‘Multimedia Monk’ is honored for activism

Activist monk Luon Sovath has been named the recipient of this year’s Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders for his work promoting villagers’ land claims and publicising rights abuses. A familiar figure at protests in Cambodia, including the widely decried May trial of the Boeung Kak 13, Sovath is the first Southeast Asian to receive the award, which was established in 1993 and is judged by 10 rights organisations including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. … Known as “the multimedia monk”, Sovath has been filming confrontations with the government since 2009, when his video of police violently evicting villagers in Siem Reap province’s Chi Kraeng district undermined police claims that they had fired into the crowd in self-defence.