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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) > 2002 > December
Press Statement
Richard Boucher, Spokesman
Washington, DC
December 13, 2002


Curbing Violence Against Political Activists in Cambodia

A critical problem emerging in Cambodia in advance of next July's national elections is the apparent lack of focused investigations and swift prosecutions of serious crimes of killings, violence, and intimidation against political activists. We deplore such crimes and strongly urge the Cambodian Government to take immediate steps to end this type of violence and bring the perpetrators of such acts to justice.

During 2002, human rights organizations have reported at least 14 killings of political figures and activists--some including members of the ruling party. So far, suspects have been detained in only three cases. Little or no progress has been made in the other cases.

Today we received a credible but as yet unconfirmed report that a village chief in Battambang province, a member of the ruling party, fired his handgun at an opposition party activist on December 11. The official has not been charged and remains free. The United Nations reported yesterday that on December 5 police used electric batons and beat peaceful demonstrators outside the Department of Forestry. One of the demonstrators died of cardiac arrest later the same day.

We call upon the Cambodian Government to review its policies, its statements, and its procedures to support the aspirations of the Cambodian people for fair, impartial, and effective law enforcement.

Released on December 13, 2002

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