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Rights Investigation Alleges Abuse at Aid Organization

A major rights group is calling on the government to investigate abuses allegedly carried out by an organization set up to help with AIDS and drug abuse.

In a statement issued Thursday, Adhoc said the Administration of Drugs and AIDS Research and Prevention organization had committed “serious human rights violations,” including “land rights violations of 57 families...many raping cases, physical and mental torture...intimidation and arm[ed] threats.”

The Preah Vihear province research organization, ADASP, is directed by a powerful businessman and two-star general named Pen Lim.

“I lived with the organization for two years, but I moved away from the area, because my 13-year-old daughter was raped by a security guard,” Khim Khon, a 54-year-old villager in Kantout commune, told reporters in Phnom Penh Thursday. “When I complained about the rape of my daughter, the security guard of the organization hand-cuffed me and beat me and made me spend the night in the office of the organization.”

Khim Khon said she had bought land from ADASP, which had been granted a concession by the national government, but she has moved away.

Pao Pok, a 74-year-old former resident at ADASP, told reporters his niece was raped in 2008 by ADASP security guards.

Pao Pok said his complaints to Pen Lim were ignored. He said living in the guarded compound was like living as a trapped animal.

Pen Lim could not be reached for comment Thursday. However, Tol Ret, a representative of the organization, denied Adhoc's allegations.

Sok Hay, governor of Choam Ksann district, where the organization operates, told VOA Khmer by phone he had received complaints from villagers. Authorities will now be investigating the allegations, he said.