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Cambodians Abroad To Demonstrate Ahead of Ban Visit


Ban Ki-moon, right, Secretary General of United Nations meets with Hor Namhong, deputy prime minister and foreign minister of Cambodia, left, at United Nations, September 2010.

Ban Ki-moon, right, Secretary General of United Nations meets with Hor Namhong, deputy prime minister and foreign minister of Cambodia, left, at United Nations, September 2010.

Cambodian groups abroad say they are preparing demonstrations this weekend, just ahead of the visit of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon next week.

Organizers say they want to call attention to encroachment on Cambodia's sovereignty, its human right violations and backslides on principles of democracy.

Demonstrations, to be held in France, Canada and the US, will also coincide with the anniversary of the Paris Peace Agreement, the UN-brokered accord that brought peace to Cambodia after decades of fighting in 1991.

“We want Cambodia's suffering heard by Ban Ki-moon,” said Thach Vien, an organizer in France.

Ban is scheduled to visit Oct. 26 through Oct. 28. Thach Vien said Cambodians from Belgium, Switzerland and Germany would join a demonstration in Paris Oct. 23 and Oct. 24.

The French demonstrators will petition the French government requesting a review of the Cambodian government's violations of the peace agreement, he said.

In Canada, organizer Chea Sokha said demonstrations were planned for Ottawa over the weekend.

“All Cambodian people see that there are serious violations, and this is critically dangerous for our nation,” he said. Canadian-Cambodians want the peace agreement reactivated, he said.

A demonstration is also planned in New York, ahead of Ban's trip, said Yap Kim Tung, a Virginia-based organizer. “They want Mr. Ban to know about Cambodia and their dissatisfaction,” he said.

Pung Kek, founder of the rights group Licadho, told VOA Khmer the peace agreement was an important document Cambodians should not forget. Eighteen countries signed onto the agreement, including the US, Russia, China, the UK and France, she said.

Government spokesman Phay Siphan said the government has worked to build peace, the rule of law and democracy.

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