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Former Opposition MPs Petition UN to Investigate Harassment Claims

  • Men Kimseng
  • VOA Khmer

FILE PHOTO - Cambodia's opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) lawmaker members talk during a lunch break inside the National Assembly in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016.

The petitions were filed with the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the UN Human Rights Committee, CEDAW committee, and the UN human rights rapporteur on Cambodia.

A group of former lawmakers from the Cambodia National Rescue Party has petitioned international organizations, including the United Nations, to seek protection for a former commune chief who has allegedly been harassed and bullied by a senior ruling party lawmaker.

The petition, signed by 14 former MPs, alleged that Sin Rozeth, the former commune chief of O’Cha commune, Battambang, had been subjected to “various forms of harassment and bullying” by Chheang Vun, a leading Cambodian People’s Party lawmaker.

Vun had accused Rozeth of allowing dissident political conversations to take place in her shop.

The petitions were filed with the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the UN Human Rights Committee, CEDAW committee, and the UN human rights rapporteur on Cambodia.

The lawmakers urged the international bodies to lobby the Cambodian government and parliament and include Rozeth’s case in the next human rights situation report.

“Given the dire state of democracy and rule of law in Cambodia, as well as the myriad of court cases that are being undertaken against members of the opposition and civil society, we are extremely concerned that these allegations could turn into more serious charges,” the petition reads.

Mu Sochua, the CNRP vice president, said the abuse of women needed to be stopped to end impunity.

“Even though Sin Rozeth has stood up with dignity and courage, this case should serve as an empowering message to other women who face the same abuse, threats, and discrimination,” she said. “Without such a public eye on the case, Rozeth could be further persecuted.”

In January, Vun wrote on Facebook that people visiting Rozeth’s noodle shop were supporting a “rebel movement”, a reference to the Cambodia National Rescue Movement, an offshoot of the CNRP formed by its ex-president, Sam Rainsy.

Vun later tried to distance himself from the remarks after a strong reaction on social media.

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