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Cambodia-UPDATE: OHCHR issues statement on the killing of human rights defender Mr Chut Wutty
On 1 May 2012, the Spokesperson for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Rupert Colville, issued a statement expressing concern on the killing of Mr Chut Wutty, a prominent human rights defender and environmentalist in Cambodia.
Full Text of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Statement:
We are saddened by the news that Mr. Chut Wutty and Mr. In Rattana were shot and killed last Thursday in south-western Cambodia. Mr. Wutty was an outspoken environmental activist and human rights defender who worked fearlessly to expose illegal logging and corruption in Cambodia. Mr. Rattana was a member of the Royal Cambodian Gendarmerie.
The exact circumstances of the shootings, which occurred in a forest in Koh Kong Province where Mr. Wutty -in the company of journalists- was gathering evidence of illegal logging, remain unclear. Our office in Phnom Penh is investigating the incident, having dispatched a team to the province two hours after it took place. The team visited the site of the shooting, interviewed local actors and monitored the post-mortem examination of the bodies.
Despite the current lack of clarity about what exactly happened, we are very concerned that the killing of Mr. Wutty marks the latest and most lethal in a series of gun attacks on human rights defenders in Cambodia. Since the start of 2012, the OHCHR office in Cambodia has investigated four other cases (in Snoul, Bavet, Borei Keila and Banteay Chhmar) involving the use of live ammunition against communities and human rights defenders which have resulted in a number of injuries.
We welcome the fact that the authorities have commenced investigations into Thursday’s shooting, including a military investigation. We urge the Royal Government to ensure that a full civilian judicial investigation proceeds speedily and with the utmost probity and independence. It is imperative that the investigating authorities seek to interview all relevant witnesses, including military personnel and those involved in logging activities in the area at the time of the shooting. OHCHR will continue to monitor the process.
We also urge the Government to take concrete and immediate measures to ensure the safety of all witnesses and investigators as well the families of the deceased men.
Front Line Defenders issued an urgent appeal on this case on 30 April 2012 (https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/18181).
You can find additional information on the situation for human rights Defenders in Cambodia. HERE
Full text of the statement on the death of Mr Chut Wutty is attached below in PDF version.