Cambodia’s difficult history presents a number of barriers to lasting peace. The Vietnam War left many homeless and in the early 1970's when the Khmer Rouge took power, a culture of fear and persecution left 1.7 million educated middle class civilians dead and many thousands of city-dwellers removed to the countryside.

Memories are still fresh and emotions still run high, especially as former Khmer Rouge soldier, Hun Sen, now rules the country. With a lack of justice against those who perpetrated these crimes and authorities acting with impunity, a wide cross section of Cambodian society today face:

  • Forced evictions as government sells traditional lands to international commercial organisations.
  • Violations of human rights against women.
  • Inability to freely express opinion without fear of punishment.
  • Corruption and intimidation (sometimes violent) from government forces.
  • Unlawful imprisonment and detainment.

Mom Sakin is 63 years old and has experienced the affects her country’s trauma and conflict first-hand. Her rural community has been severely affected. In the 1990’s numerous corporates were granted economic concessions that granted them logging rights and impunity to seize land – land grabbing. Village’s like Mom’s had no title deeds to their land and saw homes, wildlife and livelihoods ripped away.

Now, she leads the Ksim Forestry Community which is supported by our SDHR programme (Strengthening the Defence of Human Rights). Gathering evidence and lobbying collectively against what is happening even in the face of threats and violence. With the support of our SDHR programme funded by the European Union, we are showing another way.

Mom has organised 1,600 locals to form forest patrols collecting evidence and reporting on illegal logging. As a result, around 1,000 hectares has been reallocated back to rural villages. But with 700,000 Cambodians being evicted since 2000, there’s still plenty to do, and it is still risky. A member of Mom’s team is missing and another environmental activist has been murdered in the past couple of years.

Cord is committed to seeing long-term sustainable peace in Cambodia by:

  • Developing and supporting civil society capacity to meet their community needs.
  • Promoting an effective and inclusive approach to transitional justice.
  • Creating safe opportunities for dialogue between civil society and government.