Cambodia: villagers protesting over land issue met with live round bullets by militaryEvent
- Initial Date
- Jun 3, 2021
- Event Description
Soldiers fired bullets at land protesters on Thursday in Kandal province, hitting one man in the shoulder, as a group of about 100 Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) soldiers faced off against villagers involved in a land conflict in Kandal province, about five kilometres from Phnom Penh. The injured man remains hospitalised, while some local villagers resumed protesting on Friday morning.
The shooting occurred in Tuol Prich commune, Angk Snuol district, in an area that houses several military bases and outposts and has seen a boom in development in recent years. Villagers reported that the soldiers were from the nearby Thmat Pong military school. Videos of the incident show an excavator digging up land while local villagers try to stop it and block National Road 51. Uniformed soldiers can be seen advancing on the villagers and firing dozens of live rounds from handguns and assault rifles into the air, at the ground, and into the crowd of villagers, hitting one man in the shoulder.
The land conflict involves more than 150 hectares that have been farmed for many years by more than 300 local families from at least seven villages. Satellite data shows that the land around the location of the shooting has been farmed continuously since at least 2008, which is the earliest satellite imagery available on Google Earth. Government-produced maps dating from 2001 also mark the area as containing farmland. The Kandal provincial government issued a letter on Thursday saying that all of the land was state land, while some villagers have said they have farmed on the land since 1979.
There have been several shootings of land protesters by mixed forces including military soldiers in recent years. In January 2019, a man was shot in Preah Sihanouk province and left paralysed after mixed forces descended on protesters and opened fire during the enforcement of a Supreme Court decision over a land conflict in the province. In March 2018, three people were shot in Kratie after mixed forces fired into a crowd of 300 villagers protesting a violent eviction.
Several protesters captured the improper deployment of soldiers and excessive use of force using smartphones, and videos of the shooting were posted to Facebook.
- Impact of Event
- Gender of HRD
- Other (e.g. undefined, organisation, community)
- Use of Excessive Force
- Violence (physical)
- Wounds and Injuries
- Rights Concerned
- Freedom of assembly
- Right to healthy and safe environment
- Right to Protest
- Community-based HRD
- Armed forces/ Military
- Monitoring Status
- Event Location
- Event Location
- Summary for Publications
On 3 June 2021, community-based defenders were met with live round bullets fired by military personnel who blocked a protest over a land dispute in Angk Snuol district, Cambodia.