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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Press Relations Office > Press Releases (Other) > 2001 > December
Press Statement
Richard Boucher, Spokesman
Washington, DC
December 14, 2001


Statement of Concern Regarding Election-Related Violence in Cambodia

The Department of State is concerned by the reports of election-related violence and intimidation in the run-up to Cambodia's Commune Council elections on February 3. The shooting death of an opposition party activist last Saturday brings to 11 the number of killings associated with these elections, in which Cambodians will for the first time choose their local governing councils in 1,621 communes (roughly the equivalent of American municipalities). About half of these cases were politically motivated killings of opposition candidates and activists, according to credible reports by NGOs and the UN Human Rights Center. These reports also tally up dozens of other cases of election-related violence and intimidation.

The U.S. joins the international community in calling for free and fair commune elections in Cambodia, without violence or intimidation.

We are encouraged by high-level leaders' denunciations of the violence and hope for more frequent and high-profile statements. We hope the government will turn words into deeds, and call on Cambodia's central government to actively investigate election-related violence and swiftly bring the perpetrators to justice. Prosecution would show that violent acts by a few cannot silence the democratic voice of the majority.

We look forward to legitimate commune council elections in Cambodia, in which all parties will respect the outcome.


Released on December 14, 2001

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