Breaking news: the venerable Luon Sovath from Cambodia – MEA 2012 nominee

April 24, 2012

Today the nominees of the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders 2012 are announced in Geneva. The ann0uncement was made by the new Chair of the Martin Ennals Foundation, Mrs Micheline Calmy Rey, until last year the President of and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland.  Each nominee deserves its own post!

One of the 3 nominees is the venerable Luon Sovath from Cambodia. In Cambodia forced evictions remove families from their homes and lands with little or no notice, without genuine consultation, and often without compensation. Despite threats of violence, arrest and disrobing, the venerable Luon Sovath, a non-violent, innovative human rights defender, firmly supports and documents at-risk rural and urban communities, mainly by advocating to stop forced evictions, documenting their struggles with videos (the venerable Sovath  is also known as the ‘Multimedia Monk’ as he is never without his camera, his mobile phone and his laptop), poems and songs, defending their right to housing, as well as for adequate compensation and alternative housing, organizing public forums to educate communities on how Buddhism, human rights and democracy are in the same line. His peaceful, non-violent approach (the venerable Sovath also composes songs to unite and inspire – regularly distributing the songs on CDs to the communities) is crucial in the nascent grassroots mobilization of affected communities nationwide; his increasingly prominent role has drawn the reaction of the authorities, and his advocacy against forced evictions touches powerful economic interests. The threats against the venerable Sovath are very real, from powerful businessmen, from the authorities and even from some of the conservative clergy.

2 Responses to “Breaking news: the venerable Luon Sovath from Cambodia – MEA 2012 nominee”


  1. […] Breaking news: the venerable Luon Sovath from Cambodia – MEA 2012 nominee (thoolen.wordpress.com) Share this:Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]


  2. […] Breaking news: the venerable Luon Sovath from Cambodia – MEA 2012 nominee (thoolen.wordpress.com) Share this:Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]


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