Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Local authorities stop youth, monk activists

Local authorities stop youth, monk activists

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A group of 26 youths and nine Buddhist monks travelled to the Kbal Khla Knong forest community in Sandan commune of Sandan district in Kampong Thom province on November 18. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Local authorities stop youth, monk activists

A group of 26 youths and nine Buddhist monks travelled to the Kbal Khla Knong forest community in Sandan commune of Sandan district in Kampong Thom province to promote an environmentalist and Buddhist message after hearing that the area was under threat. But they ran into resistance from local authorities there.

“During the second day when we went on a pilgrimage to preach to the community we were blocked by the authorities. They wore civilian clothes and no uniforms and they tried to disperse the group. After an hour of negotiations, they allowed only seven young people to enter there.

“This shows that law enforcement in the community are violating our rights and freedoms,” said Hok Kimleang, one of the youths from the group.

Kimleang added that the authorities should not restrict the participation of young people in community activism, including forest conservation.

One of the Buddhist monks with the group, Venerable Uon Kong, said that the situation in the forest in Kbal Khla community is bad because the forest is still being encroached upon by loggers.

Kong said they have many pictures of loggers cutting down trees and floating them away in the water.

He alleged that the local authorities did not try to catch the perpetrators of the deforestation, but instead stopped and prevented the youths from educating them about the forest and environmental issues.

“According to my observation, this was a case of the authorities threatening young people who participated in the activity. They forbade us from making a pilgrimage there and they called it a disorderly activity.

“But in fact, they caused disorder because they did not come here wearing their proper uniforms, they were dressed as a normal civilians. I think their actions were inappropriate,” Kong said.

Kong added that this demonstrates the restrictions of freedom taking place in a country that is supposed to be democratic.

In response, Sandan commune chief Ban Heng said that no local authorities had threatened the youth team, but that the authorities had simply banned them from marching from the study site to the district hall.

“So they did not threaten them, they just forbade them from marching because they had to ask permission from the authorities and their letter was only from the commune hall,” said Ban Heng.

He added that the youths’ permission was only for the commune hall and they went beyond what was announced, so the authorities only banned it because they had not yet asked for permission to march to the district hall.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hong Kong firm done buying Coke Cambodia

    Swire Coca-Cola Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed Swire Pacific Ltd, on November 25 announced that it had completed the acquisition of The Coca-Cola Co’s bottling business in Cambodia, as part of its ambitions to expand into the Southeast Asian market. Swire Coca-Cola affirmed

  • Cambodia's Bokator now officially in World Heritage List

    UNESCO has officially inscribed Cambodia’s “Kun Lbokator”, commonly known as Bokator, on the World Heritage List, according to Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeurng Sackona in her brief report to Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of November 29. Her report, which was

  • NagaWorld union leader arrested at airport after Australia trip

    Chhim Sithar, head of the Labour Rights Supported Union of Khmer Employees at NagaWorld integrated casino resort, was arrested on November 26 at Phnom Penh International Airport and placed in pre-trial detention after returning from a 12-day trip to Australia. Phnom Penh Municipal Court Investigating Judge

  • Takeo hand-woven silk items provide local high-quality alternative to imports

    After graduating from university and beginning her career as a civil servant at the the Ministry of Economy and Finance, Khieu Sina found time to establish a business that aligns with her true passion – quality hand-woven Khmer goods. Her product line, known as Banteay Srei,

  • Two senior GDP officials defect to CPP

    Two senior officials of the Grassroots Democratic Party (GDP) have asked to join the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), after apparently failing to forge a political alliance in the run-up to the 2023 general election. Yang Saing Koma, chairman of the GDP board, and Lek Sothear,

  • 11th Chaktomuk Short Film Festival draws to close

    Cambodia's 11th Chaktomuk Short Film Festival wrapped up successfully on November 28 after a four-day run, with the film “Voice of the Night” awarded top prize for 2022. Sum Sithen, the organiser of the short film festival, told The Post that the number of attendees to the