Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Rights groups critical of gov’t investigations

Rights groups critical of gov’t investigations

Rights groups critical of gov’t investigations

The government announced on Friday it would set up two commissions headed by Interior Minister Sar Kheng to investigate clashes between police and protesters early this month that left at least four dead, more than 20 injured and 23 arrested, a move criticised by rights groups, which said the government was incapable of carrying out an independent investigation.

One will focus on investigating the damage caused by “anarchic demonstrators”, while the other will investigate how the incident occurred. A third commission will study the minimum wages of garment workers and be headed by Minister of Finance Keat Chhon, according to a statement from the Council of Ministers.

Pointing to the creation of similar fact-finding commissions formed after violent police incidences in the past, senior Licadho monitor Am Sam Ath said there was virtually no chance these groups would uncover the truth.

“Have a look at what happened on Kbal Thnal flyover; the crackdown at Stung Meanchey bridge; the case of Chut Wutty. Those investigation commissions have never got any results,” he said.

Unless the commissions are run separately from the government, he continued, they would be unable to operate independently.

Senior Adhoc investigator Chan Soveth echoed these statements, saying that without the participation of civil society, the commissions couldn’t be expected to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation.
“What is necessary at this time is for the government to release all 23 workers and rights activists,” he said.

On January 2, three activists and seven workers were arrested – and some badly beaten – after the elite 911 paratrooper brigade was sent in to quash demonstrations outside Yakjin factory.

A day later, at least four people were killed, more than 20 injured and 13 arrested during clashes between riot police and protesting workers who had blocked Veng Sreng Boulevard.

The 23 arrested were sent to Kampong Cham prison’s CC3 and their whereabouts withheld from families and lawyers for almost a week.

MOST VIEWED

  • Kem Sokha’s daughters slam ‘liar’ Sam Rainsy over ‘smears’

    The daughters of former opposition leader Kem Sokha hit out at Sam Rainsy on Tuesday, accusing the newly nominated “acting president” of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) of leading a “smear campaign” against their father and “repeatedly lying to the public”. The Supreme Court-dissolved

  • Phnom Penh authorities ban march for Human Rights Day

    Phnom Penh authorities have banned a planned march as local NGOs and workers’ unions gear up to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on Monday, with a youth group leader saying they would march nonetheless. The UN

  • US Embassy urges reconciliation

    The US has urged Cambodia to restore the independence of the media, drop charges against Kem Sokha and other political prisoners, and end the prohibition of political activity by opposition parties. However, senior government officials see the request, issued by US embassy spokesman Arend C

  • Government deports 235 Chinese scammers

    THE Immigration Department of the Ministry of Interior on Thursday deported 235 Chinese nationals, 35 of whom were female, via the Phnom Penh International Airport for their part in a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) online money extortion scam. The deportees were arrested on November 26 over the