Hidden Lives - The Untold Story of Urban Refugees (9/43)

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Cambodian refugee Nhem Phalla, 39, from Kampong Cham Province, pictured in Bangkok, Thailand.<br />
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"In Phnom Penh I worked for many international organisations, humanitarian and human rights, I moved from one to another and finally I worked with the Cambodia League for the Promotion of Human Rights Defender (LEGALO). On the 3rd of August 2010 two activists (a husband and wife) from Samraingsy party, a prominent abolitionist party, came to seek help from my organisation because the police were trying to arrest them and charge them with distributing leaflets against the government. During that day there were many journalists and police surrounding the LEGALO office. The UN sent two human rights staff to come and find a way to help. <br />
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We devised a plan; I would dress as the man and my colleague dresses as the woman and we create a diversion. When we go out journalists tried to interview me and then we got inside the UN vehicle and they drove the car away from the office. Several motorbikes and cars of the journalists followed us. I asked "where are you going to drop us?", they didn't know, in my heart I was terrified. I decided to stop at Ministry of the Secretary of Public Function. I got out and took off the disguise so they can clearly see my face. I heard journalists say "they are cheating us", so they quickly got in their cars and left. In the meantime the activists safely escaped from the office and they then left Cambodia to Thailand. <br />
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I returned to work as normal and I forgot about what I did. At the end of September I found a new job with the Danish Red Cross, then, in Feb 2011, I received a call from LEGALO to come to the office to discuss something. They told me to check the newspaper and there I saw my picture and my colleagues on the front page. It said I was a ring leader who distributed leaflets against the government and escaped to Thailand but they put the names of the original activists. Our pictures were also broadcast on the ruling TV station. I went t
Cambodian refugee Nhem Phalla, 39, from Kampong Cham Province, pictured in Bangkok, Thailand.

"In Phnom Penh I worked for many international organisations, humanitarian and human rights, I moved from one to another and finally I worked with the Cambodia League for the Promotion of Human Rights Defender (LEGALO). On the 3rd of August 2010 two activists (a husband and wife) from Samraingsy party, a prominent abolitionist party, came to seek help from my organisation because...
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