Leaflets Threaten Teachers Union Activist

Anonymous, threatening leaf­lets were distributed against a Cambodian Independent Teach­ers’ Association activist in Kom­pong Cham province on Satur­day, district officials said.

Authorities in Kompong Cham district said they collected around 30 threatening leaflets directed at teacher Ly Rath Ya. The leaflets were scattered along the banks of the Mekong River and in front of the Dey Dos primary school where Ly Rath Ya teaches, Kim Tai, deputy governor of Kom­pong Cham district, said. The leaflets include an illustration of seven skulls.

“District police and officials are investigating this case even though the victim hasn’t complained,” Kim Tai said.

Ly Rath Ya, 52, has also worked for Adhoc the past seven years, a Licadho official said. Licadho received a complaint about the incident on Monday.

“We have not started investigating this yet because we are busy with more serious cases,” the Li­ca­d­ho official said. Licadho says the threats are politically motivated.

Rong Chhun, CITA president, said Tuesday he wants a further investigation. He said he has sent a letter to Margo Picken, head of Cambodia’s UN human rights office, calling on her to help en­sure Ly Rath Ya’s safety.

“I think Margo Picken has the ability to protect the victim, particularly because she has strong power to pressure the government to investigate the case,” Rong Chhun said.

He said he will also write to the government, asking it to investigate the incident. “These leaflets mean the teacher could be killed by an anonymous person someday,” Rong Chhun warned.

“Using the seven skulls is more violent” than writing an explicit death threat, he added. “It’s a human rights abuse.”

Ly Rath Ya has not been subjected to physical violence, Kim Tai said. “I want to let the victim know that she doesn’t need to be afraid because we are doing our best to ensure her safety,” he said.

 

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