Since 2009, our partner organization in Cambodia, LICADHO, has been using video to document forced evictions and land-grabbing. We met the Venerable Loun Sovath, a Buddhist monk, through our work with LICADHO. His tireless campaigning for those at risk of forced eviction in Cambodia, has repeatedly put him at risk.
As a prominent figure supporting communities facing forced eviction and land-grabbing in Cambodia, the Venerable Sovath has received repeated threats to disrobe and arrest him. In the past few months the threats have increased. More than once, the UN has quickly intervened just as Cambodian authorities were closing in.
In April 2011, all Buddhist monasteries in Phnom Penh were directed not to permit the Venerable Sovath to stay at any monastery in the city. The ban cites that the Venerable’s work with communities allegedly is giving Buddhism a bad image and “affecting Buddhist discipline.” Separated from living with his religious community in Phnom Penh, the Venerable Sovath relies on support from others to continue his human rights work.
In response to the growing threats, our partner LICADHO produced a video where the Venerable addresses these threats and explains why he feels it is his role as a monk to support communities fighting for their homes and land. This video is being used to counter the claims against him and you can help broaden the community of supporters by watching and sharing this video with others.
“To be a human rights defender, you must have a broad heart for humanity and humankind, regardless of the personal cost to yourself.” The Venerable Loun Sovath
More about LICADHO and the Venerable Loun Sovath
In recognition of their work, the President of LICADHO and the Venerable Sovath were honored guests at our 2010 Focus For Change Benefit Dinner & Concert. The Venerable Sovath was also featured in December 2010 by the UN on International Human Rights Day with other human rights defenders from around the globe and he also spoke about his use of video for human rights in this video produced by LICADHO. Move step-by-step through the most recent LICADHO/WITNESS training and learn more about the our partnership with LICADHO on forced evictions.