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Quotations from U.S. Government Reports and Important Individuals

Quotes selected from and article "Cambodia Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 1998"
 Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
February 26, 1999

"The seriously weakened Khmer Rouge continued to wage a low-level guerrilla insurgency against the Government. From July 1997 until November, Khmer Rouge troops cooperated with resistance forces loyal to FUNCINPEC against government troops. Former Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot died in April."

"The ethnic Vietnamese minority faced widespread social discrimination and some acts of violence perpetrated by the Khmer Rouge and persons loyal to the FUNCINPEC and Sam Rainsy parties."

"Khmer Rouge forces committed a number of abuses, including killings, and committed violence against the ethnic Vietnamese minority"

"On July 17, a driver named Mon and a militia guard named Ngor were killed when a group transporting election materials was attacked near a village close to the former Khmer Rouge stronghold of Anlong Veng. Available evidence indicates that the attackers were either remnant Khmer Rouge forces or Khmer Rouge defectors from Anlong Veng."

"The Government continued to allow human rights groups to visit prisons and to provide human rights training to prison guards."

"Self-imposed exile following their inauguration on September 24. These politicians included Prince Norodom Ranariddh (FUNCINPEC), Sam Rainsy, and over two dozen other FUNCINPEC and SRP Parliamentarians. While many of the FUNCINPEC officials returned without incident shortly thereafter, Prince Ranariddh, Sam Rainsy, and most of the SRP parliamentarians returned in November only after receiving personal assurances of security from King Sihanouk and Prime Minister-designate Hun Sen."

"In September Sam Rainsy (SRP) official Srun Vong Vannak, who had been convicted of the 1996 murder of Mrs. Hun Sen's brother-in-law, was released from prison after receiving a pardon from King Sihanouk. The King granted the pardon after receiving approval of the country's political leadership."

"Most newspapers criticize the Government frequently, and Prime Minister Hun Sen frequently came under strong attack by opposition newspapers both before and after the election."

"Unlike previous years, no journalist was killed for publishing critical articles. However, there was one report of a violent attack against a journalist. On June 8, Thong Oy Pang, the editor of the pro-CPP Koh Santepheap (Island of Peace) newspaper, was wounded by gunfire from close range by unknown assailants."

"At least one prominent politician, Ken Sokha of the Son Sann Party, was prevented from leaving during this period. The Government claimed that he was subject to lawful arrest as a result of his illegal activities during the summoning him to court for questioning. Following the agreement to form a new coalition Government in November, Ken Sokha appeared in court without incident in response to a third summons."

"Leading to the July elections belatedly began, and elections ultimately were held in July. More than 93 percent of the eligible electorate voted. The CPP received 41.4 percent of the vote; FUNCINPEC 31.7 percent; the Sam Rainsy 14.3 percent."

"The UNHCR received 18 reported cases of killings and two cases of attempted killings during the preelection period. Of these, only three were determined to have been clearly politically motivated, and two others were perpetrated by Khmer Rouge forces. Of the 18 cases, at least 5 involved the killing of CPP officials."

"In National Assembly elections, each province elected members through a system of proportional representation. Three of the 39 parties that took part 3 won seats: The CPP won 64 seats; FUNCINPEC won 43 seats; and the Sam Rainsy party won 15 seats. Over 93 percent of the eligible persons cast ballots. Despite the incidents of political violence and intimidation and the failure of legal institutions to resolve complaints of election irregularities sufficiently, most international observer groups certified the election as acceptable. The formation of the new Government reflected the will of the electorate."

"There were credible reports that both security personnel and ordinary citizens routinely singled out Vietnamese citizens for discrimination during the election campaign. During the registration period, many were given languages tests, then refused registration because of their accent or vocabulary. At the urging of opposition politicians campaigned on a theme of ethnic hatred and used ethnic slurs to urge expulsion of Vietnamese immigrants."

"After the election, some opposition politicians, including Ranariddh and Sam Rainsy, made inflammatory statement propaganda directed against ethnic Vietnamese citizens and Vietnamese residents. Some prominent opposition politicians used racial epithets and anti-Vietnamese slogans during the antigovernment rallies."