Cambodian police beat, injure 3 during peaceful march

Rights group says attack on civilians during World Habitat Day march ‘reprehensible’

Cambodian police beat, injure 3 during peaceful march

World Bulletin / News Desk

Cambodian para-police officers beat and injured three civilians during a peaceful World Habitat Day march Monday, to the “outrage” of 60 NGOs and activist communities that called upon the United Nations’ human rights envoy to Cambodia to hold the government to account as her latest mission got underway.

A Facebook Live video recorded by land rights activist Chan Puthisak showed a police officer grabbing a drum from one of the other participants.

Police officers then turned their attention to Puthisak, whose own video shows him being beaten by police before his phone drops to the ground.

A video of his beating by another participant shows him being slapped and punched in the head a number of times by police officers, who then turned on activists and Am Sam Ath, a human rights monitor from rights group Licadho.

In a statement, Licadho said the attack was “reprehensible” and “represents yet another example of the increasingly restrictive environment for the peaceful exercise of fundamental freedoms in Cambodia”.

In January 2013, Puthisak was one of 23 people rounded up and jailed for taking part in protests for a higher minimum wage. Those protests were violently shut down by state forces that opened fire on civilians, killing five.

UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia, Rhona Smith, began her latest mission to the country Monday.

The signatories urged her “to address the Cambodian government’s long-standing pattern of violent repression of freedom of expression and peaceful assembly at the highest levels”.

Yim Sovann, spokesman for the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party, said he had seen the videos of the violence and condemned the actions of the police.

“We are very concerned about the violation of human rights and now they use a stick to solve the problem, not the law,” he told Anadolu Agency on Monday.

“There’s no freedom of expression; they hit us and no one arrests them,” he said. “They still enjoy impunity, but the people who stand up to express their freedom and opinions, they are arrested and sentenced by the court.”

Güncelleme Tarihi: 10 Ekim 2016, 15:23