News

    Rights Groups Demand Investigation into Cambodian Activist's Death

    Chut Wutty, a prominent Cambodian anti-logging activist who helped expose a secretive state sell-off of national parks was fatally shot on April 25, 2012 in a remote southwestern province, FILE February 21, 2012.
    Chut Wutty, a prominent Cambodian anti-logging activist who helped expose a secretive state sell-off of national parks was fatally shot on April 25, 2012 in a remote southwestern province, FILE February 21, 2012.
    Irwin Loy

    Rights groups are calling for a full government investigation into the shooting death of a prominent land rights activist in Cambodia. Chut Wutty, an outspoken critic of illegal logging, died after being shot by military police.  One police officer also died in the incident which is still under investigation. Wutty's colleagues say the activist had previously received threats.

    According to Cambodian rights groups, Wutty was shot in the western province of Koh Kong, near an environmentally sensitive forest area he had spent much of his career trying to protect.

    A military police spokesman told local media that officers shot at Wutty, and that one military police officer was killed in the exchange. Officials are still looking into the incident.

    Rights groups say the government must ensure a full investigation is conducted by national authorities. Ny Chakrya is head of monitoring with local rights watchdog, ADHOC.

    "If the government isn't interested or has no commitment to charge or arrest him, it means the government also has no commitment to protect the forest and has no commitment of the protection of human rights defenders," stated Chakrya.

    Activist sensed danger

    Chut Wutty was an outspoken critic of illegal logging. He frequently campaigned against government land concessions in protected forest areas. For that, his colleagues say, he gained enemies among trafficking rings and corrupt local officials and police, who stood to benefit from the trade of valuable illegal timber.

    "It's such a difficult, very difficult situation. In the forest, in Phnom Penh, who will protect you if you're not friends with authority? That's made 100 times worse if you're in the middle of nowhere. Guns speak louder than anything. When you have weapons, that kind of muscle, then you get your way, in such a wild wild west, wild wild east kind of situation," said Ou Virak, president of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR).

    Wutty frequently received threats to his safety because of his advocacy work. Last August, armed police disrupted a human rights training session organized by Wutty for local villagers. Virak says authorities also accused him of incitement for his advocacy work.

    "He told one of my colleagues, many times, that he's probably either in jail or he'll be shot. Unfortunately, his own predictions have come true," Virak added. "It's something he understands the risk and he's aware of the risk and still chose to continue to do the work."

    Virak says local officials cannot be trusted to conduct an impartial investigation, when military police officers are accused of being involved in the shooting.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Filli
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 11, 2016 8:01 PM
    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.