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CIVICUS in the News

Time Magazine:
Cambodia's Khmer Rouge Trials Are a Shocking Failure

“This is no longer a legitimate court,” says Theary Seng, a prominent U.S.-trained human-rights lawyer whose parents were killed by the Khmer Rouge. “It’s a sham. It does such a disservice to Cambodian victims and international justice in general.” [...] Critics say the trials have been hijacked to specifically absolve former leading Khmer Rouge figures now within Hun Sen’s Cambodian People’s Party. “I’m in awe of Hun Sen,” says Theary Seng sardonically, deploring the “manipulated and whitewashed” history the ECCC is now helping to propagate. “It will go down in all the history books as a brilliant move.”


The New York Times:
Obama, in Cambodia, Sidesteps Ghosts of American Wartime Past

Theary Seng, president of the Association of Khmer Rouge Victims in Cambodia, said, “President Obama should have met with the human rights community and activists challenging the Hun Sen regime, and while then and there, offer a public apology to the Cambodian people for the illegal U.S. bombings, which took the lives of half a million Cambodians and created the conditions for the Khmer Rouge genocide.”


The New York Times:
Kissinger in Cambodia

Theary Seng was taking aim with precision and anger. The 41-year-old U.S.-trained lawyer and a regular on Cambodia’s crowded protest circuit was about to throw a dart at a poster of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Kissinger is one of 13 politicians and senior Khmer Rouge leaders in a dart game created by Poetic Justice, a nongovernmental organization run by Theary Seng that highlights deficiencies of the special U.N.-backed tribunal judging the Khmer Rouge’s crimes. Each player gets five throws. A bull’s-eye is worth seven points. The highest score wins. Last Sunday afternoon, Theary Seng and three members of her staff were playing on Phnom Penh’s riverfront opposite the storied Foreign Correspondents’ Club. On this occasion — the fourth time the game has been staged in public — the point was to draw attention to the narrow scope of the Khmer Rouge tribunal ahead of President Barack Obama’s visit for a summit meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.


The Wall Street Journal:
Khmer Rouge Trial Missing a Marquee Defendant

“The release of Ieng Thirith is only one reflection of how incredibly late these trials are coming into place,” said Theary Seng, founder of the Cambodian Center for Justice and Reconciliation and herself, too, a victim of the Khmer Rouge regime, having lost her parents and spent five months in prison. She has withdrawn from the tribunal process, and instead put her energy into organizing public games of darts featuring the faces of the Khmer Rouge leaders along Phnom Penh’s riverfront – a “way of release” following victims’ frustrations with the trial process, mixed with “dark humor,” she said.


More Links:
Theary C. Seng and the Road Ahead in Cambodia - Asian Fortune News
From Tragedy to Sham in Cambodia - Asia Times Online
Khmer Rouge Trial:Cambodia Awaits Answers - BBC