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Congressman Says US Must Support Human Rights Amid War on Terror

US Congressman Christopher Smith, a senior member of the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, told VOA Khmer Wednesday that the United States must stay firmly committed to supporting human rights even as it wages a war on terror.

Smith, a Republican from New Jersey who focuses on human rights and religious freedoms abroad, said the US should not support countries where gross human rights abuses take place, but must find a balance in its counterterrorism efforts.

The violation of human rights is a kind of terrorism, against an individual, Smith said.

"We need to be very clear that human rights and the war against terrorism go hand in hand," Smith said.

Smith spoke to VOA Khmer following a Washington visit last month of Cambodia's national police chief, Gen. Hok Lundy, who met counterterrorism and counter-narcotic officials within the Justice Department. Hok Lundy has been accused of human rights abuses, extrajudicial murder and trafficking.

Smith recently authored a congressional resolution calling for human rights reforms in Vietnam.