Vital Voices Global Partnership is encouraged by the release of network member Mu Sochua and seven other Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) politicians. Their detention in Phnom Penh’s maximum security Prey Sar prison began Wednesday, July 16th, following their participation in what began as a peaceful protest at Freedom Park the previous day. Held without bail on charges of insurrection, intentional violence and obstructing government officials, the eight opposition party members were denied visits from family and consular officers.
On Tuesday, July 22nd, Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen and opposition leader Sam Rainsy reached an agreement ending a year-long CNRP boycott of the National Assembly and establishing new rules for the composition of the National Election Commission and committees of the National Assembly. The prisoners were released within hours of the agreement. However, the charges against them have not yet been dismissed.
In a lifetime of service, Mu Sochua has championed women’s rights, supported survivors of human trafficking, and expanded economic opportunity to marginalized communities. She has consistently defended Cambodians’ right to peaceful assembly. She and six of those detained are members-elect of Cambodia’s National Assembly.
Vital Voices has been proud to support Mu Sochua for more than 12 years and recognized her leadership in 2003 with a Global Leadership Award for Human Rights. She is a globally respected voice for democracy, transparency, and freedom. We join the international community in urging Cambodian authorities to immediately and unconditionally drop all charges against Mu Sochua and her colleagues.