LICADHO has confirmed that at least four civilians were shot
dead and 21 injured in the worst state violence against civilians to hit
Cambodia in fifteen years.
Amid risks of growing civil unrest in Phnom Penh in the
aftermath of the shootings, the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense
of Human Rights (LICADHO) and the Community Legal Education Centre (CLEC) call
on security forces and protestors to exercise urgent restraint on both sides to
avoid any further bloodshed.
"We condemn this appalling use of extreme lethal force by
security forces, said Naly Pilorge, LICADHO Director, "security forces must now
put an immediate end to the use of live ammunition against civilians and ensure
that all those injured are safely transported to hospital without delay."
LICADHO monitors witnessed security forces using live
ammunition to shoot directly at civilians near the Canadia Industrial Area on
Veng Sreng Road at around 10am this morning. The use of live ammunition was
prolonged and no efforts appear to have been made to prevent death and serious
injury. Reports suggest that security forces were also injured after being hit
Violence began on Veng Sreng Road yesterday after a
crackdown on striking workers by police and military police officers. Following
the clash, workers gathered on the main road to block it and burn tires. The
road block drew more people and nearby residents. Around 2am this morning,
mixed security forces attempted to clear the street of protesters in vain.
Throughout the day, around 2,000 mixed security forces clashed with protestors
and fired live ammunition, threw grenades and tear gas, leaving a rising toll
of deaths and wounded. An unconfirmed number of people were arrested, many of
them after being severely beaten by military police.
"These latest horrific developments demonstrate why
authorities can no longer afford to ignore the social problems and poor living
conditions facing workers in Cambodia today."said Moeun Tola, Head of CLEC's
Today's violence followed yesterday's violent crackdown on
peaceful protestors during which union leaders, monks and striking workers were
beaten and arrested. Ten of those arrested yesterday appeared before Phnom Penh
Municipal Court this morning. All were charged under article 218 and 414 of the
Penal Code and have been sent to Phnom Penh's Correctional Centre 1. They face
up to 18 months of pre-trial detention and up to 5 years' imprisonment as well
as fines from $1,000 - $2,500. LICADHO doctors and lawyers were last night
denied access to visit them at the 911 military base where they were held. Some
had been brutally beaten during their arrest and were in urgent need of medical
care. The monks who had been arrested with them were released late last night.
We call on authorities to conduct thorough, prompt and fully
independent investigations into all recent incidents of excessive use of force,
including who ordered the use of live ammunition and the extent to which force
used was proportionate to the threat posed.
Anyone found responsible for human rights violations must be
brought to justice without delay and redress provided to those injured and the
families of those killed.
For more information, please contact:
- Mr. Am Sam Ath, Technical Supervisor of LICADHO
- Mr. Moeun Tola, Head of CLEC Labour Program, 066 777 056