Across the globe, civil society organisations have been coming under increasing pressure in recent years as a result of restrictive new NGO laws, limitations on funding, and increased government interference. In Cambodia, increasing restriction of civic and democratic space ahead of a crucial general election in July 2018 is presenting new challenges for those who work to promote and protect human rights in the Kingdom. Since 2015, new legislation, including laws regulating NGOs, trades unions and political parties, has had a chilling effect on Cambodia's vibrant civil society, while human rights defenders, labour activists and opposition politicians have been subject to criminal charges and imprisonment. Recent months have seen a new escalation in restrictions on fundamental freedoms, as a number of independent media outlets have been forced to close. On 3 September the opposition leader was arrested on charges of treason and legal proceedings to forcibly dissolve the main opposition party are ongoing.
Ms. Chak Sopheap is the Executive Director of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR). CCHR is a leading non-aligned, independent, non-governmental organization, based in Phnom Penh, that works to promote and protect democracy and respect for human rights in Cambodia. Its work covers a wide range of human rights issues, including fair trial rights, business and human rights, LGBTQ rights, and protecting fundamental freedoms. Sopheap has worked for CCHR since 2005 and been its Executive Director since 2014, and is a graduate in peace studies from the International University of Japan. In September 2014, her work was acknowledged by U.S. President Barack Obama.
The event will take place at Mansfield College, in the Gilly Leventis Meeting Room, within the new Hands Building (shown on the map as Love Lane building). Please report to the Lodge on arrival and ask for directions.