UN wants probe into Cambodian violence

The UN human rights agency urged Cambodia to launch an investigation into the “disproportionate” use of force by security forces last week against garment factory workers striking over pay. Military police opened fire on workers protesting outside a factory in Phnom Penh on January 3 and a spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said five people were killed, with 20 wounded by gunfire and beatings. “We are following the situation in Cambodia with serious concern and are deeply alarmed by the disproportionate use of force by law enforcement officials in responding to demonstrations,” the spokesman, Rupert Colville, said in a statement dated January 7. “We urge the Cambodian authorities to launch a prompt and thorough investigation and to ensure full accountability of members of security forces found to have used disproportionate and excessive force,” Colville added. He said the whereabouts of 23 people detained following the clashes, including one minor, were unknown and that full access should be granted to their families and legal representatives. Kheng Tito, spokesman for the National Military Police, said three people had been killed and 26 injured in the clashes for which he said the police were sorry. “We would like to pay condolences to those injured and dead from the clashes aimed at protecting national security,” he said …

Peninsula On-line News Staff