Human Rights defender advocates through his art

Loun Sovath’s desire to become a defender against human rights abuses and end discrimination came from years of witnessing the suffering of the Khmer people. For generations they have been victims of war, poverty, oppression, arbitrary arrests and land grabs.

Cambodian human rights defender advocates against discrimination © OHCHRHe is a human rights defender and a Buddhist monk who lives in Slen Pagoda, in the Siem Reap province of Cambodia. He says “it is his nature which compels him to stand up and assist vulnerable people and fight against oppression and discrimination.

Lack of due process, oppression, forced evictions, as well as discrimination against gender and race are some of the social and political causes he has fought against.   

In a video for Human Rights Day 2010, Sovath says he has defended human rights by working with local and international NGO’s, as well as with the media. He has held peaceful assemblies and has used his poetry, music and documentaries to advocate and educate to end discrimination.      

He says “I have sacrificed time, energy, and property, and would even sacrifice my life if necessary, to ensure the protection of human rights and end discrimination. I want to continue writing, and compiling documentaries, songs and poetry in order to promote human rights, and hope that more and more people will become human rights defenders in Cambodian society.”  

The United Nations has maintained an office focused on the protection and promotion of human rights in Cambodia since 1993. The office is part of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. 

8 December 2010

The focus of Human Rights Day 10 December 2010 is discrimination and the role of human rights defenders.