Sunday, January 15, 2006

White House Candlelight Vigil for Human Rights and Democracy in Cambodia

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Over 75 Cambodian Americans from the east coast and Minnesota and their friends and supporters gathered January 13th, 2006 in front of the White House in Washington, D.C. for a Buddhist candlelight vigil for human rights and democracy in Cambodia. While the main focus was on the plight of illegally detained human rights and democracy advocate, Kem Sokha, the ultimate goal was to highlight the absence of freedom and democracy in Cambodia.

Featured speakers included Kem Sokha's eldest daughter, Monovithya Kem, who updated the audience on her father's condition in prison, her younger sister Samathida and the United Cambodian International Council (UCIC) co-chairs, Suykry Path from Minnesota and the Venerable Monk Rithipol of Massachusetts. The UCIC is an umbrella organization made up of many Cambodian diaspora groups.

"We are here to speak on behalf of the people of Cambodia who are being intimidated by the Cambodian government to suffer voiceless in their own land," stated Venerable Monk Rithipol. "Kem Sokha's illegal imprisonment represents what the Hun Sen government thinks of its people and their inalienable right to democracy. One year ago President Bush stated that America would stand with those who stood for democracy. President Bush, Kem Sokha and the Cambodian people stand with you for democracy!Please continue standing with and supporting us!" urged the Venerable Monk.

Suykry Path stated, "It was an honor to watch President Bush become President at his Inauguration one year ago. It was moving to hear him stand so strongly for democracy for all the people of the world. We Cambodians thank President Bush for this strong support of democracy, and ask that he continue to stand strong for democracy in Cambodia."

Other featured guests included important representatives from Amnesty International and the International Republican Institute, two NGO's who have supported Kem Sokha and his work for human rights and democracy in Cambodia. They vowed to work to help free Kem Sokha and to help the people of Cambodia to attain their right to freedom and self-determination in Cambodian political affairs.

The Candlelight vigil included Buddhist chants recited by Cambodian Monks from three different Temples in attendance.

Click here to view more photographs from the event.

Additional information can be found at:

Reported by Warren Anderson, UCIC advisor.

For more info call (651)210-5738

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