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ADHOC, COMFREL, NICFEC and Youth Council of Cambodian (CYC) Joint Statement

ADHOC, COMFREL, NICFEC and Youth Council of Cambodian (CYC) Joint Statement
On Concerns of Violence during the First Five Day of the Election Campaign
for the Third Mandate of the 2003 National Assembly Elections


Phnom Penh, July 02, 2003 The Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC), the Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (COMFREL), National and Impartial Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (NICFEC) would like to express our serious concern over the killing, intimidation and violence cases on agents of political parties, and people during the first five days of the election campaign of the third mandate of the National Assembly elections.

The Royal Government of Cambodia, especially the National Election Commission have issued official instructions and appeals to all political parties to stop violence, but we have noticed that the cases of political violence have been on the raise during the first week of the election campaigns.

ADHOC, COMFREL, and NICFEC launched the investigation to the places of incidents in the 24 provinces of Cambodia found out that during only the first five days of the election campaigns from June 26-30, 2003, political violence and intimidation on party activists, agents and supporters have taken place as followed:

- Pursat province: One case of political killing has been found, where by a deputy village headman of the Cambodian People Party (CPP) died.
- Takeo province: Two cases of killing has been seen where 3 people died (One is SRP activist and the other two victims can not be assumed that they died of electoral politics because families of the victims refused to give an interview). Each of the three big political parties, CPP, FUNCINPEC and SPR individually stated that the two victims are their party activists).
- Prey Veng: There is one case of political killing. The incident happened when the guide, who is the son of the victim and who is also the security guard of SRP visited his father.
- Svay Rieng: There is one case of political killing on a SRP activist.
- Kratie: Two people who are CPP activists and supporters died.
- Kampong Thom: There is one case of killing on a FUNCINPEC activist.

Among the above eight mentioned killing cases, only the perpetrator of one case has been arrested where the offender is FUNCINPEC supporter.
Meanwhile, we have compiled up to 26 cases of political intimidation. Among the 26 cases, victims of 19 cases belong to SRP, 5 FUNCINPEC and 2 CPP. The intimidation has been seen in various forms such as grenade explosion, election card confiscation, threatening people to change the caps and the shirts of opposition party, dismantling, tearing and dropping down the party signs/labels, threatening people not to listen to Ta Prom, Free Asia, VOA radio broadcasting. None of the intimidation cases has been resolved by local authorities or NEC in accordance with the regulations as set forth in the manual of the election law.

Beside the killing and intimidation, we have noticed that there are also many cases of irregularities, which against the election law. For instance the village headmen refused to give a place license to the non-ruling parties to launch their election campaigns and to disseminate their party policy; and prohibited people who are opposition party supporters not to participate and listen to the party election campaign; persuaded and lobbied people in whatever means to dismantle party labels of other non-ruling parties; facilitated in gift donation during the election campaign. There are also some cases where by police, the Cambodian Royal Forces, village and commune headmen are pro-ruling party because they perform their duties to campaign for the ruling party and not to defense the non-ruling party while the marching process of CPP oppressed and disturb the SRP marching campaign. This incident can create violence.

So far, no local and competent authorities and NEC officers of all levels have a peaceful resolution to the problems even the election law, and the statements of the Royal Government of Cambodia stated clearly about the punishment of the offenders.

Taking this opportunity, ADHOC, COMFREL, NICFEC and CYC would like to make an appeal to all political parties to cease all activities which can cite violence. We would also like to make an appeal to local and competent authorities at all levels to perform their duties in the neutral manner to ensure that the upcoming free and fair general elections. Our appeal must go to NEC to help monitor the fair access to the published and electronic media of all political parties during the election campaign. Local authorities and NEC staff at all levels must punish the offenders in accordance with the election law and Cambodian Criminal Law and to avoid any violence in order to ensure the upcoming free and fair general elections.

[END]

Comfrel's mission is to help to create an informed and favourable climate for free and fair elections through lobbying and advocacy for a suitable legal framework, education to inform voters of their rights and monitoring activities that both discourage irregularities and provide comprehensive monitoring data to enable an objective, non-partisan assessment of the election process.

COMFREL Media

For further information, please contact:
********************************************************************************
The Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (COMFREL),
# 138, St. 122, Teuk Laak I, Tuol Kork, Phnom Penh, Cambodia,
Tel: +855 23 88 41 50/12 942 017-9, Fax: +855 23 88 37 50
E-mail:
comfrel@bigpond.com.kh or comfrel@forum.org.kh
Web Site:
www.bigpond.com.kh/users/comfrel
*******************************************************************************

Posted on 2003-07-03



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