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CSOs say 1,000 people set to commemorate Paris Peace Accords

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
People commemorate the Paris Peace Accords in 2016. Heng Chivoan

CSOs say 1,000 people set to commemorate Paris Peace Accords

Seven civil society organisations, associations and unions will gather at Freedom Park in the capital’s Russey Keo district with 1,000 participants to celebrate the 29th Paris Peace Accords on Friday. But the Phnom Penh Municipal Hall has advised that the number should not exceed 120.

Soeung Sen Karuna, spokesman for human rights group Adhoc, said on Tuesday: “After a discussion, we maintain our stance to celebrate it at Freedom Park. We will send a letter to the Phnom Penh Municipal Hall to confirm that our organisations will celebrate and the number of people will still be around 1,000.

“We will celebrate according to our initial proposal to the municipal hall. It will start at 7:30am and last until noon,” he said.

On October 16, Phnom Penh deputy governor Keut Che met representatives of civil society organisations, associations and unions to discuss the celebration. Che said if they celebrate at Freedom Park, they must not host more than 120 people. Event organisers must follow Covid-19 prevention measures and ensure public security, safety and order, he said.

Sen Karuna said on Tuesday that event organisers will attach explanations justifying the event in a revised proposal to the municipal hall.

He said Covid-19 is not a valid reason to reject the gathering because government officials regularly have big gatherings. The celebration will follow the advice of the Ministry of Health and participants will wear masks, have their temperatures taken and maintain social distancing.

Pa Chanroeun, the president of the Democratic Institute that will also join the celebration, said on Tuesday that it is a normal gathering to voice opinions, not a protest.

“The Paris Peace Accords is an important agreement which is valuable for Cambodia because it led to the end of political disputes in Cambodia and brought peace, national reconciliation, national unity and the respect of sovereignty, territorial integrity, stability and neutrality,” he said.

“It [also] led to the respect of human rights, including the return of refugees and voluntarily displaced people, the exercise of the right of self-government of the Cambodian people through voting with justice and freedom and the re-establishment of Cambodia.”

The Post could not reach municipal hall spokesman Met Meas Pheakdey for comment on Tuesday.

Russey Keo district deputy governor Prach Seiha said he would follow the municipal hall’s decision.

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