Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Voters Continue to Sign Up Despite Violence



Voters Continue to Sign Up Despite Violence

Voters Continue to Sign Up Despite Violence

Ongoing Truce Violations, Political Intimidation

As the U.N. Security Council deliberated what steps to take to salvage the Cambodian

peace process, the Cambodian countryside was hit by a flurry of truce violations

and incidents of political violence.

Despite the shakey status of the peace settlement, Cambodians continued to register

to vote in record numbers, topping the 1 million mark in mid-November.

"These are encouraging figures," said UNTAC Electoral Chief Reginald Austin.

"The rate of registration has been consistently higher than expected. It shows

the enormous enthusiasm and determination of Cambodians to claim their right to vote."

Contrary to the original plan, UNTAC has launched the electoral process before the

factions have been disarmed. UNTAC military forces have shifted their emphasis from

demobilizing the rival armies to protecting voter registration sites.

UNTAC force commander Lt. Gen. John Sanderson said "quick reaction forces"

throughout Cambodia are poised to deal with emergency situations and protect the

polls.

UNTAC spokesman Eric Falt confirmed there was an increase in ceasefire violations

the weekend of Nov. 6-8, when the factions and superpowers were meeting in Beijing

for a last-ditch effort to salvage the accords.

"It's a tense situation, but the incidents do not appear to be in any way coordinated,

but the result of tension between rival factions at particular spots," said

Falt on Nov. 9.

Despite the truce violations- which have been ongoing in Cambodia since the peace

accords were signed-Sanderson says no faction has made major military gains.

"There's no question that the factions have taken steps to consolidate bits

of territory under their control," Sanderson said. "But no faction has

taken a major military objective or a major town or city while UNTAC has been here."

Meanwhile, Electoral Component Chief Austin reported that registration of voters

and political parties is proceeding smoothly. As of Nov. 15, fourteen political parties

had provisionally registered with UNTAC, five of which have opened branch offices

at the provincial and district level.

However, several parties continue to report harassment and assassinations of their

members. The Partie Democrate, lead by former Prime Minister In Tam, reports that

members have been killed recently in Siem Reap, Kompong Cham, and Kompong Thom; and

the Buddhist Liberal Democratic Party (BLDP)-which has reported 21 "lethal accidents"

since opening offices in SOC territory-reported that another of their members was

killed recently in Prey Veng province.

Mr. At Sadan, an outspoken BLDP member who was first deputy of the party in Ba Phnom

district in Prey Veng, was gunned down in his home Nov. 2 in front of his wife and

children.

"I was trying to stop them from coming up the stairs," said Pao Sokhuon,

At's wife, who said the family had heard rumors that he was going to be murdered.

"They beat me and pushed me back and ordered me to open the door to our house,

where my husband was hiding inside."

After demanding money and gold, the men-dressed in Hun Senarmy uniforms-shot and

killed her husband as well as 67-year-old mother-in-law, who was running towards

the house, Pao said.

Sok Kung, chief of Political Affairs for the BLDP in Prey Veng, said people are afraid

to go to the BLDP office since the shooting.

"They're afraid they'll be punished," he said. "UNTAC should show

stronger power to protect our members as well as ordinary people who want to join

our party."

Falt confirmed that the BLDP has suffered a higher number of "these accidents"

than any other political party.

In the most recent incident, BLDP offices in Koh Kong were attacked by two AK-47-weilding

men on Nov. 8, injuring two employees. UNTAC has sent a team to investigate.

MOST VIEWED

  • Kingdom's Covid cluster cases jump to 194

    The Ministry of Health on February 25 confirmed 65 new cases of Covid-19, with 58 linked to the February 20 community transmission. The latest cluster cases include nine Vietnamese nationals, five Cambodians, one each from Korea, Singapore and Japan, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total number

  • Locations shut, dozens more Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health has closed 23 locations in connection with the February 20 community transmission of Covid-19 and summoned for testing anyone who had direct contact with affected people and places. The number of discovered related infections has risen to 76, including 39 women. In a press release,

  • Cambodia's Covid cluster cases rise to 137

    The Ministry of Health on February 24 recorded 40 more cases of Covid-19, with 38 linked to the February 20 community transmission. Of the 40, two are imported cases involving Chinese passengers. The 38 include two Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total cases

  • Covid cluster raises alarm, health bodies urge vigilance

    The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia have expressed great concern over the February 20 cluster transmission of Covid-19 in the community. Both entities appealed for vigilance and cooperation in curbing further spread of the virus. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said

  • PM confirms third Covid-19 community transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on February 20 announced the Kingdom's third outbreak of Covid-19 community transmission after 32 people tested positive in just over 10 hours. Addressing the public from his residence after an emergency meeting, Hun Sen said: "I dub it February 20 Community Event, in which 32 cases

  • AstraZeneca jabs touch down in Phnom Penh airport

    The first shipment of 324,000 doses of the AstraZeneca/SII vaccine which was provided through the Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) Facility was delivered to Phnom Penh International Airport on March 2. The rest of the COVAX provided vaccines will arrive in Cambodia at a later date.