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Cambodian civil society concerned over violence during election campaigns

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adhoc.jpgIn view of its impending national elections, Cambodian civil society organisations want the government to address the issue of political violence against political party activists and politicians.

A network of 38 NGOs working on free and fair elections have highlighted the use of the judiciary and state institutions as political tools of interference in the upcoming polls, slated for 27 July this year and called for the government to conduct an open investigation into allegations.

Cambodian civil society concerned over violence during election campaigns

The Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee (CHRAC), coalition of 21 members, The Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (COMFREL), a coalition of 10 members and The Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (NICFEC), coalition of 7 members, have a great concern over the increasing in violence against political activists throughout Cambodia for the first semester of the year 2008.

The civil society organizations have noted that political violence against political party activists have been threatening the freedom of people as well as of politicians in Cambodia in participating in political activities which are guaranteed by the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia such as the use of judiciary system and some state institutions as political tools, the non respect for each other in dignity and the complaints of former party men against the party which ones resigned.

These cases therefore have shown that Cambodia is still facing political crisis which have caused Cambodian people concerned about the upcoming National Elections of the 4th Legislature which will be held on July 27, 2008. The civil society organizations have also observed that political killings, intimidations and harassments have been rising, in particular, in the remote areas while Cambodia is preparing for organizing the upcoming National Elections.

According the investigation reports made by the civil society organizations for the period of January 2008 – May, 2008, the killing of political activists were 5 cases, the harassment and threat against political activists were 21 cases, dropping down of political parties' sign boards were 15 cases. In relation to these mentioned cases, civil society organizations have realize that most of perpetrators have not yet been brought to justice for punishment in accordance with the law and there were no any legal measures seriously taken by the competent authorities in order to stop such illegal activities and to prevent them from committing such activities in the future.

The civil society organizations have learnt that during the pre-national election period, the political situation is even worse if the political violence continues, and which then can be affecting national election results- not free and fair election or will not respond to many Cambodian people's wishes.

Therefore, in order for the upcoming National Elections conducted in a free, fair and just manner and acceptable following the will of the Cambodian people who are the voters, the civil society organizations propose the following:

  • The Royal Government of Cambodia and its relevant authorities shall take serious measures for investigating into the cases of political violence which had been occurred earlier and seek to arrest the perpetrators to justice in accordance with the existing laws.
  • The Royal Government shall take urgent and effective measures to stop and prevent from further political violence aiming at promoting and respect for human rights and democracy, ensuring that Cambodia is a rule of law country.
  • The competent authorities shall take actions to stop and prevent any offenses and respond on time when complaints filed by the people about any cases of threat that is dangerous to their lives.
  • The politicians of all parties shall have mutual respects in dignity and political maturity in order to ensure that the upcoming national election is conduced freely and equally.
  • The armed forces and the authorities at all levels shall stand independently and neutrally in fulfilling their duties and functions with high responsibilities in order to ensure electoral environment filled with peace, security and safety and providing of trust to people who are the owners of votes.
  • People shall exercise their rights and freedom to participate in the elections according to their will and avoiding making any violence due to their political preferences.

The above statement can also be found on the AHDOC-CHR website.

Further information, please contact:

Mr. Thun Saray Chairman of CHRAC/President of ADHOC, Tel: 016 880509

Mr. Sok Sam Oeun Executive Director of CDP, Tel: 012 901199

Ms. Seng Theary Executive Director of CSD, Tel: 012 222552

Mr. Hang Chhaya Executive Director of KID, Tel: 012 865910

Mr. Koul Phanha Executive Director of COMFREL, Tel: 012 942017

Dr. Hang Puthea Executive Director of NICFEC, Tel: 012 959666