Multimedia Cambodian Monk Wins International Human Rights Defenders Award
[via WITNESS] GENEVA, October 2, 2012– Buddhist monk Venerable Luon Sovath has been presented the prestigious Martin Ennals Award (MEA) for human rights by 10 internationally-recognized human rights organizations in Geneva today.
Venerable Sovath, who was one of three nominees for the award, was given the MEA for his work in support of Cambodian communities facing forced evictions. His win also brings attention to the importance of addressing global forced evictions often faced by marginalized communities all around the world.
“I am so happy to see that Cambodia does have the support of the international community, who can truly help us achieve more rights and freedom, especially for poor communities that are having their homes forcibly taken by the government,” said Venerable Luon Sovath.
The MEA, which is known as the Nobel Prize for Human Rights Defenders, is usually given to individuals who have worked at great risk for human rights. Venerable Sovath has been recognized for his innovative tactics – including the use of video, songs and art – to provide persistent, non-violent leadership for communities facing forced evictions. Because of his dedicated work, he is continually threatened with violence, arrest and defrocking. His peaceful approach as a human rights defender is crucial in mobilizing grassroots communities to demand their rights.
Never seen without his camera, mobile phone or laptop, Venerable Sovath has become known as the “Multimedia Monk” and was nominated for the award by WITNESS along with Freedom House and Civil Rights Defenders back in April.
“For winning the Martin Ennals Award, the Venerable and many communities across Cambodia received international recognition that they do not stand alone. A clear message has been sent to government leaders, businesses and lenders, in Cambodia or in fact anywhere, that they cannot commit human rights abuses in the name of progress and development,” said Ryan Schlief, Program Manager for the Forced Evictions Campaign at WITNESS.
Forced evictions are among the most widespread human rights abuses in the country. They remove families from their homes and lands with little or no notice, and often without compensation or alternative housing plans. In 2009, Venerable Sovath’s own village lost farmland in a dispute, leading to a standoff, in which security forces fired at the unarmed villagers, shooting his brother and nephew.
According to local human rights groups, an estimated 400,000 Cambodians have been affected by forced evictions or land grabs since 2003 in the wake of ostensible development projects, land disputes and illegal land confiscation.
To view the original press release, visit http://www.witness.org/about-us/media-center/pressroom/multimedia-cambodian-monk-wins-international-human-rights-defenders-award
Copyright © Source (mentioned above). All rights reserved. The Land Portal distributes materials without the copyright owner’s permission based on the “fair use” doctrine of copyright, meaning that we post news articles for non-commercial, informative purposes. If you are the owner of the article or report and would like it to be removed, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will remove the posting immediately.
Various news items related to land governance are posted on the Land Portal every day by the Land Portal users, from various sources, such as news organizations and other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. The copyright lies with the source of the article; the Land Portal Foundation does not have the legal right to edit or correct the article, nor does the Foundation endorse its content. To make corrections or ask for permission to republish or other authorized use of this material, please contact the copyright holder.
Read more content like this
- Court Frees 13 Cambodian Land Eviction Protesters
- Cambodians March For End to Forced Evictions on World Habitat Day
- CAMBODIA: Housewives-gone-activists oppose forced evictions in Phnom Penh
- Cambodia: Latest Detention Of Women Land Activists: Rights Groups Call For Immediate Release
- Cambodia: Women hit hard by wave of forced evictions