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Cambodia Rejects Findings of US Rights Report


FILE PHOTO - Riot police officers stop journalists from entering a blocked main street near the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) headquarters, on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Monday, May 30, 2016.

The report highlighted the crackdown on political dissent ahead of last year’s general election, including the use of the judiciary to dissolve the country’s main opposition party and jailing of its leader, Kem Sokha.

The Cambodian government on Friday rejected the findings of a US State Department of State report on the state of human rights in the country.

In its annual country report on Cambodia, the State Department said rights issues over the past year included unlawful and arbitrary killings carried out by the government or on its behalf, forced disappearances, torture, political prisoners, pervasive electronic media surveillance, censorship, corruption and the use of forced labor, among others.

But Chin Malin, justice spokesman, said the situation was “not as bad as what the international community stated in their report, which was politically motivated.”

“Based on my study of that report, their conclusion did not rely on every angle of the human rights situation at all,” he added.

The report highlighted the crackdown on political dissent ahead of last year’s general election, including the use of the judiciary to dissolve the country’s main opposition party and jailing of its leader, Kem Sokha.

Malin added “we don’t count it as rights abuses,” referring to the findings of the report. “We consider it following the law, which any government does.”

“But we will study the report and find out which points are constructive.”

Am Sam Ath, an investigator with Licadho, a local rights group, said the denials by the government were unsurprising, adding that the findings were similar to those contained in recent EU statements on the situation.

A number of incidents so far this year, including the shooting of protesters in Preah Sihanouk province in January and the blocking of Women’s Day marchers this month, support rights groups claims that the government continues to violate human rights, civil society groups have said.

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