Law in Action: Cambodia Outreach Project
It was a privilege to be a part of the inaugural LSS Social Justice trip. Having returned I have a new perspective on international law, the operation of legal systems and non- government organisations. I also developed a deeper understanding of Cambodia’s culture and history and even learnt a bit of Khmer.
Before travelling to Cambodia we ran various fundraising initiatives selling chocolate boxes, bake sales and windscreen wiping at intersections. is was a great way to bring the team together and interact with the wider Canberra community. We were also fortunate to be invited to some events hosted by the local Khmer community in Canberra. We held classes with ANU PhD students on the history of the ECCC, current issues in Cambodia and language and culture classes. e team worked together to make contact with various non-government organisations and planned the itinerary together.
A er a year of preparation we boarded the plane to Cambodia. Upon arrival we met our tour guide and settled into our hotel. Our rst stop was Siem Reap where we visited the magni cent temples at the ancient city of Angkor om, but the highlight was watching sunset over Angkor Wat.
Our next stop was Battambang, where we met representatives from Hope for Cambodia Children, visited the local court, Legal Aid and Battambang University. It was inspiring to meet students who were passionate about their studies and committed to contributing their expertise to the development of Cambodia.
Finally, we travelled to Phonm Pehn. On our rst day we witnessed the ECCC in action. We were fortunate to speak to representatives from the co-prosecution, the defence, public a airs and victims support section. is was certainly a highlight of the trip and an eye opening experience for all students. Later in the a ernoon we spoke to the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Cambodia. e following days we visited a number of NGOs including Legal Aid of Cambodia, Transparency International, e Handa Centre, LICADHO and the Cambodia Centre for Human Rights, where we discussed issues relating to corruption, fair trial rights and land rights.
A valuable lesson from this trip was the importance of education and leading with our hearts. Having being confronted with Cambodia’s tragic history, its struggle to recover and its current social justice issues, we were inspired by the local community who are committed to rebuilding their nation and continue to fight for justice in the face of many challenges. is was a truly invaluable, unforgettable experience that has made me re ect on ways in which I can use my degree to bene t others and resolve social justice issues not only in Australia but abroad.
Felicity studies LLB(Hons)/BIR and a Dip. Languages. She was Director of Social Justice in 2016 and was a tour leader along with Dan McNamara and Nic Bills. Her passions include human rights and the development of law in post con ict societies.