Kampong Speu Provincial Courtroom

Third arrest in Kampong Speu sugar conflict

By: May Titthara and Will Baxter in Phnom Penh Post, June 24, 2010

A FARMER was arrested and briefly detained by military police in Kampong Speu province on Wednesday after trying in vain to stop employees of the Phnom Penh Sugar Company from clearing his land, marking the third arrest in a controversial land fight. Rights workers condemned the action as an example of Cambodian People’s Party Senator Ly Yong Phat, who owns the company, leveraging the military against villagers to further his business interests.


Image By: Jared Ferrie

As Champagne is to France, Kampot pepper is to Cambodia

By: Jared Ferrie in Christian Science Monitor, June 23, 2010

The Cambodian government recently approved ‘geographical indication’ status for Kampot ground pepper, which Parisian chefs have called the best in the world.


Image by: Mak Remissa

Next Time You’re in … Siem Reap

By: Adam Rose in TIME, June 23, 2010

In antiquity, the secrets of silk- farming were so jealously guarded by the Chinese that the Romans, who only ever saw the finished product, believed silk threads grew on trees. But today, if you want to know how a $70 scarf is spun out of the saliva of the Bombyx mori, or silkworm, all you need do is visit the Angkor Silk Farm, on the outskirts of Siem Reap, Cambodia.


Khmer Rouge history slogans to be in schools

By: Mom Kunthear in Phnom Penh Post, June 22, 2010

The Education Ministry has approved two slogans concerning the importance of Khmer Rouge history lessons that are set to be displayed in high schools nationwide, officials said Monday. According to an unofficial translation, the slogans, which were suggested by the Documentation Centre of Cambodia (DC-Cam) and amended by the Education Ministry, read: “To study life in the Khmer Rouge period is to learn about reconciling and educating children to be tolerant and forgive each other,” and,“To learn about the history of Democratic Kampuchea means to learn to prevent other genocidal regimes from happening”.


UN Official Accuses Cambodia of Human Rights Breaches

By: Radio Australia, June 18, 2010

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Cambodia says he has serious concerns about Cambodia’s human rights record. Surya Prasad Subedi has just ended a ten day mission to Cambodia, focussing mainly on the judiciary, and says he’s uncovered serious shortcomings. He says it’s a judicial system that’s critically underfunded and fails to appropriately train people in the basics of human rights law.


UN envoy warns of failing judiciary in Cambodia

By: Press Trust of India, June 19, 2010

The UN special envoy on human rights in Cambodia has said that the country’s judiciary is facing tremendous challenges. “The judiciary in Cambodia is facing tremendous challenges in delivering justice for the people of the country, especially the poor and marginalized,” Professor Surya Subedi, the UN special rapporteur said on Thursday. While considering the overall state of the judicial system in Cambodia, he raised specific concerns relating to the judiciary’s role in protecting freedom of expression and in cases involving land-related rights.



This post first appeared on my Advocacy Project Blog

Asociación Para Políticas Publicas (the Association for Public Politics or APP) is an organization that focuses on working through public policy channels to affect positive change in the realm of disarmament and ending gun violence in Argentina and in the region. By signing onto the Disarming Domestic Violence (DDV) campaign, they have expressed their commitment to working towards raising awareness about the ways in which gun violence negatively (and disproportionately) affects women (especially within their homes) and to reducing the number of women affected by gun violence within the home.

Over the past six weeks of working with APP on the DDV Campaign in Argentina, I have been struck by the enormity of the task that IANSA and their partner organizations have set out to accomplish: ending gender-based gun-violence within the home in their countries and worldwide. How necessary and yet how enormous.  With a goal so large I have begun to ask myself and others, what are the causes of gender-based gun violence?  And with causes so numerous and complex, how do we know where to begin? How do we decide where to focus our energies and work? Surely they can’t possibly be tackled through just one or two single angles. Which are the angles that are necessary to tackle such a vast issue?  Which will have the highest impact on reducing domestic armed violence?

Two of the primary focuses of my work as an Advocacy Project Fellow on the DDV campaign include working towards harmonizing gun laws with domestic violence laws in Argentina, and the collection of statistics on the link between gun violence and domestic violence. Because APP is an organization that has tended towards working within the public policy realm, they have a strategic, comparative advantage in accomplishing the legal aims of the campaign.  APP maintains strong relationships with members of the Argentine government and continues to build on and leverage those relationships to improve domestic gun laws and disarmament.

Although the expertise amongst the small, hard-working staff at APP is not in the area of social work or data collection, they recognize that working solely on the level of public policy (changing national gun and domestic violence laws through talking with members of parliament and government) is not enough.  While working to prevent arms from getting in the hands of someone with a history of domestic violence, we cannot forget to address the socio-political, cultural, economic, and historical factors, amongst others, that contribute to a home, neighborhood, city, province, country, and world in which domestic armed violence continues to occur. That is why one of the first steps APP has taken in launching the DDV campaign in Argentina has been to develop a network of individuals, organizations, women’s groups, civil society members, government officials, academics, journalists, and others who are committed to ending gender-based gun violence.

Over the past couple of weeks I have been focused on helping APP develop this network, in an effort to build a bridge and foster collaboration between the individuals and groups already working on issues related to the campaign.  Oftentimes these members are working in isolation from one another, making their work more difficult, less efficient, and therefore sometimes also low impact.  Building a network will hopefully improve efficiency, help to expand the campaign’s support base, and expand the locations (family homes, community, nations) and angles from which this enormous problem can be tackled.

One of the many principles of strategic nonviolent movements and campaigns is the importance of building a broad base of support. The phase of building support for a movement or campaign can be seen as both a strategic and tactical move as doing so upfront will benefit future campaign actions. This is certainly the case for APP, who launched the DDV campaign in Argentina back in of June prior to developing an extensive network.  Future DDV campaign actions will greatly benefit from the strength of a diverse base of supporters that can put collective pressure on the media to cover these issues and draw attention to the campaign, pressure on the government to change domestic violence and gun laws, and apply forms of social pressure to begin changing behaviors. While building this base of support may not be easy, it does indeed seem necessary.

As the quote by Gloria Macapagal Arroyo goes, “The power of one, if fearless and focused, is formidable, but the power of many working together is better”.  I look forward to seeing the impact of the work we are doing to build this “power of many” for the Disarming Domestic Violence Campaign in Argentina.

Additional resource related to nonviolent conflict can be found on the following websites:
International Center on Nonviolent Conflict
Albert Einstein Institution
Center for Victims of Torture’s New Tactics in Human Rights – Nonviolent Action
War Resisters International
Center for Applied Nonviolent Actions and Strategies