(AP) - Politicians and U.N. officials told a symposium on human rights in Cambodia
last month that a series of politically motivated attacks proves the country is not
ready for U.N.-sponsored elections.
"We're still suffering as opposition parties," said Ieng Mouly, secretary-general
of the Buddhist Liberal Democratic party. "We're still suffering from intimidation,
Since the start of voter registration in October, U.N. officials have reported about
a dozen grenade and shooting attacks on opposition politicians, their homes or their
No blame has been established, and the Phnom Penh regime, which controls about 80
percent of the country, denies that it is responsible.
The U.N. mission in Cambodia sponsored the three-day symposium of about 40 international
experts and activists from Nov. 30 through Dec. 2 to promote human rights here after
"Respect for human rights is a precondition for holding the election,"
Dennis McNamara, U.N. Human Rights director in Cambodia, told the participants from
Asia, the United States and Europe. "We have some way to go before we reach
The U.N. Security Council, however, insists that elections be held as scheduled to
avoid spending more money on what, at U.S. $1.8 billion, is the most expensive peacekeeping
The three factions at the symposium-including the SOC and the non-communist BLDP
and FUNCINPEC-said they too wanted to stick to the May deadline. But they said U.N.
officials must improve the political situation before the voting.
"The U.N. Security Council should take action in order to find a solution,"
said FUNCINPEC's Kan Mann. But neither he nor the other party representatives could
say what that action should be.
Cambodia's fourth faction, the Khmer Rouge, has proposed that U.N. officials give
the factions more power over the SOC administration to end the harassment. The guerrilla
group says it will not cooperate with the U.N. or even attend such U.N.-sponsored
events as the symposium until its proposal is accepted.
The guerrilla group's demand has been rejected because that arrangement was not part
of the peace accord the four factions signed last year.