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Report shows intimidation in Ratanakiri

Report shows intimidation in Ratanakiri

INTIMIDATION from the rich and powerful is the most commonly cited complaint from ethnic minority groups and people living in poverty in Ratanakkiri province, officials at the rights group Adhoc said  yesterday.

Chhay Thy, provincial Adhoc monitor, said the Ratanakkiri office had received 68 complaints so far this year, 18 of which came from minority groups or individuals living in poverty who claimed to have been threatened in some way.

He said that, with eight cases this year, torture was the next most commonly reported complaint, followed by land dispute cases at seven, and rape cases at six.

“These are the hot cases in this area and most of the people who caused the problems are people who have power and money,” he said.

He added that the figures probably understated the extent of the problem because many minority groups often choose not to report abuses to authorities.

Mom Saroeun, Ratanakkiri provincial deputy governor, declined to comment yesterday, saying he had not yet seen the report from Adhoc, which is due to be officially released in January.

“How can I comment on the report if I did not see it yet?” he said. “If I get the report, I will go down to the areas where there are a lot of cases in order to see whether there are threats and rights abuses or not,” he said.

Chan Soveth, a senior Adhoc monitor, said there was not enough protection of human rights nationwide.

“The Cambodian government’s practice with human rights [issues] is still low,” Chan Soveth said.