Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Senseless Kratie killing reflects a bitter truth

Senseless Kratie killing reflects a bitter truth

Senseless Kratie killing reflects a bitter truth

120523_16

A Cambodian soldier blocks United Nations personnel from visiting the scene of a fatal shooting in Kratie province last week. Photograph: Heng Chivoan

Dear Editor,

The savage killing in Kratie seven days ago of Heng Chantha, a 14-year-old girl, by soldiers and police comes three weeks after the murder of Chut Wutty, Cambodia’s most respected environmentalist.

Her killing comes less than two weeks after Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered an immediate suspension of economic land concessions.

More than two million hectares of Cambodia’s arable land and one million hectares of our national forests and parks are part of these concessions, signed by the hand of the Prime Minister.

The military-style operation in Kratie was aided by a helicopter.

The authorities’ version of the operation was justified by deputy prime minister Sar Kheng as necessary to crack down on an association for a democratic movement and for the arrest of its ringleaders.

The order from the top is clear: aim to kill.

The real reason for this military-style operation was the protection of economic concessions against villagers who had organised to defend their land, which the company had encroached on.

The Kratie operation clearly has a message for activists, community leaders, human-rights defenders and all those who dare to stand up against the government: you are risking your life.

It was meant to send a chilling message, but it shows the desperate manoeuvring of those in power as they are consumed by greed.

This greed has led them to eliminate their political opponents, to privatise the police and armed forces, to control the judiciary system, and to silence the international community.

The US State Department put out a respectable statement following the killing in Kratie.

There are high hopes that action towards the revision of US aid to Cambodia’s military will be considered. Furthermore, it is necessary for the aid community to revise its policies and strategies of aid.

Cambodia is not on the right track. When raw killings and the violent crushing of activists and human-rights defenders are allowed to occur with total impunity, our country is in immediate need of rescue – and that can happen only when free and fair elections are allowed to take place.

The 2008 European Union recommendations for free and fair elections have been endorsed by political parties and local organisations.

Further delay in reforming electoral laws and establishing a neutral electoral committee will defer the arrival of democracy and the rule of law.

The killings must stop.

Mu Sochua, MP
Sam Rainsy Party Battambang

MOST VIEWED

  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”

  • Cambodia purchases 4 million Molnupiravir tablets

    Cambodia has arranged for the purchase of four million US-made Molnupiravir pills – enough to treat 100,000 Covid-19 patients – even though the current rate of daily infections in Cambodia remains low. The medicine will be distributed to state hospitals, pharmacies and private clinics, according to the Samdech

  • Rise in planned flights lifts travel hopes

    Six airlines have applied to resume flights in December, while two others have put in for additional flights and routes, according to State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) head Mao Havannall on November 29. These account for 43 new weekly domestic and international flights in December, up 16

  • Is Cambodia’s travel sector in for another cheerless holiday season?

    The travel and tourism sector was heaving back to life as borders started to reopen, promising a festive vibe for the holidays and New Year. But Omicron and other Covid-related issues are threatening to close the year on a bleak note ‘Seems [like] Covid-19 won’

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration

  • Cambodia planning new border checkpoint at Thma Da

    Cambodia is looking into the possibility of opening a new Thma Da Border Checkpoint with Thailand to boost trade and tourism. The Ministry of Public Works and Transport said on December 4 that Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol led a technical working group