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Akashi Responds to Community Concerns

The following letter from UNTAC Chief Yasushi Akashi was written in response to

a public letter signed by 167 people that was published in the Oct. 11 edition of

the Phnom Penh Post.

I would like to thank you for your letter of Oct. 7, 1992, in which you raised a

number of important issues related to the unacceptable behavior of some male UNTAC

personnel and the impact such behavior was having on the Cambodian community and

particularly women.

In order to address some of these issues, we have appointed, as you know, a Community

Relations Officer whose main task is to listen to the expectations and concerns of

the Cambodian community, and serve as a focal point for channelling and following

up on complaints about the misconduct of UNTAC personnel. Ms. Hiroko Miyamura, who

has been appointed to this post, will have an office in the building housing the

Human Rights Component on Tousamuth Boulevard (UNTAC 1).

In addition, we have issued a number of formal instructions to all UNTAC personnel

regarding appropriate behavior during their service in Cambodia. I can confirm that

a number of military, police, and civilian personnel have been disciplined and in

some cases repatriated in recent months as a result of misconduct.

I wish to assure you that I will continue to discipline any UNTAC personnel who behave

inappropriately.

There is of course a wider educational process for all concerned in ensuring respect

for the equality and dignity of women. Wherever possible and appropriate, UNTAC will

also address these issues. Instructions have also been given for UNTAC medical staff

to take measures, including an information campaign regarding HIV and sexually transmitted

diseases.

I am hopeful that these steps will go some way towards dealing with some of the issues

which you have quite properly raised.

I thank you for your commitment to work in cooperation with UNTAC on these issues

and I look forward to maintaining close collaboration with you in our common endeavors

for a peaceful and better Cambodia.

- Yasushi Akashi, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Cambodia.

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