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Sole Monk Observer Touts 'Same Rights'

More than 20,000 Cambodians will observe the July 27 elections, along with 300 international observers. Among them will be at least one monk.

His name is Huy Man Kheang. Sixty-one-years old, the venerable monk is the chief of the Tonle Neam pagoda, in Angkor Chey district, Kampot province.

He is also president of the Organization of Buddhism Support and Human Resource Development.

"Even if I'm a monk, I have the same rights as a civilian citizen," Huy Man Kheang told VOA Khmer in a recent interview. "The monks have the right to create organizations also."

"We have monks who go to vote also, like the ordinary citizens," he said. "Observation is only to monitor if there is violence from one party to others and to monitor in order to have a smooth election process."

As far as he knows, he is the only monk from his organization to volunteer as a monitor.