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Human Rights Situation Still Poor: US

Cambodia remains a country with a poor human rights record and endemic corruption, whose citizens can face extrajudicial killings or abuse in detention, the US State Department said in a report released Friday.

Land disputes, forced evictions and a lack of democratic freedoms remained problems, according to the 2009 Human Rights Report.

“Although civilian authorities nominally controlled the security forces, in many cases security forces acted under directives of the [Cambodian People’s Party] leadership,” the rights report says. “Security forces committed extrajudicial killings and acted with impunity. Detainees were abused, often to extract confessions, and prison conditions were harsh.”

Cambodia’s judiciary remains weak, with human rights workers reporting “arbitrary arrest and prolonged pretrial detention,” according to the report. “Land disputes and forced evictions were a problem. The government restricted freedom of speech and the press through defamation and disinformation lawsuits and at times interfered with freedom of assembly.”

Phay Siphan, a spokesman for the Council of Ministers, said the report, which runs 29 pages, was “not fully complete.”

Cambodiawas still dealing with vestiges of its civil wars and as a result lacks some human rights protections, he said Friday.