires immediate and concrete response.


We are petitioning to leaders of the free world to intervene including President of the United States, Leaders of United States Senate and Congress, Canadian Prime Minister and Leaders of the Canadian Parliament, United Nations Secretary General as well as Signatories of the “1991 Paris Peace Agreement” for Cambodia.     


We are appealing to all Cambodian expatriates to join us in this petition by collecting and submitting the petition form to CAHRAD.  Please click to see 1. CAHRAD cover letter   2. Petition    3. Signature form


Please complete the signature form and send it back to us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or mail it to us to the mailing address in the form.  Cambodia, as a democracy, is moving in the wrong direction. It is currently ruled as if by a dictator who has been in power for more than 30 years. Cambodia can regain democratic foothold, but it needs the respect for human rights and fundamental freedom assured by the “1991 Paris Peace Agreement”.