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UN rights body seeks probe into shootings

Civilians face off against authorities during a violent clash on Veng Sreng Boulevard
Civilians face off against authorities during a violent clash on Veng Sreng Boulevard on Friday. THE PHNOM PENH POST

UN rights body seeks probe into shootings

The United Nations yesterday urged the government to launch an investigation into the recent deadly violence by security forces against striking garment workers, ahead of next week’s visit by the special rapporteur for human rights in Cambodia, Surya Subedi.

“We are following the situation in Cambodia with serious concern and are deeply alarmed by the disproportionate use of force by law enforcement officials in responding to demonstrations,” Robert Colville of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said in a statement.

“We urge the Cambodian authorities to launch a prompt and thorough investigation and to ensure full accountability of members of security forces found to have used disproportionate and excessive force,” he added.

Subedi, who has not visited the country since July’s general election, said in an email yesterday that he would address a number of issues, including the shooting of strikers, in meetings with Prime Minister Hun Sen during his six-day visit that begins on Sunday.

“[I will] follow-up on the recommendations that I have made in the past on judicial, parliamentary and electoral reform, the progress made in establishing an independent national human rights institution, the ways and means of achieving political reconciliation, monitoring the situation of human rights, including the recent deaths and arrests,” he said.

Military police fired on workers at the Canadia Industrial Park in the capital on Friday, killing at least four and wounding more than 20.

Victims of the violence yesterday said they would petition Subedi to press the government on the issue upon his arrival in the Kingdom.

Khar Srey Oun, 28 and three months pregnant, was shot by a stray bullet during Friday’s crackdown.

“If I have a chance, I will file a complaint to the UN organisations to help find solutions and justice for me because I am a real victim in the event,” she said.

Prum Phearom, 22, a garment worker who took part in the strike, said he would file a lawsuit against the government when he had recovered from his injuries.

“I will sue, but not now or in the near future,” he said.

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