Target: Prime Minister Hun Sen
Goal: Demand a full and impartial investigation be conducted for those injured and killed in Phnom Penh
Abuses conducted by security forces in Phnom Penh, Cambodia have led to the death of one protester and wounding of 24. Those who committed these crimes should be held accountable and an impartial investigation needs to be conducted.
On September 15, 2013 in the capital of Phnom Penh, security forces shot water cannons and live ammunition into a crowd of protesters, and even resorted to beating the protesters. Bystanders who were not a part of the protest were also injured; the police were also caught using tear gas, and firing off hand guns and rifles. The crowd was there to protest the election results from the July National Assembly Elections, but the were stopped by barricades placed in the city which were meant to bar the opposing party – the Cambodian National Rescue Party – from demonstrating. The 24 protesters who were injured had to be hospitalized. Brad Adams, the Asia director at Human Rights Watch, stated that the “Cambodian government sought to limit the opposition demonstration with barricades controlling movement in and out of Phnom Penh.”
The final results of the July National Assembly were announced on July 28, 2013, resulting in public outrage. It gave the Cambodia People’s Party 68 seats in the National Election Committee, and gave the Cambodian National Rescue Party 55 seats. The election was characterized by large scale irregularities and systematic unfairness. The CPP controlled all election related institutions and ignored serious complaints regarding the election. The opposing party demanded that the CPP conduct a full and impartial investigation, however Prime Minister Hun Sen responded by making mass protests illegal. Cambodia’s constitution states that it is within the rights of Cambodian citizens to have public protests, but the Prime Minister responded by making them illegal and placing barricades around the city to limit the opposition’s movement. The resulting announcement led to demonstrations held within Democracy Plaza in Phnom Penh. Participants included youth who communicated through social media, and poor farmers from various other provinces. All protesters had to brave razor wire and other obstacles erected by the ruling party and guarded by the police and other security forces.
These protesters knew their rights and felt that the recent election was rigged. The death of a protester, along with the 24 injured, should be a case investigated without bias. It is obvious that the election was rife with corruption and the people wish for it to be remedied. Sign the petition below and demand the Cambodian government conduct an impartial and full investigation.
Dear Prime Minister Hun Sen,
I am writing to demand your government conduct a full and impartial investigation into the death of a protester, and the injury of 24 others, during a demonstration at your nation’s capital. These protesters were peacefully demonstrating their rights, rights that you decided to made illegal. Your people felt that your nation’s election was rigged and thus took to the streets, where they were shot with fire arms and tear gas and endured beatings. These victims have families who dearly wish to know what has happened to their loved ones, and want to know who is responsible. A full an impartial investigation can solve this. You need to hold the police and other security forces accountable for what they have done and return your people’s rights.
The law should be there to protect the people and allow their voices to be heard. Denying them their rights and barring them from protesting is a direct violation of your nation’s constitution. I beg of you to do the right thing and investigate those that were involved in hurting the protesters at Phnom Penh.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Sun Narin via Agence French Presse