In 2014, the week leading up to International Human Rights Day, grassroots communities and rights advocates were abuzz organizing events across Cambodia to mark the December 10 holiday. The event brought with it a festive atmosphere sprinkled with cautious optimism.
Monks in orange robes and communities affected by land evictions marched to Phnom Penh, often met by waiting police asking them to turn back, and indigenous groups in Ratanakkiri dressed in traditional attire and performed dances and songs to mark the occasion, many had been affected by mining concessions and hydropower dams.
The holiday marks the day the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted in 1948 by the UN General Assembly. Rights advocates in Cambodia have argued that giving a public holiday allows for communities to advocate for their rights freely and collectively.
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