Front Line Defenders Urgent Appeal for action on behalf of Cambodian HRD Mr Chut Wutty
URGENT APPEAL – 01/05/12
Cambodia: Killing of human rights defender and environmentalist Mr. Chut Wutty
On 26 April 2012, Mr Chut Wutty was shot dead in Koh Kong province.
Chut Wutty is the founder and director of Natural Resource Protection Group, a civil society organization that works to protect environmental rights and monitors illegal logging. Chut Wutty advocated tirelessly against the ongoing destruction of Cambodia's natural resources.
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King Norodom Sihamoni
Supreme Commander of the Cambodian National Armed Forces
Office of the King
I would like to draw your attention to the killing of human rights defender and environmentalist Mr. Chut Wutty.
On 26 April 2012, human rights defender Mr. Chut Wutty was shot dead in Koh Kong province. Chut Wutty is the founder and director of Natural Resource Protection Group (NRPG), a civil society organization that works to protect environmental rights and monitors illegal logging. Chut Wutty advocated tirelessly against the ongoing destruction of Cambodia's natural resources.
The incident reportedly occurred at 12.30pm in Koh Kong's Veal Bei commune, Mondul Sima district. It is reported that the military police and soldiers detained Chut Wutty and two reporters from The Cambodia Daily and confiscated their cameras. Chut Wutty had been taking photos of suspected illegal logging activity near the border between Pursat and Koh Kong and in the Central Cardamom Protect Forest area. It is also reported that a military officer, Mr In Rattana, was also killed, although there are conflicting reports about this incident. Mr Chuon Phiran, a prominent environmentalist and a nephew of the human rights defender, stated that Chut Wutty received a fatal shot and died in his car.
Chut Wutty has been subjected to threats in the past as a result of his work in the area of human rights and environmental protection. In 2001, he was threatened by a military commander who said he would kill him for his role in the Conservation International team, which was monitoring illegal logging in the Cardamom mountain. Chut Wutty had to flee his hotel and rent a boat in the middle of the night to ensure his safety.
In 2011, he was again threatened with arrests and criminal charges as a result of his work in raising awareness on the destruction of Prey Lang forest in the Northeast of the country. In August and September 2011, civilian and military police armed with AK-47s disrupted two trainings that he was conducting with the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights in Kampong Thom province for community members affected by the forest destruction.
I strongly condemn the killing of Chut Witty and believes that it is solely motivated by his legitimate and peaceful human rights activities, especially his leading role in protecting community and environmental rights.
I urge the authorities in Cambodia to:
1. Carry out an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the killing of Chut Wutty, with a view to publishing the results and bringing those responsible to justice in accordance with international standards;
2. Take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity and security of staff members of Natural Resource Protection Group as well as their family members;
3. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders and environmentalists in Cambodia are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions.
Thank you for taking action on behalf of Mr Chut Wutty.