In Long Beach, California, an organization called the United Cambodian Community has done much to help the tens of thousands of Cambodians who live in the city. It’s executive director, Sara Pol-Lim, recently received an award from Los Angeles County for her leadership of the organization. As Cheang Sophinarath reports, Pol-Lim sees this as only the beginning.
Housing rights activist Tep Vanny arrived in Washington this week to accept a leadership award. The Public Life Award was given to her by Vital Voices, an organization formed by former secretary of state Hillary Clinton. In a studio interview with VOA Khmer's Sok Khemara, the 31-year-old activist said she was honored to be recognized for her ongoing struggles to raise awareness of forced evictions that have left thousands of Cambodians homeless.
The National Rescue Party organized Cambodians Saturday to gather at the site of a 1997 grenade attack that left 16 people dead and more than 100 injured. Sam Rainsy, the National Rescue Party president, spoke from abroad via Skype to the crowd, noting the absence of justice. “The victims and Cambodian people are still waiting for an investigation and to bring suspects and the responsible behind the crimes to account,’’ Sam Rainsy said. Investigators said four grenades were tossed into the March 30, 1997 rally in support of judicial reform in front of the former National Assembly adjacent to the Royal Palace but no one has been held responsible. Sam Rainsy was speaking at the rally when it was attacked. (VOA Khmer)
Though the government has approved the Lower Sesan 2 Dam project, affected villagers in Stung Treng province continue to rally against it. They want authorities to reconsider plans for the hydropower dam. VOA Khmer's Say Mony reports from northern Cambodia in Stung Treng province. The villagers living along the Sesan river in Stung Treng province say they do not want to see the Lower Sesan 2 dam erected on the river, where generations of Cambodians have supported families by fishing and rice farming. Noy Phut is a fisherman here in Srek Kor village of Sesan district. He says if built, the dam would disrupt his ability to support his family by fishing. “Of course, there will be nothing,’’ Noy Phut said.
The debate over gun control continues in the United States, following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., in December. More than 24 years ago, a similar incident devastated the Cambodian-American community in Stockton, California. The Cleveland Elementary School shooting shocked the nation, helping produce some of the gun laws that are now being debated today. It has not been forgotten. The city of Stockton, east of San Francisco, is a quiet place, where time seems to stand still. There is a quaint downtown that looks much the same as it did in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In the 1980s and 1990s, it became a refuge for many Cambodians fleeing the war. A place to raise their children in peace. (Cheang Sophinarath, Stockton, CA)
The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld charges against housing activist Yorm Bopha, who is serving a three-year sentence in what supporters say is a threat against the freedom of assembly. Yorm Bopha, 29, is serving a three-year sentence on charges related to violent demonstrations over a development project in the Boeung Kak neighborhood of Phnom Penh, which has displaced some 4,000 families. Amnesty International called the charges against her “fabricated” and lacking credible evidence. More than 100 supporters demonstrated outside the court building, including her mother, who wept and cursed the court. (Heng Reaksmey/Say Mony, Phnom Penh)