Focus on democracy at Bendigo Library

September 13, 2023 BY

Front line: Protesters call for the release of imprisoned human rights activist Yorm Bopha in Phnom Penh in 2013 Photo: SUPPLIED

THE brittle nature of self-governance and civil liberties will be on the agenda when former Fairfax journalist and current La Trobe University researcher Shane Worrell visits Bendigo Library later this month.

Appearing at the invitation of the Bendigo Amnesty Group, he’ll present an hour-long talk about his experiences working for the Phnom Penh Post between 2011 and 2015, including being a witness in what he calls Cambodia’s “struggle for democracy”.

“Major stories I reported on included police fatally shooting garment workers, violent crackdowns on opposition party rallies, large-scale forced evictions and the imprisonment of human rights protesters without fair trials,” he said.

“I’ll reflect on the 2013 election, when the government won 68 seats to the opposition’s 55, and what has happened in the country since then.

“In that time, an opposition leader has been imprisoned, the supreme court has forcibly dissolved the main opposition party, and independent media has been silenced.

“I’ll emphasise the relevance of human rights and democratic issues in Cambodia to Australia. For example, Australia played a major role in helping facilitate Cambodia’s shift to democracy, it imports garments and footwear from Cambodia, and it has resettled refugees there.”

Mr Worrell said encourages “anyone who’s interested in human rights and international relations” to attend.

The Fragility of Democracy and Human Rights featuring Shane Worrell takes place at Bendigo Library on Thursday 21 September between 5.30 and 6.30pm.

Additional info is available and bookings can be made via the Eventbrite website.