The UN is expressing concern over the recent killing of Cambodian activist Chut Wutty. According to a spokesman for the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), “Despite the current lack of clarity about what exactly happened, we are very concerned that the killing of Mr. Wutty marks the latest and most lethal in a series of gun attacks on human rights defenders in Cambodia.”
Chut Wutty, the intrepid activist who had been working to protect the forests of Cambodia from illegal logging and to expose government corruption, was shot and killed by Cambodian military police on April 26. He had been out surveying illegal logging sites with two journalists, looking for evidence to bring a lawsuit against the government for aiding the activity, when he was stopped by military police.
The details of what happened next are unclear. A gunfight ensued which left Chut and one officer dead. The two journalists were able to escape to safety, but did not see what transpired, including who had actually fired the first shot.
Mr. Chut Wutty had received threats from the military on at least two previous occasions. In 2001 a military commander had threatened to kill him for documenting illegal logging in the Cardamom Mountains (the same things that would eventually cause him to be killed). Also in 2011, police with automatic weapons broke up two training sessions Chut had been conducting to help local peoples affected by the destruction of their forests.
Several investigations have been launched by local authorities, including a military investigation, backed by the OHCHR.