Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Beatings no human rights violation: official

Beatings no human rights violation: official

Beatings no human rights violation: official

110512_4b
Kong Chantha, a Boeung Kak lake representative, being taken into custody during a protest outside City Hall in February.

Om Yentieng, head of the Anticorruption Unit and the government’s human rights committee, claimed this week that no human rights violations were committed during a violent police crackdown against protestors from the Boeung Kak lakeside outside the Phnom Penh City Hall last month.

The April 21 protest erupted into violence when more than 100 police wielding electric batons attacked roughly 100 villagers and arrested 11 people, including two children.

Speaking on the sidelines of a two-day land rights conference in Phnom Penh on Tuesday, Om Yentieng said villagers could file a criminal complaint if they so chose, but that the police actions did not constitute a human rights violation.

“[Villagers] asked City Hall about this many times, but I do not view this as a human rights violation,” he said.

“Which article says that the actions of authorities were wrong?” he said, referring to Cambodia’s penal code.

Rights groups say more than 4,000 families will ultimately be evicted from Phnom Penh’s Boeung Kak lake area to make way for a real estate development run by a Chinese firm and ruling party senator Lao Meng Khin. Boeung Kak residents have staged frequent protests in the capital since the concession was awarded in 2007.

Tep Vanny, a Boeung Kak representative, said Om Yentieng’s comments reflected the government’s indifference to her community’s plight.

“Om Yentieng does not recognize the truth, takes no responsibility, disguises the facts and tries to confuse democracy,” she said.

Ouch Leng, head of the land programme at local rights group Adhoc, said Om Yentieng’s comments demonstrated his willingness to condone human rights violations committed by government officials.

“The villagers protested to find a non-violent resolution, but authorities used violence against them,” Ouch Leng said.  

Roughly 150,000 Phnom Penh residents, or about 9.5 percent of the capital’s current population, have been displaced since 1990, according to figures released yesterday by housing NGO Sahmakum Teang Tnaut.

A total of 1,510 families in Phnom Penh were displaced by forced evictions and planned relocations last year, STT said.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Dire consequences’ from sanctions, warns AmCham

    American businesspeople in Cambodia have warned that any sanction against the Kingdom would have “dire consequences” that could push Cambodia even further into the arms of China. In a letter to US senators and representatives dated Monday, the American Chamber of Commerce Cambodia (AmCham) said

  • Protests planned in New York as Hun Sen to attend the UN

    Prime Minister Hun Sen will speak at the United Nations General Assembly in New York this week. But US-based supporters of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) plan to throw eggs at his car as part of a series of protests to coincide

  • CPP: ‘Behave or Sokha suffers’

    The ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) spokesman warned Kem Monovithya on Thursday that her attempt to damage “national reputation and prestige” would lead to her father, Kem Sokha, receiving even harsher punishment. Sok Eysan issued the warning as Monovithya, who is the court dissolved

  • Preah Sihanouk beach developments halted

    After receiving an order from Hun Sen, Minister of Land Management Chea Sophara led a team of experts and relevant officials to Sihanoukville to call a halt to the illegal development of a beach. The prime minister ordered the Prek Treng beach in Otres commune