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Nation's Rights Record 'Remains Poor': US

Cambodia's human rights record "remained poor" in 2007, the US State Department says in its annual human rights report.

"Although there were no reports that the government or its agents committed politically motivated killings, security forces committed extrajudicial killings and acted with impunity," according to the report, which was issued March 11.

"Detainees were abused, often to extract confessions, and prison conditions were harsh," the report said. "Human rights monitors reported arbitrary arrests and prolonged pretrial detention, underscoring a weak judiciary and denial of the right to a fair trial. Land disputes and forced evictions, often accompanied by violence, were a continuing problem."

The report praised as a "positive turn" the government allowing a human rights march in the capital in December, as well as the arrests of five former Khmer Rouge leaders, who are awaiting trial in the tribunal dock.

Cambodian People's Party lawmaker Cheam Yeap told VOA Khmer Wednesday that the government had never been careless in protecting human rights and worked under a UN charter that allowed many personal freedoms.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement Thursday rejecting the report.

"After having carefully reviewed this country report, we have found that many of the accusations contained in this report do not even exist or are simply overly exaggerated," the statement said.