The minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation has hit out at criticism over a delayed compensation payment made to the family of a Cambodia peacekeeper who died of malaria in Senegal in 2015.
Giving a speech on Tuesday during the handover ceremony with the family of the late second lieutenant, Suon Sambo, Minister Prak Sokhonn said: “What I regret is that the National Centre for Peacekeeping Forces [NPMEC] tried to facilitate [compensation] before the UN had decided on it.
“We tried to protest to get the compensation, but instead there was an inciter to the family, inciters on Facebook, and an inciter who filed a complaint to the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) about this compensation.”
He said the delay in payment for Sambo was due to technical and administrative errors “and the inconsistency in the autopsy report”.
Cambodia found out that Sambo died of malaria, but the Senegal hospital’s autopsy report said he died naturally, which is not covered in the compensation scheme, he said.
He said the Cambodian government gave each peacekeeper $300 pocket money before departure, and that the government often had to step in when United Nations salaries were delayed.
At the event, NPMEC Director-General Sem Sovann said the Kingdom has sent 5,486 troops on 10 separate UN missions to eight countries.
Since 2014, nine have died during their deployment. Of those, the families of seven have been compensated with $70,000 each.
Sokhonn said the two who didn’t receive compensation were not eligible because of disciplinary issues. Currently there are 813 Cambodian peacekeepers serving with the UN in five countries.